New York University promises 'climate positive' footprint by 2040

The nation's largest private, non-profit institution of higher education says it will have less than zero emissions by 2040.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

The nation's largest private, non-profit institution of higher education says its footprint will not only be zero emissions, but climate positive, by 2040.

New York University says it will take 30 years to become climate positive, which means that its total emissions will be less than zero.

NYU says it plans to achieve this feat through cleaner energy production, carbon emission offsets and a change in energy usage habits.

That's fairly remarkable, considering that the university has more than 55,000 students, staff and faculty.

Here's a rundown of what NYU's doing to go green:

  • NYU cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20.4 percent since 2006.
  • It has calculated that it emits 171,000 metric tons of carbon equivalent per year.
  • The largest pollution reduction will come from NYU's $120 million invesment in a new cogeneration plant, which begins service in 2010 and is expected to cut more than 23 percent of the university's emissions.
  • More than 96.5 percent of the university's greenhouse emissions come from heating, cooling and powering buildings.
  • Miscellaneous energy-saving tactics include a competition among residence halls to cut energy usage, and the installation of motion sensors to control lighting. Total savings: $2 million per year.

There is a big challenge facing the university, however: by 2017, NYU expects to add 2 million square feet to its Washington Square campus, increasing emissions by 28,900 metric tons of carbon.

One tool to counteract that figure: the university plans to convert all newly-acquired and renovated buildings to LEED silver certification standards.

[via Washington Square News]

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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