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American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment
The ACUPCC Implementer

Dear Implementation Liaisons,

As the new decade kicks off, we welcome a new Program Associate for Implementation and get ready to launch the 2010 training and education program. Michael Miranda has taken over the position previously held by James Wilkins, whom we would like to thank for all of his hard work in providing assistance with your greenhouse gas reports and climate action plans. Michael is located in Second Nature's Boston office and can be reached at 617-722-0036, extension 215. Next month, Barbara Koneval, Program Associate for Training and Education, will contribute a newsletter article describing all the workshop, webinar, and conference events the ACUPCC will sponsor in 2010. The program kicks off with an expanded Climate Action Planning and Train-the-Trainers Workshop to be held at Furman University on March 3 during an action-packed week that also will include the dedication of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability and a presentation by Christine Todd Whitman. The ACUPCC Policy Subcommittee is in the process of setting priorities for Second Nature's policy work in 2010, and in November, 167 ACUPCC presidents (25%) completed an online survey of their national policy priorities. Possible areas of focus include funding for the University Sustainability Program grants and federal transportation policy; if you think your president might be interested in serving on the national transportation policy task force, please suggest he or she contact Don Ryan, Second Nature's Vice President for Policy.

With regards,
Toni Nelson

Table of Contents

  1. Message to ILs from the ACUPCC Steering Committee
  2. Models for Success and Lessons for the Future: COP15 Analysis
  3. Facilitating Green Building at Under-resourced Colleges and Universities Through Technical Assistance Grants for Local Consultants
  4. Lessons Learned from Using Building Energy Intensity to Guide Climate Action Planning Efforts at Foothill College

Message to ILs from the ACUPCC Steering Committee

by the Steering Committee of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment

Happy New Year! As we begin the fourth year of the ACUPCC, we would like to take this opportunity to share with you how pleased we are with the progress of the initiative and thank you for all the work you do. As presidents, we know that the real work in implementing major initiatives like the ACUPCC is done by the staff, faculty, and students of our institutions. We also recognize the critical role of the Implementation Liaisons in championing, coordinating, and advocating this effort. We celebrate your commitment and hard work. In less than three years, in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, 665 colleges and universities representing every kind of institution in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have committed to climate neutrality by becoming signatories to the ACUPCC. Together, we represent about one-third of the college student population. Higher education is the first and only sector that has substantially committed to achieve climate neutrality and ensure that all graduates have the knowledge and skills to do the same. As of this writing, 130 schools have submitted climate action plans and 459 schools have completed GHG inventories. Seventy-five percent of signatory schools have fulfilled their commitments to date. We expect another 125 schools to submit climate action plans in the first quarter of this year... Read more.

Models for Success and Lessons for the Future: COP15 Analysis

by Sarah Brylinsky, Sustainability Education Coordinator, Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, Dickinson College

Should we be disappointed, or hopeful? It was the question on everyone's mind as the professors, administrators, and students who had spent two weeks in Copenhagen learning from and influencing the negotiations of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) flew home to celebrate the holidays, reflect on the outcome and process, and prepare for work ahead in 2010. The intent of the conference was to complete legally binding negotiations on a new international agreement as the Kyoto Protocol winds to a close in 2012; the challenge was to create a new agreement which surmounts the difficulty of balancing cost-effectiveness with equitable policy architecture and generates enough consensus to come into effect as a long-term solution to mitigating and adapting to climate change. With mere hours left in the conference, an unexpected agreement took form behind closed doors, virtually erasing the progress (and lack thereof) from previous days. The Copenhagen Accord, a politically binding but not legally binding agreement, was created by the USA, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil, and all seventeen countries of the Major Economies Forum-which account for 90% of global emissions-will participate... Read more.

