Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Submitted on September 15, 2009; last updated on March 25, 2010

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Climate Action Plan
September 14, 2009

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.

Climate neutrality targets will be estimated based on progress in meeting interim milestones (set below). This progress will be evaluated during the process of preparing the 2011 report for submission to ACUPCC.

Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline
20% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
30% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2025 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
40% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2035 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
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.

To achieve the institutional goal of a 20% reduction in 2007 GHG emission levels by 2012, several strategies have been adopted, related to both power generation and energy conservation. First, control and energy efficiency related upgrades will continue to be evaluated and pursued. Efficiencies to date include boiler control upgrades, digital heating and cooling controls, chiller replacement, and lighting upgrades. Through smart purchasing policies, MCLA will continue upgrading to energy efficient office and facilities equipment and electronics, and transportation when possible. During FY2011, the campus plans to install a renewable energy facility that will supply at least 40% of the campus heating and/or electricity needs. Currently, members of the MCLA sustainability committee (the “Green Team”) and consultants are exploring options in wood chip or pellet biomass systems, and photovoltaic (PV) solar installations. Feasibility discussions are underway with companies that install and market such systems.

Education plays a central role in MCLA’s plans. The Green Team is working to raise awareness about conservation and sustainability among the campus community. Over time, MCLA anticipates this advocacy will foster positive behavioral changes that will contribute to the overall carbon footprint reduction. Building on its successes to date with the student population, the Green Team will focus its efforts during the coming year on generating comparable enthusiasm among the faculty and staff. The established communications network with the College’s Student Affairs division, the campus newspaper, and the College electronic mail system will provide a platform to further inform individuals of ways they can contribute to achieving MCLA’s sustainability goals.

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

In addition to the work already being done by many faculty and staff educators at MCLA, the emphasis on incorporating sustainability and environmental awareness into the curriculum will expand during the next two years. Data from the College’s existing PV array is being analyzed in introductory Environmental Science laboratories, and lectures on renewable energy and climate change are common. Through the use of the campus garden, Education faculty and students have developed elementary curriculum on plant germination and local, sustainable food production. Business faculty have incorporated lectures in their courses on the triple bottom line – economic, environmental, and social – of sustainability. These efforts emphasize the local economy and the role green technology and environmental resources play therein. By the fall semester of 2010, a new certificate program in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency will be in place, providing a resource to the community and adding to the experience of enrolled undergraduates.

MCLA has a strong community service ethic, and therefore offers resources for students to engage in service learning. Because of this access, most students do complete one or many service learning projects or internships while at MCLA. Through the College’s Berkshire Environmental Resource Center (BERC) program and other outreach endeavors of the campus, many opportunities are available in renewable energy and sustainability with local and regional organizations. Recent internships have covered topics such as GIS and its relation to photovoltaic installations, research and design of a brochure for a local river conservation organization, and conservation messages through environmental art.

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

MCLA is in the planning stages for construction of a new academic building, the Center for Science and Innovation. The building will be designed and built in adherence to sustainable principles. The center will house the College’s chemistry, biology, physics, math, psychology, and computer science departments, and labs will focus on multidisciplinary learning, teaching, and research. By embodying sustainability best practices the center will serve as a venue for students and faculty to broaden their laboratory experiences in sustainability and environmental sciences.

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

Plans are in place to grow existing sustainability projects and to develop new opportunities. As part of an anticipated expansion of the campus garden, MCLA will engage with the nearby technical high school to build raised beds, a tool shed, and other structures as class projects. Further, more plots can be devoted to local elementary and middle schools. Food from the garden has been donated to the local food bank in the past, and with garden expansion, this work can be enhanced.

With funding support from the United States Department of Education, the BERC and the Berkshire Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Network, MCLA will launch the Berkshire Regional Science Resource Center. The program will support science instruction and professional development in the region by providing science kits, equipment, and other resources on a lending basis to K-12 teachers throughout the area who might not otherwise have access. Center resources will include kits, books, media, and curriculum resources focused on renewable energy, climate change, and environmental science. MCLA’s Green Living Seminar Series and the annual endowed Vadnais environmental lecture provide opportunities for campus and community engagement around a variety of environmental and sustainability themes. These lectures provide the community with practical knowledge on the current state of sustainable technologies, methods, and practices. Lecture topics have ranged from home energy efficiency upgrades and small renewables, to sustainable agriculture. These presentations feature regional and national experts in the field.

Representatives from MCLA will continue to exchange ideas and provide and gain insight to the North Adams Green Group and other community organizations devoted to reducing energy consumption and promoting sustainability. Likewise, the relationships with sustainable businesses and organizations in the area will be maintained and further developed.