As an ACUPCC signatory, Temple University submits a biannual progress report on their Climate Action Plan. This report helps the university assess and track progress toward the goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan, and share that progress with stakeholders and the general public. Temple's first progress report was submitted in December 2012. Click to link to the full ACUPCC Progress Report for Temple University.
Highlights from the December 2012 progress report include:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Temple’s base year for measuring greenhouse gas emissions is FY 2006. Between FY 2006 and FY 2012, Temple reduced its gross greenhouse gas emissions by 16%, while increasing its gross square footage by almost 12% and increasing its student body by 18%. Some of the major initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are:
Built Environment - Temple switched to burning 100% natural gas instead of a combination of natural gas and #2 and #6 oil, thus saving over 6,000 MTCO2E each year. It has instituted an energy conservation policy which includes standard temperature ranges for summer and winter and building temperature setbacks during non-peak hours and weekend hours. Energy efficiency projects have been implemented including the installation of Building Automation Systems and replacing old, leaking distribution lines for transporting steam and chilled water. On July 1, 2012, the university launched an Energy Conservation Campaign that set a goal of reducing building energy consumption by 25% in two years.
Transportation – Temple created a “Bike Temple” program to promote a biking culture, which includes promoting education through its Urban Riding Basics Courses, providing amenities (bike racks, showers), and encouraging bike riding through competitions and events. (Temple won first place in the Greater Philadelphia Bicycling Coalition contest in the summer of 2011 and 2012 for most miles posted by a workplace). Other initiatives include: increasing the compressed natural gas vehicles in its fleet from 6 in FY 2006 to 24 in FY 2012; implementing a ride-sharing, web-based program through Zimride; and through a partnership with PhillyCarShare installing two electric car charging stations for Chevy Volts, which are available for rent by the Temple community and its neighbors.
Waste Minimization and Recycling – From 2006 through 2012, Temple reduced its waste by 27% and increased its recycling by 22%. As of FY 2012, Temple boasted a recycling rate of 35%. Programs to reduce waste and increase recycling include: the residence halls’ annual Give and Go Green program where students donate items for donation to charities; an EPA award winning electronics recycling program; recycling glass from artists’ studios; reduction of student paper allocation at the Tech center. Temple also implemented construction waste recycling and has diverted up to 95% of materials from new construction activities from landfills since FY 2009.
Behavior Change- Students initiated a Light Switch decal campaign to remind the Temple community to turn off lights. Schedules for housekeepers in the summer switched from night to day so that buildings could be powered down in the evening to reduce energy consumption. A Sustainability Pledge was initiated to encourage change in daily habits. In the fall of 2012, the university piloted the development of building energy teams, which work with the Office of Sustainability and the university’s Energy Manager to assess data compiled through building energy audits and identify energy conservation strategies for their respective buildings.
Other areas of importance in the Climate Action Plan are academics, research and community outreach. Initiatives in these areas include:
A new interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate in sustainability was launched in the Fall of 2011. A Living and Learning Community in Sustainability in one of the residence halls was established in the Fall of 2011. Faculty are introducing sustainability into the curriculum in non-traditional disciplines: statistics (utilizing climate science data as problem sets for business statistics courses), graphic arts (producing designs on window films to prevent bird collisions on glass windows), and communications (photography class creating images and text to highlight sustainability issues).
Funding is provided for undergraduate and professional students’ research in sustainability and the library awards an annual prize to undergraduates for best research in sustainability and the environment. Faculty research on water issues is prominent, including the following topics: oil spills from the Exxon Valdez in Alaska, oil spills from BP in Gulf of Mexico, Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing, storm water management and acid mine water drainage.
In some classes, faculty are requiring students to perform community based service in sustainability; student groups are active in the neighborhood planting trees, creating gardens and urban farming sites, and participating in trash and recycling cleanups. One of the largest celebrations of Earth Day on the east coast is held annually at Ambler Campus to raise awareness about sustainability issues to 12,000 elementary and high school students in the region.
In summary, Temple is moving forward as a model of sustainability for a large, urban institution, using its resources prudently and strategically to achieve this goal.