DETROIT – Chevrolet is purchasing carbon credits worth up to $5 million to help 11 colleges across the U.S. pay for energy efficiency-based carbon reductions and retiring the carbon credits to benefit the climate instead of using them to offset the emissions of Chevrolet vehicles or operations.
As part of its voluntary initiative to reduce 8 million metric tons of carbon from being emitted – the equivalent to the annual carbon reduction benefit of a mature forest the size of Yellowstone – Chevrolet during the last four years has supported U.S. communities in aggressively and ingeniously reducing their carbon footprint.
Campuses for the first time can access funding from the U.S. carbon market to fuel their large-scale energy efficiency efforts toward even greater progress, effectively using carbon performance methodologies to make money via their greenhouse gas reductions that result from energy efficiency.
“As we kept inching closer to our carbon-reduction goal, we wanted to support colleges going above and beyond to help combat climate change, and open the door for other companies to contribute to such campus clean energy projects,” said Greg Martin, executive director of sustainability, General Motors. “This helps ensure campuses can continue to receive funding from companies’ carbon purchases long after Chevrolet completes its carbon-reduction initiative next year.”
Before now, cash-strapped campuses struggled to invest in efficient building equipment or renewable energy systems to reduce their carbon load on the atmosphere.
Along the way, colleges save money on utility bills and engage students on how they too can help lead a clean energy future. Student leaders from Southern Oregon University spearheaded the securing of Chevy funding and are running an energy conservation campaign to engage students in the university’s conservation efforts. Boston University student interns helped lead their campus through its certification process, and convened a broader social media conversation on the importance of clean energy.
“With its ground-breaking carbon-reduction initiative, Chevy has built a clean energy legacy by showing how the voluntary carbon market can be leveraged to help finance lasting change,’’ said Verified Carbon Standard Chief Executive Officer David Antonioli. “It’s now incumbent on more forward-thinking companies to continue this important work to ensure that the campus clean energy program will one day reach every student and every campus.”
For the last two years, Chevrolet has been the largest U.S. corporate buyer of voluntary carbon credits by volume, according to nonprofit Forest Trends Ecosystem Marketplace. Of the nearly 8.2 million tons contracted from 36 projects, 69 percent have been retired. The balance is scheduled to be retired summer of 2015.
Chevrolet partnered with these colleges for their clean-energy performance: Ball State University, Valencia College, Portland State University, Spelman College, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, Boston University, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Grand Valley State University, and Southern Oregon University.
Join the conversation with students, university and climate leaders to share why clean energy is important via #CleanEnergyU.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
Here’s a list of the 11 colleges and universities and how they are cutting their carbon footprints:
1. Ball State University is creating the nation’s largest ground-source, closed-loop district geothermal energy system, enabling the thermal storage of the Earth to provide heating and cooling for all 47 campus buildings. The switch cuts its carbon footprint by nearly half.
2. Valencia College is implementing lighting retrofits, chiller plant and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, using Chevrolet funding to drive additional efficiency projects.
3. Portland State University committed to achieve net-zero emissions from campus operations by 2040, and champions climate change action beyond its own borders.
4. Spelman College aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2056
while inspiring its students to take action toward a cleaner energy future.
5. University of Illinois at Chicago’s LEED-Gold Douglas Hall features 245 solar panels, geothermal heating, daylighting, and occupancy detectors. It set a precedent for high-performing LEED buildings to earn carbon credit funding.
6. University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point switched from coal to natural gas at its heating plant and may use its new funds to power a wind turbine demonstration.
7. Boston University met its 25 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal six years early, and will use Chevrolet funds to build its Sustainability Revolving Loan Fund to fuel future sustainability projects.
8. Rochester Institute of Technology hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Its business incubator expands start-ups’ clean energy solutions across the country, and Chevrolet funding will accelerate further sustainability innovation.
9. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has reduced its dependence on coal, while retro-commissioning 50 buildings to improve heating and cooling. The university will match Chevrolet funds to drive further progress toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2050.
10. Grand Valley State University’s energy-efficient practices are central to the campus culture. The millions of dollars saved from energy efficiency improvements and Chevrolet funds allow it to reinvest in the university.
11. Southern Oregon University is striving to reach its carbon neutral goal by 2050 by investing in green buildings, such as its LEED Gold Raider Village featuring daylit common spaces and 153 kilowatts of solar photovoltaics.