Drexel Joins American College and University Climate Commitment
January 12, 2011
Drexel University President John A. Fry signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment validating Drexel’s pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint, promote research and educational efforts and equip the University to contribute in stabilizing the earth’s climate. In one year alone, Drexel will decrease its carbon footprint from 34,990 metric tons in 2010 to 7,880 metric tons in 2011 by using 100 percent green power.
“We are proud to do our part for the environment,” said Fry. “Our students, faculty, professional staff and community value the commitment we have made to establish Drexel as a leader in promoting green initiatives in pursuit of climate neutrality. Signing the climate commitment validates our determination to continue enhancing our sustainable efforts.”
Drexel recently announced an agreement with Community Energy, Inc. to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates equal to 100 percent of its energy use, making Drexel one of the top purchasers of wind energy in the nation. This Renewable Energy Certificate purchase will ensure that 84,268 megawatt hours of electricity will be matched annually with wind energy entering the electricity grid in the United States.
Launched in 2008, the University’s Green Initiative covers all aspects of operations, buildings, academic initiatives and student life, and is responsible for strategic planning to further sustainable practices and policies. Environmentally conscious students from Drexel’s Sierra Club were instrumental in launching the University’s green efforts.
“This is a momentous occasion for the University community, and we are looking forward to seeing Drexel's action plan for achieving climate neutrality and incorporating sustainability into the curriculum,” said Kelsey Gibbons of the Drexel Sierra Club’s Executive Board. “By signing the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Drexel is firmly establishing itself as a forerunner in climate stewardship, and we are confident that this bold leadership will allow the University to serve as a model for environmental excellence at the national level.
As part of the Drexel Green Initiative, the University was recognized by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, for becoming the first institution in the country to deploy Viridity Energy’s VPower System™, an energy monitoring system at its University City Main Campus.
Drexel’s new buildings are constructed according to green standards. The Constantine N. Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, scheduled for completion in 2011, will become the first academic building in the country to include a Bio Wall or living biofilter for energy efficiency and improved air quality. The design is environmentally sensitive and will become Drexel's first Silver LEED certified building from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Millennium Hall, a resident hall for students that opened a little more than a year ago, was constructed with a green roof to insulate the building, manage storm water and reduce the heat island effect. Drexel’s new Recreation Center was also designed to eliminate the use of electric lights during the day in 87 percent of interior occupied space. A rainwater reuse system manages storm water and reduces the amount of potable water used for flushing toilets.
Recognizing the importance of promoting research and educational efforts to equip society to stabilize the earth’s climate, Drexel’s faculty have begun exploring new ways to integrate sustainability into the curriculum.
Current academic sustainable initiatives at Drexel include:
• The Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative: a new approach to studying urban systems focusing on the engineering of cities, policy development, and the creation of environmentally sustainable urban habitats that function for people and society.
• The Drexel Smart House: a student-led, multidisciplinary project to construct an urban home to serve as a “living laboratory” for exploring cutting edge design and technology.
• The Ecology, Earth and Environmental Science Research Group: In association with the University’s Department of Biology, this diverse group of internationally renowned investigators research extends from mechanisms of ecological processes to applied conservation work and paleontology.
• Drexel’s Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering: Comprised of a highly diverse group of students, staff and faculty who conduct theoretical, laboratory and field investigations, and are engaged in practice and research to provide better and more sustainable infrastructure for society.
Additional sustainability efforts include using biodiesel fuel for shuttle buses, purchasing hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, a free bike share program, water consumption reduction across campus, implementing a multitude of energy-saving controls and lighting efficiency measures, using ice thermal energy for cooling and wide-ranging recycling efforts.
For more information on Drexel’s Green Initiative, visit http://www.drexel.edu/green.
News media contact:
Niki Gianakaris, director, Drexel News Bureau
215-895-6741, 215-778-7752 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org