Facilitating Green Building at Under-resourced Colleges and Universities Through Technical Assistance Grants for Local Consultants

by Ilana Schoenfeld, Program Associate for Strategic Initiatives, Second Nature

Many under-resourced colleges and universities rely heavily on their local and regional building contractors, including architects and engineers, to provide the technical expertise necessary to carry out green building projects. Institutions located in remote areas, or in regions where green buildings are few and far between, are often subject to higher premiums charged for these project by contractors with little training or experience in green building. Second Nature, with funding from The Kresge Foundation, is inviting colleges and universities that have received Title III/V designation from the Department of Education and that are in states with relatively low numbers of green building projects to apply for green building technical assistance grants of up to $2000 each. The technical assistance grants will fund green building training for external building professionals (i.e., construction contractors, architects, designers, engineers) that work with these schools; training opportunities will include workshops, webinars, and online courses that will provide an overview of the benefits of green building and retrofits, case studies of campus green building projects, an introduction to third-party certification, and exposure to innovations in the field... Read more.

Lessons Learned from Using Building Energy Intensity to Guide Climate Action Planning Efforts at Foothill College

by Robert Cormia, Faculty, Informatics and Nanotechnology, and Brenda Davis Visas, Director of Facilities, Foothill College

Foothill College's ten-point climate action plan addresses both energy and GHG emissions by focusing on a key figure of merit, Building Energy Intensity (BEI), which helps inform data-driven decisions for building retrofits and onsite PV (solar) energy infrastructure, and also helps us plan future energy budgets and manage our GHG emissions. Building energy, expressed in annual BTU/sq-ft, is the established reporting mechanism for California Community Colleges and provides both a baseline and benchmarking mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of energy projects, as well as a means of comparison to similar colleges in similar regions. For Foothill College, the 1991 BEI of 100,000 BTU/sq-ft per year became a key figure of merit which informed and directed our energy projects. Energy Management System (EMS) and Building Automation Controls (BMS) systems, installed in the late 1990s, reduced peak BEI by almost 25%. To reach our 1991 100,000 BTU benchmark, Foothill will add significant additional onsite solar PV, shaving our gross electrical use to near 1991 levels. By monitoring and modeling our natural gas for heating and cogeneration of electricity, we anticipate reaching 100,000 BTU/sq-ft BEI in 2015, with GHG emissions (pounds per assigned square foot) at or below our 1991 levels, in line with our climate targets. The reality of climate action plans is that you can't (really) manage your GHG emissions, you can only manage energy and the intelligent use of capital to invest in efficiency and onsite generation projects. Using a BEI metric allows your facilities managers to know they are doing well in the context of 'the broader built environment'... Read more.


Membership in AASHE provides excellent value for signatories of the ACUPCC, offering access to a rich array of online resources and numerous opportunities for networking, information sharing, collaboration, and professional development. Join now!


Climate Action Planning and Train-the-Trainers Workshop
March 3, 2010
Greenville, SC

Advancing Green Building in Higher Education
AASHE membership discounts available for the first 100 under-resourced schools that sign up

Chill Out: Campus Solutions to Global Warming


Campus Green Builder

Accelerating Campus Climate Initiatives: Breaking Through Barriers

Financing Sustainability on Campus

Campus Sustainability Discussion Forums

Climate Neutral Campus Report

Critical Path Issues on the Way to Carbon Neutrality

Climate Action Planning Wiki

ACUPCC 2008 Annual Report

ACUPCC Reporting System

Implementation Guide (PDF)


The New Green Economy Conference
January 20-22, 2010
Washington, DC

Smart & Sustainable Campuses Conference
March 21-23, 2010
College Park, MD


January 12, 2010

Alternative Financing for Alternative Energy: Power Purchase Agreements
January 19, 2010

Measuring Campus Sustainability: Reaching for the STARS
January 19, 2010

EPA Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule
February 10, 2010

Greener Transportation: How are campuses greening their transportation systems and tracking their emissions?
February 11, 2010

Powered by the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
The ACUPCC Implementer
Issue 16, January 6, 2010