Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for Agnes Scott College

Submitted on September 15, 2009; last updated on November 6, 2009

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan Climate Action Plan
October 29, 2009
No information provided.
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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.

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Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline
44% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2014 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
59% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2019 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
74% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2024 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
84% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2029 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
94% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2034 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
100% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2037 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
Nonstandard Emissions Targets
Please enter below any targets that do not fit into the above format.

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Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

Strategies: To set reduction goals for the college’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP), Agnes Scott’s Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC) agreed to three phases of action. Phase one strategies include: 1) energy conservation through behavioral change, education and incentives; 2) energy efficiency through mechanical retrofitting and deferred maintenance programs; 3) design, renovation, and construction of efficient buildings; 4) alternative transportation programs for commuters; and 5) reduction of waste to landfills through green purchasing, recycling, and composting. Phase two strategies will incorporate renewable energy technologies. An assessment of the feasibility of financing and installing solar power solutions has been initiated, since solar is the best renewable option available at this time. Phase three strategies will focus on purchase of green power and renewable energy credits or carbon offsets.

Progress to date: We have already achieved significant progress in the areas of efficiency and conservation. In 2008-2009 (the first year of our CAP) conservation efforts included: establishing an energy policy, changing operating hours temperatures to ASHRAE standards (off hours were already set to the standard), minimizing building operating schedules, and encouraging behavioral change, such as turning off lights, computers, and printers. These activities resulted in an approximate 7% reduction in electricity use in year one. Expanded commuter incentives (reduced parking rates and designated spaces) were introduced. Year two will focus on achieving efficiency through mechanical retrofitting, to include installing occupancy sensors, replacing light bulbs, and replacing outdated equipment. An energy audit and master plan will also be completed in year two to coordinate the mechanical retrofit plan with the plan for addressing deferred maintenance. In 2008, the Board of Trustees passed a policy for renovations and new construction to strive for LEED Silver certification. One major renovation completed in 2009 is slated for LEED Silver and another is being designed for LEED Gold.

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

Agnes Scott stepped up its efforts to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum this year. Four new courses were offered with a direct tie to the college’s sustainability program, ranging from a seminar on alternative energy to a class on green learning spaces. This spring, faculty approved a new minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ESS) which will launch this fall. The ESS minor will combine natural and social science courses and promote experiential learning by helping students undertake environmental internships on and off campus. The first course for the minor, ESS 101, will be co-taught by the director of sustainability and a biology professor in spring 2010. A study designed to benchmark the current level of faculty engagement and interest in sustainability was conducted in spring 2009 by a professor and student and presented at the college’s spring research conference. This study will form the basis of sustainability across the curriculum workshop for faculty in 2010, dubbed the Azalea Project and modeled on Emory University’s Piedmont Project.

Student interns have been integrally involved in every stage of Agnes Scott’s climate neutrality efforts. A biology student conducted the GHG emissions inventory in 2008 and several students contributed to the CAP and are working on a broader sustainability plan.

Sustainability education and action has shaped the experience of all students through the college’s single-stream recycling and food composting efforts, the work of environmental residents in dorms, and participation in Recyclemania (Agnes Scott earned 38th place nationally in the per capita division). This year, we will develop a more systematic approach to assessing and promoting education in sustainability for all students. Plans include inclusion of questions in first-year and senior surveys and the installation of dashboard technology in residence halls to provide “real time” data on energy and water use.

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

At the heart of Agnes Scott’s climate neutrality efforts is a commitment to making the campus a living laboratory for sustainability research, teaching and action. Critical to this approach is an emphasis on developing “in-house” expertise and maximizing the participation of the college community – students, faculty and staff – in sustainability research. This emphasis has been reflected in the role of students, faculty and staff in conducting the college’s GHG emissions inventory and developing CAP goals. We have also undertaken a water audit and water use reduction plan with staff, faculty and student labor. Initial results of this water audit were presented by students at the college’s annual research conference in 2009.

While this approach de-emphasizes the use of outside consultants, we will partner with outside consultants and researchers to provide expert assistance and third party or peer review to ensure the accuracy of our findings and recommendations. For example, a grant from the Atlanta Community Foundation funded an energy audit of our gym, and we have a grant proposal pending to support the development of a campus-wide energy audit and master plan through shared staff from an energy consulting firm. Our goal with every research project is to expand community buy-in and to build research capacity among students, faculty and staff.

In the short term the new ESS program (described in section 2 above) will be the “home” for much of this research activity. A long-term goal is the establishment of a Center for Environmental and Sustainability Studies on campus in order to share our knowledge through training programs with other colleges and universities. The activities of this center will be augmented by our existing partnerships with local governments and national organizations (see next section).

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

Agnes Scott is partnering with local governments within whose jurisdiction we fall. The City of Decatur funds approximately 1/5 of the salary for the college’s sustainability fellow so that she can work with the city’s Environmental Sustainability Board on their climate action and sustainability plans. At the county level, the college’s director of sustainability serves on DeKalb County’s new Green Commission and a recent Agnes Scott graduate has been appointed as the commission’s first intern. Agnes Scott representatives have given presentations to both local governments about the college’s GHG emissions inventory, CAP and overall sustainability efforts. The college is also taking part in a new urban farm initiative being planned by the City of Decatur. In 2008-2009 we partnered with the Campus Ecology program of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to host a regional climate action forum for colleges, schools and municipalities in north Georgia. ACUPCC founder Anthony Cortese spoke at our annual alumnae leadership conference and participated in the NWF forum. We have committed to assisting NWF with future regional events and will encourage participants from last year’s forum to attend public lectures offered in conjunction with the ESS 101 course.

In cooperation with Emory University, we are researching the college’s options for accessing federal stimulus funding to support our climate neutrality plans. Sustainability director Susan Kidd serves on the Atlanta Regional Commission’s sustainability advisory committee and has attended their planning sessions for regional stimulus funds. Finally, the college has hosted several sustainability related events, including a sustainability workshop for the local chapter of the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) and for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, as well as the 1,000-attendee Georgia Organics annual conference.