ACUPCC Reporting System

Climate Action Plan for University of Louisville

Submitted on September 15, 2010; last updated on November 11, 2010

Climate Action Plan Details

Climate Action Plan University of Louisville Climate Action Plan 2010
September 15, 2010
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Emissions Targets

Climate Neutrality Target
2050
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
20% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
40% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2030 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
Nonstandard Emissions Targets
Please enter below any targets that do not fit into the above format.

No information provided

Narratives

Please describe your institution's greenhouse gas mitigation strategies.

Our plan for making progress toward climate neutrality is dynamic and multifaceted. We recognize that sustainability demands progress on multiple fronts and that lasting change cannot be achieved without coordinated efforts campus-wide. As such, we propose taking a variety of steps to lead the University of Louisville down a path toward climate neutrality with a focus on the following initiatives: green purchasing; energy conservation and efficiency; renewable energy; carbon sequestration; master planning; green building design; composting and horticultural practices; behavior change; recycling; transportation; food; and carbon offsets. Our full Climate Action Plan details over 175 individual steps we plan to take across all of these areas over the next four decades. We have prioritized these actions into short-term (by 2020), mid-term (by 2030) and long-term (by 2050) steps on the way to climate neutrality. The university intends to continually monitor progress and revisit and reevaluate these plans as the years pass in a spirit of adaptive management.

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

We see climate and sustainability literacy as essential for today’s students and recognize that these themes could be more broadly integrated into the University of Louisville’s curriculum. In order to do so, we plan to take a number of steps in the short term: 1. Expand the Green Threads program to encourage more faculty to integrate sustainability themes into existing or new courses through a mini-grant incentive program; 2. Make climate change and sustainability a strategic priority of the Community Engagement Steering Committee; 3. Develop a community engagement course assistant award program to support student course work focused on climate change and sustainability in our community; 4. Develop a University Community Academic Partnership Assistance program to provide faculty with funds to advance partnerships providing learning experiences tied to climate change and sustainability; 5. Establish an undergraduate, interdisciplinary degree in Sustainability with classes taught in multiple departments; 6. Support the new student group focused on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in working with campus architects to conduct research and assist in promoting sustainable technologies in new and remodeled campus buildings; and 7. The Sustainability Council will work to increase academic collaboration on the topic of climate change and will continue to invite speakers to campus for lectures and forums. Deliberation by faculty about making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the educational experiences should occur by 2020. There are many options for exposing students to climate change and sustainability issues, including internships, service learning projects, study abroad, and traditional course work. All have the possibility of including practical activities designed to further sustainability on campus, in the surrounding community, or in the world. Faculty will also be encouraged to incorporate examples, texts and theory about climate change into a variety of courses and majors offered on campus.

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

The University of Louisville is Kentucky’s premier metropolitan research university. As we look ahead toward a post-carbon future, the Sustainability Council has a vision for transforming the university into a living laboratory of sustainability. We plan to expand and deepen our research into the achievement of climate neutrality by building upon our rich, collaborative history in sustainability research. In 1992, the university established the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD), "to provide multidisciplinary research and applied scholarship, teaching and educational outreach, and public service on issues of the environment, its protection, and sustainable development." KIESD achieves these goals through the work of a variety of Centers focused on different aspects of sustainability, including the Centers for: Environmental Education; Environmental Engineering; Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; Environmental Cardiology; Environmental Policy and Management; Environmental Finance; Environmental Science; Land Use and Environmental Responsibility; Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods; and the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center. The Speed School of Engineering had also established the Institute for Advanced Materials and Renewable Energy which, through a generous alumni grant, is expanding its efforts with an exclusive focus on advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development as the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. The Center investigates practical, economical, and potentially commercializable technologies including solar and biomass energy conversion, energy storage, biofuels, energy efficiency and conservation, and advanced energy materials. Moving forward, the university will harness the power of these existing Centers and will take the following additional steps: 1. The Sustainability Council will continue identifying faculty and student collaborators to perform research on the full spectrum of campus sustainability initiatives; 2. Provide seed funds for faculty to engage in community-based participatory research focused on climate change and sustainability; 3. Develop service learning opportunities for student research projects in sustainable campus design and construction.

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

The University of Louisville sees its climate commitment as a model to inspire others to take action. As a model laboratory for society, the changes made and strategies developed on campus can be adapted to other institutions. Community outreach on climate change has been achieved through volunteerism, service learning, research, information sharing, institutional partnerships, and public forums and conferences sponsored by the university. For twenty years, the university has hosted an Environmental Youth Summit which brings secondary school students onto campus to discuss environmental issues, with a recent focus on climate change and service learning projects to measure energy use, carbon sequestration, waste generation, and transportation demands at area schools. We also engage the community through the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, which runs state-wide programs to help private organizations reduce their carbon footprint. Since 1994, the center has provided free, non-regulatory waste assessments to nearly 500 Kentucky businesses, industries and other organizations with total savings reaching nearly $6 million. In 2004, the university joined with the Jefferson County Public Schools and Louisville Metro Government to form the Partnership for a Green City, a collaborative effort to improve environmental education, health, and management by combining public resources. Through the Partnership, the university has installed renewable energy systems and promoted efficiency throughout Louisville, and, in 2009, the Partnership released a citywide Climate Action Plan. Looking ahead, we plan to deepen all of these engagement activities and: 1. Provide mini-grants for faculty to incorporate community-based learning opportunities pertaining to climate change and sustainability; 2. Make climate change and sustainability a strategic priority of the Community Engagement Steering Committee; 3. Provide seed funds for faculty to engage in community-based participatory research focused on climate change and sustainability; and 4. Develop a community engagement course assistant award program for courses on climate change and sustainability.