In December 2015, the University of Arkansas committed to the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge as part of the COP21 Paris Climate Conference. This agreement re-asserts the U of A’s goal to strive toward carbon neutrality and demonstrates continued leadership on this issue. This commitment is part of The University of Arkansas Climate Action Plan Version 2.0, which was approved by the Sustainability Council in 2014. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 at the University of Arkansas will require continued effort and cooperation by students, faculty, and staff to be aware of their energy usage, waste habits, and transportation choices.
Becoming Carbon Neutral
Despite continued enrollment and infrastructure growth, in 2015 the University of Arkansas has reduced overall carbon emissions. Since 2002 enrollment has grown by 10,760 students, yet total emissions have been reduced by over 10,000 metric tons CO2 (MTCDE). A significant portion of this reduction can be attributed to Energy Savings Performance Contracts that have reduced emissions by approximately 30,000 metric tons, and saved around six million dollars.
A 5 Mega-Watt Combined Heat and Power System has been installed and will come on line in 2016. We anticipate this will reduce emissions by about 35,000 MTCDE, allowing the university to heat buildings while simultaneously creating power. This project was outlined as a part of the mid-term goals in the Climate Action Plan 2.0 to make significant strides at reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2021.