Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for Southern Oregon University

Submitted on January 15, 2010; last updated on January 15, 2010

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan Climate Action Plan, Version 1.0
January 13, 2010

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.

No information provided

Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline
15% reduction in Total Scope 1 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
10% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
15% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
Nonstandard Emissions Targets
Please enter below any targets that do not fit into the above format.

5% reduction (Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions) by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 1990.
10% reduction (Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions) by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 1990.


Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

The SOU Climate Action Plan identifies four primary greenhouse gas mitigation strategies:
1. Retro-commissioning
2. Energy conservation measures
3. On-site, renewable energy installations
4. Carbon offsets, renewable energy certificate purchases, and other off-site measures

In its Climate Action Plan, SOU identifies 2050 as the date for achieving climate neutrality. The Plan identifies the following interim emissions reduction goals:
? By 2015, achieve greenhouse gas levels that are 5 percent below 1990 levels.
? By 2020, achieve greenhouse gas levels that are 10 percent below 1990 levels.

The Plan identifies separate interim GHG emissions reduction goals for the Scope 1, 2 and 3 categories of GHG emissions for 2015:
? Scope 1 emissions will be reduced to 3,886 t CO2 e
? Scope 2 emissions will be reduced to 4,360 t CO2 e
? Scope 3 emissions will be reduced to 3,778 t CO2 e

A Facilities Assessment prepared by McKinstry estimates that approximately 23% of SOU’s current energy use and 15% of its carbon emissions can be reduced through mitigation strategies 1 and 2 above. McKinstry extrapolated these mitigation strategies to cost approximately $8.5 million in today’s dollars and to reduce annual carbon emissions by 795 t CO2 e.

McKinstry recommends that SOU first implement retro-commissioning and energy conservation projects over the next five years. SOU will utilize an energy saving performance contract and state Deferred Maintenance project funds to implement the projected retro-commissioning and energy conservation projects by 2015.

After implementation of the energy conservation projects, McKinstry recommends that SOU consider moving forward with the implementation of large scale renewable energy technologies, such as solar, bio-mass, wind, or ground-source heat pumps. SOU will aggressively pursue potential funding mechanisms and all renewable energy incentives available from the state and federal governments and utilities to finance renewable energy projects on campus.

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

In Fall of 2006, SOU reorganized its academic departments, creating the Department of Environmental Studies to better coordinate and enhance efforts in sustainability curriculum. Faculty members are drawn from geography, geology, sociology, and biology. The curriculum was reviewed and redesigned in the 2009-2009 academic year to more clearly articulate opportunities for encompassing sustainability content in courses. The Department of Biology also offers a variety of courses in ecology and conservation, which are relevant to sustainability. The University also has a long-standing graduate program in Environmental Education in the Department of Biology. The program teaches students scientific knowledge and professional skills in preparation for careers devoted to formal and informal science education, sustainable resource use, protection of biodiversity, and preservation of wildlands.

In 2008-2009, the University developed a Strategic Plan which calls for the University to, among other things, expand and promote nationally and internationally known environmental programs, strengthen relationships with regional natural resource agencies and partners, and intentionally integrate the arts and sustainability throughout the curriculum and the university culture. The University Studies Committee is currently reviewing exploration courses with a criterion for disciplinary sustainability content.

A Center for the Environment was created in November, 2009 to better coordinate research and outreach efforts around the theme of sustainability with various local, state, and federal agencies. Programs begun in 2008 with Crater Lake Center National Park Science and Learning Center introduce elementary and middle school students to sustainable resource use and protection of biodiversity. Other programs offered through SOU’s Deer Creek Center teach advanced undergraduate and graduate students how to model these issues in their K-12 classrooms.

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

Although SOU is primarily an undergraduate institution, a modest amount of student and faculty research on subjects related to sustainability and climate change is carried out.

Dr. John Roden of the Department of Biology does research in Plant Physiological Ecology with special reference to trees and forest ecosystems. Recent projects have included stable isotopes in tree ring cellulose as indicators of plant water use and climate change, the effects of wind and leaf movements (leaf flutter) on canopy light dynamics and its impact on photosynthesis, the effects of elevated CO2 and temperature extreme events (global change) on tree seedling physiology, and the genotype/phenotype interactions of conifers in common garden experiments.

Dr. Gregory Jones of the Department of Environmental Studies is a professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University who specializes in the study of how climate variability and change impact natural ecosystems and agriculture. His research interests include climatology, hydrology, and agriculture; phenology of plant systems; biosphere and atmosphere interactions; climate change; and quantitative methods in spatial and temporal analysis. He conducts applied research for the grape and wine industry in Oregon, has given hundreds of international, national, and region presentations on wine-related research, and is the author of numerous book chapters, reports, and articles on wine economics, grapevine phenology, site assessment methods for viticulture, climatological assessments of viticultural potential, and climate change.

SOU is developing a Masters in Applied Science Program, which has a planned focus on sustainable development. With this program, SOU intends to bring a greater graduate research focus to its environmental science and sustainability efforts.

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

Southern Oregon University has a long-standing history and solid foundation with community outreach, both generally and specific to issues of sustainability. SOU's 5-Year Strategic Plan (2009-2014) specifically calls for the institution to be a community partner and catalyst and further hone its commitment to southern Oregon's unique bioregion and the environmental issues within it. Practically speaking, this will take the form of expanded opportunities for student-faculty collaboration, community-based learning, and partnerships with regional agencies?most prominently the City of Ashland and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. These initiatives will focus on sustainable practices, research, and use of regional resources to help SOU become an example of how other agencies and entities in southern Oregon can strive for and achieve climate neutrality. Examples of intended outreach include working toward transit solutions to reduce single-occupancy vehicle traffic, working with local vendors and contractors to encourage green practices and reductions in emissions in the SOU physical plant, and achieving buy-in from local citizens for student and faculty housing projects designed to reduce traffic and eliminate the least-energy efficient housing on campus.