Climate Action Planning at the University of Georgia

The University of Georgia’s 2020 Strategic Plan calls for decisive action on Climate Change as stated below.  The effort to meet these goals is co-sponsored by the UGA Office of Sustainability and the Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society.  Click here for more details regarding Climate Action Planning at UGA.

Strategic Direction VII Improving Stewardship of Natural Resources and Advancing Campus Sustainability

Strategic Priority 1: Demonstrate a commitment to reducing fossil fuel use, thereby reducing the University’s carbon emissions.

Pre-benchmark Activity: Calculate the University’s carbon footprint

Benchmark: The University’s carbon footprint when calculated.

Goals: By 2020:

  • Reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent.
  • Reduce University consumption of energy by 25 percent.
  • Increase purchase of energy from renewable sources by 10 percent.
  • Increase generation of energy from renewable sources by 10 percent.

In order to achieve these goals, the University of Georgia is engaged in Climate Action Planning following the steps laid out in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.   This includes

  1. Initiating the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible.
  2. Initiating two or more tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while the more comprehensive plan is being developed.
  3. Making the action plan, inventory and periodic programs publicly available.

A greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the university was completed several years ago and is being updated through fiscal year 2012.  Although emissions have increased since 2000 when the inventory begins, they have actually leveled off in the last couple years due to energy efficiency improvements and changes in fuel mixes.

A Climate Action Planning Task Force made up of faculty, staff and students across campus as well as community partners was established and met for the first time in November of 2012.  They are evaluating current activities and identifying new strategies to reduce emissions and setting targets and goals.  A few of the current tangible actions include lighting retrofits, mechanical system upgrades and enhanced centralized utility systems to reduce energy use; investigating solutions for replacement of the coal-fired boiler at the central steam plant; composting, waste reduction and conversion to single-stream recycling; enhanced campus transit and bicycle programs and infrastructure to reduce the use of personal vehicles; new building construction targeting LEED-Silver or higher; organic and no-till agriculture and efficient irrigation strategies; etc.  The Climate Action Plan will be completed in November of 2013.

For more information on applied climate research, visit the Georgia Initiative on Climate & SocietyEngineering Outreach Service or the River Basin Center’s Climate Change webpage.


Additional Resources:

Carbon Calculator (in progress)

Carbon Calculator Users’ Guide

Campus Climate Action Plans (AASHE)

Greenhouse Gas Protocol