Brandeis Makes Strides in Reducing Carbon Footprint

In November, President Ron Liebowitz emailed the campus community with news that had everyone seeing green: For the first time since 2007, when Brandeis signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (now known as the Climate Leadership Commitments), the university has reduced the size of its carbon footprint.

During fiscal year 2016, the university used 10 percent less energy than it did in fiscal year 2015, reducing its carbon footprint by approximately 8 percent. “Though it will take more than one year to fully confirm our pace of progress,” the president wrote, “we are confident we have taken an important first step.”

Brandeis achieved its carbon reductions by implementing practices outlined in its new Energy Conservation and Management Policy, developed by the 2015-16 President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability and endorsed by the Student Union. The task force also revised the university’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines strategies for making further reductions in Brandeis’ carbon footprint.

The university’s short-term goals: Using fiscal year 2015 as the baseline, reduce emissions by 10 percent by fiscal year 2018 and 15 percent by fiscal year 2020. These reductions will not only be good for the environment but will also translate into significant financial savings.

In other sustainability news, the university has launched Commute Green, an online ride-sharing and alternative transportation website. The program, which aims to take single-occupant vehicles off the road, helps members of the Brandeis community share frequent commuting or one-time rides; find routes to campus via multiple modes of transport, including ride-sharing and biking; view maps of on-campus bike racks, public bike pumps and bike-repair stations; and earn rewards for commuting green.

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