To meet terms of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, the UMD Sustainability Committee led the creation of an Energy Action Plan. Check out our What You Can Do page for tips on how to help us become a carbon neutral campus.
UMD aims to achieve a 25% reduction in emissions by 2020, while working towards a carbon neutrality target date of 2050. The campus will focus first on energy efficiency upgrades and energy conservation strategies in buildings, as buildings represent over 90 percent of campus greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation changes and encouraging energy-saving campus commuting behaviors will also be a priority. Major changes in energy purchasing and fuel sources will follow, and carbon offsets will need to be purchased to completely account for all greenhouse gas emission sources from campus operations.
Faculty expertise, academic research, and student involvement will be instrumental in implementing the UMD Energy Action Plan. The largest lever of influence that the UMD campus has is educating future generations of problem-solvers. In addition, as part of a land grant university, the University of Minnesota is dedicated to the community it serves. Action steps include: identifying and cataloging courses with a sustainability focus, initiating campus conversations on climate change (through seminar series), and continuing to focus also on co-curricular and everyday campus experiences that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability at UMD.
Research is a core value and strength of the UMD campus. Partnering to engage in research issues around energy, sustainability, and climate change is a major strategy that UMD will employ. Examples of research area strengths at UMD include the Natural Resources Research Institute, The Center for Sustainable Community Development, The Center for Economic Development, and the Large Lakes Observatory.
To expand community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate goals, UMD will increase connections to existing resources to better communicate research results related to energy and water from Minnesota Sea Grant, the Natural Resources Research Institute, and the Center for Economic Development, both to the campus and community. In addition, UMD will continue to support partnerships between the university and community through grants and support of the Northeast Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and the State of Minnesota's Clean Energy Research Teams.