The Climate Change & Energy category focuses on initiatives to improve energy efficiency and conservation, as well as on efforts to obtain energy from renewable resources. This may include conservation campaigns that encourage college community members to monitor their energy consumption; retrofits of appliances or power plants to make use of energy-efficient technology; conducting a carbon emissions inventory and committing to emissions reduction goals (such as signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment); and making use of renewable energy, either through direct purchases of renewable energy credits or through on-site installation of clean energy resources. Points are also given to colleges that have made renewable energy investments with the potential to benefit the community beyond campus, such as public/private partnerships for off-campus development of renewable energy projects.
- Over half the schools have made a carbon reduction commitment. Increased attention to climate change is reflected in an impressive 52 percent of schools that have made a commitment to carbon reduction. Forty-two percent of all schools have signed the Presidents Climate Commitment, while 20 percent made carbon reduction commitments in addition to, or instead of, the Presidents Climate Commitment.
- Over two in five schools have conducted a carbon emissions inventory. A significant number of schools (41 percent) have conducted an inventory of their carbon emissions.
- Almost one third of schools purchase renewable energy. Twenty-nine percent of schools either purchase renewable energy directly from their utility providers or buy renewable energy credits equivalent to a percentage of their campus energy use.
- Over one third of schools produce renewable energy on campus. Facilities for producing solar, wind, bioenergy, or geothermal exist at 37 percent of schools.
- The average grade for the Climate Change & Energy category was “C.” For a summary of grade distribution for this category, please refer to the chart on the right.
Over half the schools have made a carbon reduction commitment.