Reporting System

Progress Report for Chatham University

Submitted on Jan. 15, 2012; Last updated on Jan. 15, 2012

The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.

click on a section heading below to expand its content; click again to collapse

General Statement of Progress

Chatham University has been integrating sustainability into the fabric of our university at all levels - operations, curriculum, student life, research, interactions with and connections to community members, neighbors, peers and policy makers. This requires a coordinated effort that requires assessing all these aspects of our institution and its life.

This has been challenging but enlightening. The President's Climate Commitment has given us the opportunity and structure to assess these many manifestations of our commitment for their effectiveness and impact, and provide incentive to improve them.

Chatham has undergone dramatic growth since we signed the agreement in 2007. We have demonstrated our commitment to sustainability by creating a new School of Sustainability and the Environment at Eden Hall Campus. The new campus will feature innovative climate positive buildings and landscape design, eventually serving nearly 1,500 students in a climate and water resources neutral, zero net energy integrated facility. State of the art integrated energy and water technology, and restorative stormwater management all work together to create a unique learning environment linked closely to the land.

This truly integrated design exemplifies the School’s systems-based approach to solving environmental concerns, and provides a unique learning opportunity.
Eden Hall Campus will serve as living laboratory where each student’s experience will be applied and immersive, with a solid foundation in the academic sustainability literature, and provide innovative, interdisciplinary education and research opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and professional students to better prepare them to identify and solve challenges related to sustainability and the environment.

Our dedication to sustainability is visible across all our campuses, and the positive effects are noticeable. From the large solar hot water systems on the Woodland campus residence halls and efficiency upgrades in the Eastside offices, to the remaking of our General Education curriculum to require 2 sustainability courses of every undergraduate, to the voluntary active engagement of faculty on Chatham's Climate Committee, our commitment takes many forms.

Never forgetting that one of the ultimate goals of the ACUPCC is to provide leadership through real action, we have made mighty efforts to reduce our footprint. We have had a 45% increase in our student body since signing, and increased our building space 36%. Yet between 2008 and 2010 we reduced our combined Scopes 1+2 emissions by 10%, and our combined Scopes 1+2+3 dropped 7%, for a net emissions reduction of 9%. We now purchase RECS equivalent to 100% of our electricity consumption, but continue our efforts to reduce our real consumption as far as possible. Our goal is to meet the challenge of producing more green energy than we can use, thus becoming a source of sustainable power even while we are a source for sustainable education.

GHG Emissions & Reduction Targets

Climate Neutrality Target Date: 2025
Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline*
10% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
20% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
10% reduction in Purchased Electricity Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
[click to view Climate Action Plan - Climate Action Plan 2009 - Chatham University]

GHGs summary

GHGs for Chatham University
Reporting Year Gross Emissions Net Emissions Full Time Enrollments Total Bldg. Sq. Ft. [action]
2007 8705.0 7246.0 1213.0 723000.0 [ view ]
2008 18116.0 16141.0 1615.0 943000.0 [ view ]
2009 15221.8 12338.5 1676.0 984000.0 [ view ]
2010 16827.0 14665.0 1766.0 984000.0 [ view ]
2011 11931.0 5006.0 1479.0 984000.0 [ view ]
2012 13964.0 7322.0 1716.0 984000.0 [ view ]
2013 14899.0 6270.0 2894.0 984000.0 [ view ]
  • Change in GHG gross emissions


    Chatham has undergone dramatic growth in this reporting period, with the most dramatic changes between 2007 and 2008. With the opening of the School of Sustainability and the Environment, a 45% increase in our student body, and a 36% increase in total square footage through the addition of two new campuses, Chatham now considers 2008 data to be more indicative of our true baseline. Between 2008 and 2010, our combined Scopes 1+2 emissions dropped 10%, and our combined Scopes 1+2+3 dropped 7%, for a net emissions reduction of 9%. The Eastside campus was added in 2008.  This large single building added 30% to our total square footage. Built in 1953 as a warehouse, it poses some unique structural and energy challenges.   In addition to  300 Chatham students and faculty, it houses 2 tenants, one with an extensive data center. Our tenants bring over 700 employees into the building daily, none of whom appear in our IPEDS FTE calculations, but all of whom use the energy services of the building. We are pleased to note that our 2010 data reflects improved commuter data, as we have improved our vehicle registration system to capture all car commuting, including summer camp attendees and night students. We now have confidence that we are providing highly-accurate mileage for all automobile commuting.

  • Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space


    Chatham made a 36% increase in square footage from 2007-2010.

  • Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)


    Full-time enrollment increased 45% from 2007 to 2010.

Education, Research, & Community Engagement


  • How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?

