Environment America recently released a report which highlights how colleges and universities throughout the US can achieve 100 percent sustainability by 2050. The report, Renewable Energy 100: The Course to a Carbon-Free Campus, features institutions across the country that are currently committed to reducing carbon emissions through the development of renewables like solar and wind.
“Higher education has been a leader in climate action and sustainability, serving as a model for all of society,” said Georges Dyer, principal of the Intentional Endowments Network. “Colleges and universities now have a tremendous opportunity to take this to the next level by investing in a clean energy future and moving to 100 percent renewable energy. The challenge is urgent and there are huge benefits for schools that lead in creating the solutions.”
The report discusses how university campuses are ideal locations to lead the US’ shift to 100 percent clean energy and other sustainable practices. The physical attributes of college campuses, including rooftops, parking lots and marginal land, are ideal for hosting solar arrays, wind turbines and other clean technologies. Additionally, they have the economic resources to hedge against escalating fuel costs by investing in the development of solar and wind. Most importantly, universities are showing the future leaders of tomorrow the possibilities of renewable energy and sustainable living practices beyond students’ time on campus.
“By adopting plans for a rapid and steady shift to 100 percent, clean renewable energy America’s colleges and universities can play a vital role in the country’s efforts reduce climate-altering carbon pollution,” said Rob Sargent, energy program director for Environment America. “As influential institutions in their communities they can set an example; while conducting the research we need and training the clean energy practitioners of the future.”
With over 20 million students currently enrolled in colleges, there is a high demand for reliable and efficient energy sources on campuses in the US. By establishing campus sustainability programs, colleges and universities have the ability to drive innovation in the solar and wind industries. Already, some universities, like Cornell has set the ambitious goal of 100 percent carbon neutrality by 2035.
“Achieving our 2035 campus carbon neutrality goal includes a shift to 100 percent renewable energy to heat and power campus buildings, while investing in energy conservation and engaging the entire campus community to dramatically reduce our energy consumption,” said Sarah Zemanick, from the Office of Campus Sustainability at Cornell University.Tweet