University aiming to be carbon neutral by 2025

(2.24) Carbon Neutral
REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT: President Crow announced the university's Carbon Neutrality Plan, which would include increasing the number of solar panels on campus. The plan states that by the end of 2025, ASU expects to achieve a 100% carbon neutral environment. (Photo by Jessica Weisel)
Published On:
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
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A new environmental plan proposed by ASU aims to reduce the Universityís carbon footprint over the next few decades, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

The Carbon Neutrality Action Plan, announced Friday, will focus on campus energy consumption and student transportation, and attempt to educate students on how to lower campus carbon emissions.

“We are making a commitment as an institution to work toward carbon neutrality over the next 15 years,” said Ray Jensen, associate vice president of University Business Services.

The University has embraced sustainability as a value, Jensen said, and through this action plan, ASU officials hope to make significant changes to the University.

By the end of 2010, ASU plans to obtain 25 percent of its daily power from renewable sources, the majority being solar power, he said.

The University is currently under contract to install approximately eight additional megawatts of solar power, Jensen said, in addition to the roughly two megawatts of solar power already in use on campus.

Once installed, it will be one of the biggest solar power installations within a single university, said Bonny Bentzin, director of University Sustainability Practices at the Global Institute of Sustainability. The installation will provide roughly 10 megawatts of power to the campus.

The University also plans to continue subsidizing student and staff transit in an effort to reduce transportation emissions, Jensen said.

A key part of the action plan is raising awareness among students, said Bentzin.

“This is a way of tracking our impact … the impact of ASU as a whole,” Bentzin said, adding that educating students on how to make changes is the biggest challenge. “There is an impact to everything we as human beings do.”

In addition to the plan, ASU is a part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment organization, which promotes carbon neutrality at the campus level. Crow is co-chair of the organization.

“The organization is important because ASU is one University. We can do a lot, but we can’t make major change,” Bentzin said. “Colleges and universities working together can make major change.”

Reach the reporter at anatwood@asu.edu