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Rolling Out the Green Carpet for the Climate Action Plan
September 15, 2009, Volume 56, No. 03

Tomorrow, on College Green, Penn will make public its Climate Action Plan at a Kick-off event from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., with remarks by President Amy Gutmann at noon. The University community is invited to attend the festival to learn about Penn’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and individuals’ roles in enhancing its sustainability practices. There will be giveaways, demonstrations, and music. The rain location is Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall.

The Climate Action Plan is a long-range plan to reduce Penn’s carbon footprint and enhance overall sustainability. The writing of this plan was spurred by President Gutmann signing the Presidential Climate Commitment pledge of the American Association of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) in 2007, which bound Penn to submit its long-range plan to assess and reduce its carbon footprint by September 15, 2009.

Penn was among the first of the now 600+ colleges and universities to sign this pledge, and the first of the Ivy-plus institutions (Almanac February 13, 2007).

Penn’s plan was written by an ad-hoc committee, the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC), (Almanac January 29, 2008) a committee formed of faculty, students and staff and led by Anne Papageorge, vice president of Facilities and Real Estate Services. This group worked for two and a half years to complete the plan.

Promoting this plan is The Green Campus Partnership, a mix of faculty, students and staff who are building and maintaining a culture that:  integrates sustainability practices into the operational and academic planning of the university; generates participation among the students, staff and faculty and vendors doing business with Penn. See www.upenn.edu/sustainability/

The goals and metrics of the Climate Action Plan are as follows:

Conserve Energy: 5% Reduction of energy across campus by 2010 and a 17% reduction by 2014.

Minimize Waste: 20% increase in recycling across campus by 2014 (so that 40% of waste is recycled) and install at least one recycling bin on every floor of every building on campus.

Reduce Auto Emissions: Motivate over half the University population to walk, bike, carpool and take public transit as commuting options. 

Design Green: Build new LEED certified buildings and landscapes as part of the 30-year Penn Connects campus plan, and retrofitting and re-commissioning existing buildings.

• Learn Sustainability: Motivate participation in the courses, seminars and programs in Penn’s “green” courses and professional development.

Almanac - September 15, 2009, Volume 56, No. 03