Join the Race to Zero before 6th November 2023
What is the name of your institution?
Why did you sign up to the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges?
To inspire our students, faculty, staff, and community by engaging them in meaningful, impactful climate solutions.
What have you achieved since you have joined the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges?
We are net zero! We cut our annual gross emissions 6500 MTCO2e from 2008 to 2020, a reduction of more than 25%. Reductions were achieved by developing a 3-MW solar facility that generates nearly 30% of our electricity, replacing nearly all lighting with LED, improving the efficiency of our central energy plant, and retrofitting selected buildings. Actions have yielded over $1million in cumulative cost savings. Continuing emissions are addressed through purchases of certified carbon offsets. Going forward, we are strategizing how to drive down our gross emissions even farther.
How are you leading the transition to net-zero? Consider the Leadership Practices and how you are engaging others to join the Race to Zero for Universities and Colleges or other Race to Zero campaigns.
Dickinson College actively promotes racing to zero by helping lead the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium of 30+ colleges and universities, partnering with local governments to advance climate action, organizing climate sessions at higher education conferences, running workshops for other institutions, and hosting climate events that are open to the public. Our March 2022 Climate Justice Teach-In was attended by over 100 Carlisle community members. In October we will host Science-Based Choices for Climate Action, a 3-day international climate symposium featuring speakers from the IPCC that will be livestreamed and advertised widely in the US and beyond.
Our students and faculty, working with community partners, created GHG inventories for Carlisle Borough and Cumberland County, researched local climate risks and climate justice concerns, presented their work to community stakeholders, and advocated for reducing emissions, building climate resilience, and advancing climate justice. This work contributed to both jurisdictions adopting climate action plans in January 2022. We are now working with our partners to help implement the plans.
Dickinson College’s organic farm will break ground soon on a waste-to-energy system. All food waste from the college dining hall, manure from a neighbouring dairy farm, and food waste from k-12 schools and a local brewery will be fed to an anaerobic digester to produce biogas, which will be used to generate ~300,000 kWh of electricity per year. This will be the first demonstration in the US of the technology at a scale that is appropriate for small dairy operations and will be used as an educational facility for the Pennsylvania farm community.
What challenges have you had?
Major challenges are finding a viable zero-carbon, renewable energy source for our central energy plant, reducing emissions from employee commuting in a community without good public transit, and reengaging our campus in this work after disruptions from COVID.