Aiming for Climate Neutrality by 2040
New York University today released its Climate Action Plan (CAP), a comprehensive approach to reducing the University’s carbon footprint and enhancing its overall sustainability. NYU’s CAP details the University’s current greenhouse gas inventory, lays out specific and effective projects to mitigate these emissions using current fiscally sound technologies while maintaining NYU’s vital teaching, learning, and research missions.
The full report can be found here.
The development of NYU’s Climate Action Plan was spurred on by the signing of two separate commitments to mitigate climate change: Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge, which calls on NYU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017, and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which commits NYU to achieving climate neutrality by 2040.
NYU has already made significant progress in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, cutting them by 20% in just the past three years. NYU total emissions have dropped from a fiscal year (FY06) peak of 171,000 MTCE to 136,000 MTCE in FY 2009.
“Across the University – from academics to financial and space planning to sustainability – we are striving to plan for the long-term,” said Michael Alfano, NYU’s Executive Vice President. “This Climate Action Plan fits within that template, relying on a rigorous analysis to point the way toward a 30-year goal of attaining carbon neutrality.”
Cecil Scheib, Director of Energy and Sustainability, said, "Through energy saving initiatives, NYU’s decrease in global warming pollution is a measurable component of New York City’s total emissions, and represents a major step toward confronting the challenge of global warming.”
NYU’s CAP is structured around four major emissions reduction strategies:
1. Reduce Energy Intensity—50 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal:
NYU will reduce the amount of energy used in buildings through conservation, “green” construction and renovation, retrofits and upgrades, and operational innovations to run buildings more effectively. Initial efforts have already resulted in 20% emissions cuts.
2. Generate and Use Cleaner Energy—30 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: NYU will generate cleaner energy on-site with a new cogeneration power plant, which will mitigate 23 percent of NYU’s baseline FY 2006 emissions. NYU will also minimize the use of fuel oil to heat buildings, replacing it with cleaner, more efficient energy sources.
3. Generate Renewable Energy—10 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: NYU is exploring options to develop on-site distributed renewable energy generation projects on its buildings, including wind and solar technologies.
4. Reduce / Offset Remaining Emissions—10 percent of NYU’s climate neutrality goal: Given the constraints of a dense urban environment, it is likely that NYU will purchase high-quality, credible offsets to accomplish long-term climate goals.
Jeremy Friedman, NYU’s Manager of Sustainability Initiatives, said, “NYU’s CAP fuses the short-term climate change mitigation strategies of the Mayoral Challenge commitment with the broader goals of the ACUPCC; each complements the other and anchors NYU’s overarching commitment to sustainability.”
In addition to these efforts to reduce climate change, NYU is committed to fostering a University-wide culture of sustainability through expanded environment-related course work at both NYU and the affiliated Polytechnic Institute of NYU, as well as through deepened engagement efforts that directly involve the university community.
“The Sustainability Task Force wishes to thank the dozens of students, faculty, staff and others who contributed to the development of this Climate Action Plan,” added Friedman. “To meet the challenge posed by the climate crisis, we’ll need help from every member of the NYU community. The size and scope of this problem are equaled only by our collective capacity to confront it together – by reducing greenhouse gas emissions as individuals, and by educating the next generation of leaders in the struggle to create a more sustainable and just world.”
NYU’s Sustainability Task Force is an advisory body composed of students, faculty, administrators, and staff, who develop recommendations for new policies and practices that advance NYU’s long-term future as a sustainable university. For more information on the Sustainability Task Force, please see the NYU Sustainability website.
About New York University
New York University is located in the heart of Greenwich Village. Founded in 1831, it is one of America’s foremost research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. It is one of the largest private universities, it is a leader in attracting international students and scholars in the U.S, and it sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.