LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The University of Louisville has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 27 percent in seven years, according to a report it submitted Jan. 15 to a national organization working to address climate change.
UofL’s annual carbon emissions dropped 68,000 metric tons during the period—from 247,000 in 2006 to 179,000 in 2013’an amount equal to taking 14,167 cars off the road.
Lower electricity, fuel and water use made up a big part of the savings, the report said.
“The university’s net emissions have begun to fall, even though its size has grown,” said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives. “This shows our efforts to reduce our environmental impact are trending in the right direction, even as we grow.”
A $46.2 million performance contract UofL launched with Siemens Industry Inc. in 2009 to reduce energy use on its campuses has paid big dividends, he added. By 2011-12, the university had trimmed its use of fuel by 48 percent, electricity by 27 percent and water by 31 percent.
Other initiatives such as single-stream recycling, increased use of local food, environmentally-responsible building design, green purchasing policies and making campus more accessible to bicycle riders also have increased energy efficiency and reduced waste, Mog said.
UofL’s Sustainability Council adopted a Climate Action Plan in 2010 aimed at trimming the university’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The school tracks its emissions and reports them every other year to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a consortium of schools that has pledged to take active steps toward climate neutrality.