    Chatham has included sustainability into its General Education requirements for undergraduates. Every student receives an orientation to sustainability expectations at Chatham at the undergraduate and graduate level through orientation programming. We also require a sustainability orientation for all new employees.

  • Education methods in use

    • Included sustainability learning outcomes into institutional General Education Requirements.

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?

    Environmental policy, environmental studies, environmental writing, biochemistry, environmental biology, environmental chemistry, microbiology all have sustainability -related content or focus.

  • Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?

    We offer an M.A. in Food Studies as part of School for Sustainability and the Environment, as well as a new Certificate in Sustainable Management (2012)
    We have a sustainability focus to the Landscape Architecture and Interior Architecture programs.


  • Does your institution have a central sustainability website that consolidates information about the institution's sustainability efforts?


  • Does your institution include sustainability prominently in new student orientation?

    Sustainability is included in all new student orientation. Orientation is a shared project with Student Affairs, with the Office of Sustainability providing content. Some information is available on the campus intranet through the sustainability office.


  • If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?

    The faculty of the School of Sustainability and the Environment have brought new research agendas to Chatham in the last year, including Political ecology, economic geography, critical theory, sustainability, energy, environmental governance, and spatial analysis. Sustainability science, global water resources, community ecology, and women’s and children’s environmental health. Protected areas, social and economic justice, and the intersection of race and class with conservation and environmentalism. Sustainability and risk analysis, climate change, energy, toxic chemicals, and public health.

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?

    All undergraduates complete an independent research tutorial to graduate. The topics are chosen by the student, with input from departments. Many of these have a sustainability focus, and the sustainability coordinator frequently sits on tutorial committees.

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?

    Many of our faculty already focus on sustainability in their research. Faculty are given the same encouragement conference attendance, ability to apply for sabbaticals and research funds, etc.) for any area of research.

Community Engagement

  • How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?

    In addition to community projects with the Higher Education Climate Commission, such as Project 350 tree plantings, Chatham faculty, staff, students and alumnae take part in coordinated community-wide activities like water-saving campaigns, Critical Mass bike rides, city-wide energy reduction campaigns, and more. The Rachel Carson Institute, an official outreach center of the university, hosts a series of lectures and discussions about biodiversity, energy issues and climate, especially fracking, an issue of great regional importance.

  • Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?

    We are members of Higher Education Climate Consortium/the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative at; the Urban Ecology Collaborative,at; Champions for Sustainability at, and others.

  • Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?

    We have advocated at the local level for including sustainable technology in building and planning regulations, as well as at the state and national level for renewable energy portfolio standards and other support for renewable energy technology.

Energy & Finances

Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:


  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:


  • For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:


Renewable Energy

  • Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by Chatham University

    • Solar output: 90 kWh

    • Wind output: 0 kWh

    • Biomass output: 0 kWh

    • Fuel Cell output: 0 kWh

    • Geothermal output: 0 kWh

    • Annual renewable energy purchased: 2100000 kWh

  • Other GHG mitigation efforts:
    In addition to energy efficiency projects, Chatham's Climate Action Plan identified alternative transportation support as an additional approach to carbon reduction. A Bike Support subcommittee of the Climate Committee was formed by volunteers who work to encourage and improve bicycle culture on campus. Chatham’s bicycle infrastructure has grown significantly as a result of this group's efforts, earning us Bronze Bike-Friendly University status from The League of American Cyclists in 2011. Chatham was one of the first institutions in the country to adopt the federal Bicycle Commuting Tax Credit, through the hard work of our Human Resources office. In 2010 we established Chatham Bike Works, an educational bike shop on campus, supported by a student employee of the Office of Sustainability who performs and teaches bike repair. While these efforts cannot be directly quantified with pounds of carbon reduced, we believe that they are crucial to our ultimate goal of zero emissions.

Financial Data

  • Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?


  • Amount spent on CAP projects:


  • Estimated amount saved to date from implementing your CAP projects:


  • Estimated total savings expected from implementing entire Climate Action Plan


  • Additional information or context to support expected savings:

    see calculations in Climate Action Plan.

  • Financial resources (dollar amount) secured from outside sources to support mitigation efforts related to the Climate Action Plan (grants, gifts, etc...) :


  • Additional information on secured outside funding:

    Grants from combined state/federal renewable energy and energy conservation funds, and utility rebate programs.
finance methods...
  • Financing Methods utilized for Mitigation or Renewable Energy Projects:
    • Other
        combined state/local grant funding

Non-public data

This data is available to signatories with reporting system access.
"" fields in which no data was submitted have been omitted from this report

For more information about Chatham University's climate & sustainability efforts please click here