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Holy Cross Finalizes Carbon Neutral Plan

September 15th, 2009 by 

WORCESTER, Mass. – Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., president of the College of the Holy Cross, today announced Holy Cross’ Climate Action Plan, which documents the College’s commitment to reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions and outlines initiatives designed to achieve an overall goal of climate neutrality.  As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in fall 2007, Fr. McFarland appointed an environmental task force of faculty, staff and students to promote campus practices beneficial to the environment and explore initiatives that reduce the College’s carbon footprint.

“Like many organizations committed to building a more just, humane and sustainable world, the Society of Jesus is committed to protecting the natural environment, as a number of its recent documents have shown.  In that spirit, our community shares a commitment to the sustainable development and stewardship of our planet.  As members of a global society, we have a special responsibility to examine our contributions to climate change, to make positive changes to improve the environment and to act in solidarity with all those who share the world’s resources,” said Fr. McFarland.  “By signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, Holy Cross has made public its dedication to reducing our negative impact on the environment and to making environmental awareness a key component of campus life.”

Holy Cross’ plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2015.  The College has already demonstrated a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions since 2007 with the procurement of a hydro-electric energy source.  In addition, a number of projects to reduce energy consumption have been completed, including installation of more efficient boiler systems, upgrades to several campus steam lines and traps, new lighting and occupancy sensors, replacement of all Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) computer screens, and replacement of some HVAC units.  The College has set a goal of climate neutrality by or before 2040, which is consistent with long range goals set on a global scale.

Other initiatives on campus aimed at making Holy Cross more environmentally sustainable include the elimination of trays from the dining hall, which has significantly reduced food waste, water and energy use; a community garden that produces food for the main dining hall and members of the Worcester community; and the introduction of two Zipcars (including a hybrid vehicle).  In addition, the College’s Integrated Science Complex (consisting of the new Smith Labs, completed in January 2009, and the complete renovation of Haberlin Hall, currently in progress) incorporates high energy efficiency standards in all phases of design of construction, and will seek silver LEED certification.

As a signatory of the ACUPCC, Holy Cross receives support and resources designed to help the school achieve the outlined climate objectives and has access to a supportive network of peer institutions that share insights into best practices.  Six hundred fifty college and university presidents have joined the ACUPCC, a comprehensive climate change initiative through which schools are committing to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses, dedicate research and programs to the development of climate change solutions, and train their students to address the climate crisis upon graduation.

About the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment:
Launched in 2007, the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is a network of 650 signatory schools, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This high-visibility effort to address global warming garners institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate.  The ACUPCC is led by a Steering Committee comprised of more than 20 university and college presidents.  The lead supporting organization of the initiative is the national nonprofit Second Nature, based in Boston.  For more information, visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

Related information:

* Holy Cross’ Carbon Neutral Plan (PDF)
* Sustainability Web site

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 508-793-2419.

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