The Ohio State University today joined the newly launched University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, an alliance of 13 leading North American research universities that will create a collaborative model to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.
In launching UC3, an initial group of universities from the United States, Canada and Mexico has committed to mobilize their resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and states. All UC3 members have pledged to reduce their institutional carbon footprints, with commitments ranging from making more climate-friendly investments to becoming operationally carbon neutral.
In 2015, Ohio State established strategic sustainability goals to guide the university into the future in its core areas of collaborative teaching, pioneering research, comprehensive outreach and innovative operations. Specific to Ohio State’s carbon footprint is a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and another to reduce total campus building energy consumption by 25 percent by 2025.
In pursuit of its carbon-neutrality goal, the university has reduced its emissions by 4.8 percent since 2015, despite increasing student enrollment of nearly 2 percent during the same time frame. In addition to energy efficiency measures implemented across the university, renewable wind energy accounts for 20 percent of the university’s total purchased electricity.
The Ohio State University broke ground today on a new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling station – the first of its kind for an Ohio university.
The station will serve the university’s Department of Transportation and Traffic Management, as well as the City of Columbus, and may be utilized by additional university, state agency and central Ohio municipalities.
Ohio State’s Campus Area Bus Service (CABS) will fuel a portion of its fleet at the $3 million CNG station with long-term plans to transition all CABS buses and other fleet vehicles to alternative fuel models. The university currently operates four CNG buses and will add six more by October 2017.
The CNG fueling station highlights the university’s commitment to providing sustainable transportation solutions for its campus community. The addition of a fueling station comes one year after Ohio State welcomed a university bike share system to its Columbus campus. Construction will begin immediately with the station expected to be operational by early 2017.
The City of Columbus will also have the ability to fuel fleet vehicles at the university’s station.
The initiative aligns with Ohio State’s continued efforts to advance sustainability across campus and throughout the community, including strategic sustainability goals developed by faculty, staff and students to enhance and expand policies, operations and practices.
The Ohio State University achieved a Gold rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). In 2012, Ohio State elected to participate in the STARS program for the first time, earning a Silver rating for the Columbus campus. Ohio State’s regional campuses followed suit by achieving Silver ratings in 2013.
The university received high marks by achieving a perfect score in campus engagement and sustainability planning and governance, as well as for its innovation efforts. This aligns with Ohio State’s continued efforts to advance sustainability across campus and throughout the community, including strategic sustainability goals developed by faculty, staff and students that are designed to enhance and expand policies, operations and practices.
Ohio State’s 2016 Gold rating places the university among the top tier of national and international colleges and universities, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
STARS is a framework developed to measure sustainability performance in academics, planning and administration, outreach and engagement, innovation and operations. Today, more than 760 national and international institutions use the STARS reporting tool, and more than 275 currently have a STARS rating.