As an ACUPCC signatory, Temple University submits a biennial 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.
Highlights from the December 2014 progress report include:
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Temple’s base year for measuring greenhouse gas emissions is FY 2006. Between FY 2006 and FY 2014, Temple reduced its gross greenhouse gas emissions by 6%, while increasing its gross square footage by 27% and increasing its student body by 24%. Some of the major initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include:
Built Environment - While located on a densely developed urban site, Temple is in a period of expansion, adding new buildings and square footage on its main campus. With roughly 76% of its greenhouse gas emissions coming from its built environment, Temple adopted a greenhouse gas reduction strategy of completing energy efficiency projects in existing buildings, greening new construction and diversifying its energy portfolio. Between FY 2012 and FY 2014, the university completed a Utility Master Plan, which identified energy conservation strategies and major energy efficiency projects. The university also implemented EnergyCap, an energy management software that facilitates transparency and data sharing related to the university’s energy consumption. Energy retrofit projects have also been completed, including the installation of lighting replacements, the utilization of LED fixtures and the replacement of windows in the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts. In 2013, Temple received LEED certification for its commercial interior fit out of the 8th and 9th floors of the new medical school building (MERB). In 2014, Temple’s Architecture building earned LEED-BD+C Silver. Temple is also awaiting USGBC review of the following projects: Morgan Residence Hall, the Montgomery Parking Garage and the Science Education and Research Center. The university expanded its on-site renewable energy generation via the addition of a 4,500 square foot, 63-kilowatt solar array on the Edberg Olson football training facility, five Solar Power-Dock picnic tables that provide self sustaining lighting and electricity, and 12 EcoMills cardio machines that produce energy from an individual’s workout. In addition to on-site renewable energy, Temple also expanded its purchase of renewable energy credits, buying 21,086,000 kWh between FY 2012-2014. Building off the emissions reduction associated with the use of natural gas on the Main Campus, Temple expanded the use of natural gas to Ambler campus, which previously relied solely on fuel oil for heat.
Transportation – Temple expanded its Bike Temple program between FY 2012 and FY 2014 by 1) launching a new website, 2) offering both urban riding basics and fix a flat courses, 3) increasing the number of bike racks on campus, 4) adding bike racks to all campus shuttles, 5) organizing social bike rides with mentors for new cyclists, and 6) partnering with Campus Safety to make biking safer on campus. Additionally, Bike Temple created a bike surplus program that refurbishes abandoned bikes and makes them available for discounted prices to students. Other initiatives include: the addition of an electric vehicle in the university’s fleet and expanding the car sharing partnership with Enterprise Car Sharing and Zip Car. The university also updated its transportation survey in 2013.
Waste Minimization and Recycling – From FY 2006 through FY 2014, Temple reduced its waste by 29% and increased its recycling by 74%. As of FY 2014, Temple boasted a recycling rate of 44%, including special materials. New programs to reduce waste and increase recycling include: the expansion of recycling to include mixed plastics #1-7, the addition of post-consumer composting in the Student Center food-court and the Liacouras Center, the creation of the Temple Office Supply Swap room, and formalizing the university’s construction waste recycling targets in its technical specification sheets for renovations and new construction. Over the past two years, Temple has expanded its ability to host zero-waste events, including conferences and sporting matches. In FY 2014, Temple placed first in RecycleMania’s Game Day Challenge organics collection. The university continues to add new water bottle refilling stations on campus, operate its computer recycling center, collect donations at the end of the year residence hall clean out, and donate surplus equipment and furniture.
Behavior Change - In support of the university’s energy conservation campaign, the Office of Sustainability launched an Energy Conservation Pledge through which 1,869 students, staff and faculty committed to reducing their energy consumption both on and off campus. Other behavior change initiatives focused on energy conservation included a CFL light bulb give away, the development of energy teams in each building, and hosting an energy conservation basketball game. Temple also educated the campus community on the expanded recycling program, including trainings, social media campaigns, “Caught Green Handed” programming and class presentations. The Green Council continued its successful “Potlucks with a Purpose” series, which provide a platform for discussing sustainability issues while indulging in homemade vegan food.
Other areas of importance in the Climate Action Plan are academics, research and community outreach.
Temple continues to utilize its campus sustainability efforts as a learning tool for courses across multiple disciplines on campus. Campus project-based learning opportunities include graphic arts (producing poster designs for Temple’s Energy Conservation campaign), business ethics (development of curriculum pieces on composting and solar), environmental studies (program development for a sustainable campus landscape design, recycling outreach and the development of a green building policy), marketing (developing and implementing a marketing plan for a sustainability symposium and a greening athletics program), advertising (conducting market research on students’ perception of the Office of Sustainability on campus), and food systems (exploring the feasibility of creating a sustainable, cooperatively run café on campus). Faculty members are also connecting to community partners to educate students about sustainability. For example, the Facilities Management Studio assessed a closed Philadelphia School site and proposed alternative uses for repurposing the site. The Sustainability Living and Learning Community expanded to include an extended welcome week program that focused on sustainability and a seminar course that focused on change management and the development of leadership skills.
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 stormwater management issues is prominent, including research on restoration projects in the five Philadelphia region watersheds, the creation of stormwater management plans for three urban watersheds and the development of evaluation mechanisms for stormwater management controls and practices in the urban environment. There are also a number of research centers and labs concentrating on sustainability issues.
In some classes, faculty members 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 7,000 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.