GHG Emissions  -  January 29, 2019

Amherst College aims for carbon neutrality by 2030

Amherst College announced the adoption of a Climate Action Plan that sets a goal for the College to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The plan was unanimously approved by the College’s Board of Trustees.

A statement from the Board noted that the plan is consistent with Amherst’s strategic plan and the Board’s 2015 Statement on Sustainability and Investment Policy, which committed the institution to “a path that will make sustainability a key consideration in both the College’s daily operations and its investment process.”

Over the past few years, a College task force of students, faculty, and staff has developed this roadmap, with the support of leading outside experts and engagement with other major colleges and universities with demonstrated success in climate action. The task force concluded that an energy system transformation would be necessary to achieve reductions that are desirable, necessary and real. This transformation will involve changing the campus energy infrastructure from a traditional fossil-fuel powered steam system to renewable electrical-powered heat pumps that use geothermal energy sources. The plan does not rely on the purchase of carbon offsets.

According to the statement, Amherst has already “taken significant measures in support of climate action, resulting in a 30% reduction of the College’s carbon footprint over the past 10 years. The College adhered to industry-leading, high-efficiency energy standards in the design and construction of our new state-of-the-art science center and residence halls. Those designs also anticipated a major transformation of our current energy system and included infrastructure for the energy conversion option we will now pursue.” The College has also established an energy solar project to replace all current grid-sourced electricity with solar power by 2020, which will reduce carbon output by a further 17%.

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