In December 2015, the University of Arkansas committed to the Second Nature Climate Leadership Commitment which encompasses both carbon and resiliency goals. This agreement re-asserted the U of A’s 2007 signature of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which established a carbon neutrality by 2040 goal and continued leadership within this space. This commitment is formalized in the University of Arkansas Climate Action Plan version 2.0, which was approved by the U of A Sustainability Council in 2014. Achieving carbon neutrality at the University of Arkansas will require continued cooperation and support by students, faculty, and staff to be aware of their energy usage, waste habits, and transportation choices.
DRAMATIC EMISSIONS REDUCTION
Despite steady enrollment and infrastructure growth, in 2016 the University of Arkansas significantly reduced overall carbon emissions. 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 over the past 10 years. In 2016, a 5 Mega-Watt Combined Heat and Power System came online to provide heat while simultaneously providing hot water and power for the campus. These efforts further reduced emissions by about 22,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCDE), and more reductions are expected in 2017 as the system is optimized. This cost-effective project has allowed us to approach our 2021 mid-term emission goal five years ahead of schedule. Although burning natural gas on campus still has a carbon footprint, it is approximately half the carbon footprint of the equivalent amount of electricity purchased from coal-powered electricity.
2016 BICYCLE FRIENDLY UNIVERSITY
As part of the effort to improve the quality of life for campus members and reduce scope 3 emissions, the University of Arkansas has been planning and deploying more pedestrian and bicycle friendly infrastructure and programming. This year, for the first time, the University of Arkansas was awarded Silver Bicycle Friendly University designation by the League of American Bicyclists.