Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for Philadelphia University

Submitted on January 15, 2014; last updated on January 29, 2014

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan Philadelphia University Climate Action Plan
January 15, 2014

Emissions Targets

Climate Neutrality Target
If you have any qualifying statements with regard to the climate neutrality target date, please include them here, and/or if you have chosen "TBD" and not specified a neutrality date, please enter the reason and explain the process for establishing a target date in the future.

Philadelphia University is committed to sustainability and has structured a comprehensive plan to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2035 given anticipated technology improvements and a moderate growth plan. We believe fiscal responsibility is a factor for sustainability and reserve the right to make adjustments to the plan depending upon economic feasibility.

Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline
30% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2018 relative to baseline emissions in 2011
50% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2022 relative to baseline emissions in 2011
70% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2026 relative to baseline emissions in 2011
80% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2030 relative to baseline emissions in 2011
90% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2034 relative to baseline emissions in 2011
Nonstandard Emissions Targets
Please enter below any targets that do not fit into the above format.

No information provided


Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

Philadelphia University’s mitigation strategies embody several guiding principles with a goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.
The 2011 baseline proportions of our carbon footprint are as follows:
• Scope 1 accounts for 26.6% or 3666 MTCO2e
• Scope 2 accounts for 46% or 6344 MTCO2e
• Scope 3 accounts for 27.4% or 3775 MTCO2e
The University intends to seek an approach towards carbon neutrality that is fiscally neutral and that balances budget expenditures with supply and demand mitigation strategies.
The University interprets the purchase of green electrical power for the purpose of replacing fossil generated electrical power as being equal to reduction or on-site generation. The over-purchase of green power to compensate for other carbon source on the other hand is interpreted as a form of off-set.
The approach prioritizes a movement towards electrical power as an even larger proportion of our portfolio of energy sources. This can be sourced with a full green power commitment, thus alleviating this as a source of emission from the university. The remaining strategies will utilize cost vs carbon reduction value as a primary method of prioritization.
We recognize given current and anticipated technology; carbon neutrality without offsets is improbable. But our intention will be to utilize financial savings of sustainability projects to continue to self fund further initiatives, reducing our footprint as much as possible; with offsets engaged only at the conclusion of the process.
Strategies under consideration include:
• Utilizing peak shaving savings to cover green power purchase premiums.
• Reduction of our 2035 anticipated build-out through space utilization practices.
• Greater implementation of high efficiency heat pumps.
• A shift towards a higher percentage of transportation gas.
• BAS ongoing improvements with a goal towards tying to occupancy.
• Waste reduction including such methodologies as composting.
• Others

Please describe your institution's plans to make sustainability a part of the curriculum for all students.

Philadelphia University already has a firm foundation in educational experiences related to climate change and sustainability. Student organizations at the University include SOSA (Students Organized for Sustainable Action), Habitat for Humanity, Freedom by Design, Global Architecture Brigades, and the Landscape Architecture program has a partnership with the East Falls chapter of Tree Tenders. SOSA has developed an annual event, the Sustainability Forum, that hosts a variety of environmentally-themed events each spring. As part of its Nexus Learning initiative, the University regularly collaborates with corporate partners to develop projects that bring multi-disciplinary teams of students; recent projects with Unilever, Unifi, and Comcast have focused on sustainability issues.

To increase faculty capacity related to sustainability in the curriculum, we would like to create a program on the model of the Ponderosa Project. Our Wissahickon Project would recruit a small group of faculty each year to meet monthly to discuss current environmental topics and to brainstorm about how these issues could be integrated into their courses.

To integrate sustainability awareness more deeply into our students’ lives, we should also begin an Eco-Reps program in the University’s residence halls. This program would train students for peer-to-peer education and allow them to organize projects that address sustainability behaviors in their personal lives.

A final commitment would be to increase support for the SOSA Sustainability Forum. With additional support and organization, this annual event could become a significant campus tradition and create opportunities to bring leading sustainability thinkers to campus, along with other relevant activities, like film festivals, green vendors, and panel discussions. Another new annual event, ACES (Academic and Community Education Sessions), also offers opportunities to highlight environmental and sustainability issues: last year’s event included a session on hydrofracking, and the plans for this year include a session on the ethics of food.

Please describe your institution's plans to expand research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality.

The process of attaining institutional energy self-sustainability at Philadelphia University will afford our students, faculty members, and collaborators a suite of opportunities to engage in applied research on campus. Our approach will be to convert the campus into a teaching laboratory, with the goal of allowing students to engage in the entire process of research, from data collection to dissemination of results. Students will develop insight into the technical challenges and opportunities associated with the real-world application of sustainability principles, a skill set that will serve them well in today’s job market.

We propose that research opportunities and their associated learning outcomes will be established at three distinct levels of engagement:

1. The creation and enhancement of small-scale, low-cost research experiences involving sustainability and energy resources as labs or in-class activities in existing Philadelphia University undergraduate courses
2. Inclusion of higher-order, multi-disciplinary research projects, guided and mentored by faculty members, for students in sustainability-related graduate majors and as undergraduate capstone experiences; and,
3. Establishment of sponsored research projects whereby external partners develop outcomes-based avenues of research by financially and intellectually supporting student and faculty led research activities focused on pressing sustainability, climate change, and energy issues.

As an example, the creation of the Building Systems Lab that was recently partially sponsored by Honeywell could be leveraged to facilitate critical and productive assessments of building operations through integration into course and thesis work in the undergraduate (levels 1 & 2) and graduate (level 2) curriculum as well as provide co-curricular research opportunities such as summer internships, on-campus students group activities, and honors upgrades (level 2). By defining and funding specific avenues of research that are associated with particular industry needs, industry partners could become a sponsors of projects with applications that extend beyond the boundaries of the Philadelphia University campus (level 3).

Please describe your institution's plans to expand community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality.

There is a lack of understanding about what the climate action plan, and what it is trying to accomplish for Philadelphia University.
Our goal, as the Outreach Committee, is to first inform the staff and student body about the important steps we are taking to change the culture around campus, and what each individual can do to contribute to our net zero goal. This is a thinking globally, act locally approach. After focusing our efforts to the target market of the university population, we see the potential and desire to spread the message further into the community, using those directly affected by the CAP as additional ambassadors.
Our first initiative is to send out email blasts to the staff and student body. The emails would quickly summarize what we are trying to accomplish and give brief facts about climate change, waste and recycling on campus, emphasizing how small efforts like turning off lights when leaving a room can save significant amounts of energy. We feel this would be the quickest and widest way to access our campus community.
Additional initiatives include utilizing the various media outlets around campus. We anticipate recording informational podcasts through the online radio station. There is potential for outreach to the radio listeners through talk show segments and advertisements. We also intend to utilize tent cards on tables in the cafeteria and messages on the information televisions in the campus center.
After completing our campus initiatives, we intend to expand our message to the community around PhilaU. We hope to accomplish this by going to local elementary schools and participating with classes on sustainability projects, or informational assemblies. Then engage more mass media, such as Philadelphia Weekly and/or Grid magazine.
We feel these outreach efforts will reinforce PhilaU’s status as a progressive and forward thinking university.