Boldly Sustainable: Available on Your Campus Now!
by Peter Bardaglio, Senior Fellow, Second Nature and Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships, Second Nature
You know something’s up if NACUBO is getting behind sustainability, clean energy, and climate protection. NACUBO is the professional organization for the folks who make sure the bills get paid, paychecks are issued, and budget is balanced. And it’s getting serious about helping colleges and universities meet the challenge of building a more sustainable future.
Sending out roughly 6,600 copies of our 256-page book free of charge is a pretty good indication of just how committed NACUBO is. It’s also telling that the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bank of America, Johnson Controls, Inc., Park Foundation, and Sodexo Education generously provided the funding to help make this happen.
We wanted NACUBO to publish our book because we saw the organization as providing the “good housekeeping seal of approval” for the central argument of Boldly Sustainable: that sustainability should be a strategic imperative for colleges and universities and that it can not only renew higher education’s sense of purpose but also make good business sense. It is this focus on the ways that sustainability can strengthen both the tangible and intangible assets of institutions and make them more competitive that sets our book apart. We provide lots of concrete examples from campuses all over the country of how sustainability is becoming woven into the warp and woof of business operations and facilities management, as well as how institutions are making sustainability a crucial part of their marketing and branding. In addition, we explore how sustainability can transform teaching and learning, provide new opportunities for leadership, and invigorate the campus community.
Sustainability coordinators and those overseeing the implementation of the ACUPCC will find plenty of information on such practical issues as monitoring energy performance, LEED standards for new and existing buildings, water conservation, transportation, recycling, and purchasing. And, of course, no book on sustainability can overlook the challenge of financing new initiatives. Energy performance contracts, power purchase agreements, revolving loan funds, renewable energy hedges, and student fees all get their due.
One of our favorite stories involves the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), the largest community college district in the United States. LACCD has nine campuses and serves more than 185,000 students. It is undertaking one of the largest public-sector efforts in sustainable building, funded by voter-approved bonds totaling more than $2.2 billion for new construction and modernization projects. LACCD’s goal is nothing less than getting all nine campuses off the electric grid. To help accomplish this task, LACCD is installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on nearly all of its parking lots and roofs, as well as architectural-scale wind generators, solar thermal tubes, and ground-source heat pumps on each campus. Now that’s bold!
We hope stories like this will inspire and motivate more higher education institutions to adopt the ACUPCC and encourage those that already have to meet the challenges inherent in this ambitious commitment. Clearly, we are at the beginning of what will be a long conversation; as Robert Frost writes, there is “no way out but through.”
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