December 2009 Update on President's Climate Commitment Letter
by Theresa Potter
Assistant Vice President, Facilities and Emergency Preparedness
Office of Facilities and Maintenance
At the State of the College meeting on October 22, 2009, it was requested that the Office of Facilities and Maintenance provide an update on our sustainability efforts, specifically the status of complying with the president's climate commitment. As you may recall in February 2008 President Klawe joined college and university presidents across the country by signing the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an action that followed on the board of trustees' adoption of a new Sustainability Policy Statement.
Acting in coordination with the ACUPCC plan, HMC has completed the following steps in pursuit of climate neutrality:
1) Created institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan when the President and Chair of the Board of Trustees appointed a Sustainability Committee composed of representatives of all stakeholder groups in the college community:
The charge of the Harvey Mudd College Sustainability Committee is to set goals for the College's sustainability program and provide oversight of that program. The Committee membership consists of one representative appointed from each of the following groups:
- Board of Trustees
- Facilities and Maintenance
- Business Affairs Office
- Alumni Association
2) Initiated the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed.
- Established a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
- Adopted an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist whenever possible.
- Encourage use of public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.
3) Completed a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting, and air travel).
In late 2008 an audit was undertaken with the intention of providing baseline figures of past emissions estimates for which data was available and to serve as a reference for future analysis. This was the second sustainability audit to include HMC. In 2007 a team of fifteen students and five faculty members undertook a sustainability audit of the entire Claremont Consortium. The 2008 audit is the first to focus solely on Harvey Mudd College. The 2008 audit was conducted over several months between 2008 and 2009, using the 2007 audit as a point of reference. The audit was conducted by staff of the Facilities and Maintenance Department with additional support from students, faculty and alumni.
HMC used the ACUPCC implementation guide as a reference while completing its emissions assessment. The ACUPCC recommends using Clean Air Cool Planet's (CA-CP) Campus Carbon Calculator to perform inventories as it complies with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World
Resources Institute (WRI).
The results of the 2008 audit project a modestly positive trend for the college. Although the college continues to grow in size, it has benefitted from a decrease in average emissions in proportion to building space and community size over the past few years. The 2008 audit found HMC generates the equivalent of approximately 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year with roughly a 2% reduction per year since 2005. These results provide some hope of significantly reducing HMC's contribution to climate change in the near future.
The next step for HMC is to—within the next nine months—devise a plan and set a target date to become climate neutral.
The report of the completed audit can be found HERE or by selecting the publication graphic above.
Click here for a brief summary of the many things HMC is doing to help lessen its impact on the planet.
HMC Magazine — Sustainability as we see it
HMC Magazine — HMC Sustainability Reality Check / Recommendations
ESW/MOSS: Engineers for a Sustainable World/Mudders Organizing for Sustainability Solutions
Environmental Audit of the Claremont Colleges: A Claremont Colleges Sustainability Initiative
- "Los Angeles, Water, and Harvey Mudd College" May 2007 (WORD doc)