Many climate activists stress the importance of local action to address wide-scale climate disruption. Concerned staff members at Excelsior College believe Higher Education also plays an important role. The “Green Committee” is currently working to reduce the distance learning institution’s carbon footprint through a variety of awareness and action initiatives, including conducting an energy audit.
“It is an integral part of our college’s leadership role in higher education to reduce our long-term energy costs,” said Peter Barnett, a member of the College’s “Green Committee.”
The Excelsior College’s first Carbon / Energy Audit is the first of its kind at the college and will focus on every unit of the institution. The initiative will review the amount of energy Excelsior College expends through its operations of its Albany-based campus, Washington D.C. Center and in the delivery of its offerings to more than 38,000 currently enrolled students worldwide.
The audit inventory includes staff commuting and air travel miles, building and operations electric and fossil fuel use, as well as detailing the college’s waste, paper disposal and landfill contribution. The data will account for a direct and indirect Greenhouse Gas emissions benchmark, providing Excelsior College with what is commonly called today, its “carbon footprint.”
Carbon is the binding agent found in most energy resources. It has been called the “duct tape of life” and its binding with other atmospheric gases has allowed for the delicate trapping of sunlight to protect life on Earth against the extreme cold of space.
However, a significant excessive concentration of carbon has been pumped into the atmosphere over the last few centuries, attributed largely to the burning of fossil fuels. This has resulted in a significant increase of CO2 (Carbon) binding with other atmospheric gases which appear to be disrupting the delicate balance of greenhouse gases.
“The public has begun to see the feared consequence of this global warming with the melting of our polar ice, the rising sea levels, the drying of our life-sustaining coral reefs, and the seeming increase of catastrophic eruptions of extreme weather events,” said Barnett.
After data from the Green Committee’s audit is complete, energy use impact can be determined and next steps. In the meantime, the committee will continue to look for ways to reduce carbon footprints and save energy.