January 18, 2010
University has unveiled a
plan that will help it reduce carbon emissions with the hopes of becoming
carbon-neutral by the year 2037.
The plan was created over two years after the university signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment in October 2007. The plan was submitted to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education on January 15.
"When we signed the Climate Commitment, we made a pledge to reduce Grand Valley's carbon footprint by as much as possible as quickly as possible," said Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas. "This plan offers a map for the university to reach carbon neutrality by setting interim targets that we will hold ourselves accountable for reaching."
The plan has three phases. The first phase, which runs from 2010-20, focuses on conservation and reduction. The second, spanning 2020-2030 will shift the focus to bringing more renewable energy to campus, while a third phase from 2030-2050 will tap into efficiencies created through innovation — technologies we may not even know about yet.
Grand Valley is increasingly known as a national leader in sustainability. Peterson's "Green Jobs for a New Economy: The Career Guide to Emerging Opportunities" listed Grand Valley among the "top 50 four-year schools with great green programs." Grand Valley offers some 200 individual sustainability-themed courses, as well as natural resource management, environmental studies, earth and environmental theme, liberal studies sustainability major, and new courses like green chemistry. Grand Valley was one of the top 25 cutting-edge green and environmentally responsible colleges in the United States as listed in the 2009 Kaplan College Guide. It also received the highest "green" rating among Michigan’s colleges and universities, according to an annual report by the Princeton Review.
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Mission: To transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, in a way that improves the quality of life in West Michigan.