American University Pledges to be Carbon Neutral by 2020
Target date is one of the most ambitious plans in the nation for doctorate-granting institutions
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) May 14, 2010 -- American University plans to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions
and become a carbon-neutral campus by 2020.
American University, Northern Arizona State University, Antioch University, and the University of Montana are
the only doctorate-granting universities with aggressive 2020 carbon neutrality dates. American University’s plan
is one of the most ambitious plans in the nation for a large, urban campus without an engineering or agriculture
school. AU is the first university in Washington, D.C. to announce a carbon-neutrality plan.
To achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, American University plans to employ four strategies:
* Reduce consumption
* Produce renewable energy
* Buy green power
* Buy/develop carbon offsets
American University’s plan, released today, comes two years after President Neil Kerwin signed the American
College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) pledging that AU would work to achieve
carbon neutrality. Of the 685 signers, 200 have submitted plans thus far. Many plans call for carbon neutrality by
2025, 2040, or 2050.
“We have used the geographical limitations of our urban 84-acre campus in the nation’s capital to our advantage
to more aggressively pursue renewable energy and carbon offsets,” said Chris O’Brien, director of sustainability.
“Of the few plans that call for earlier carbon neutral dates, American University’s size, location, and academic
focus make our active pursuit of sustainability distinctive.”
A recent purchase of wind-generated renewable energy credits equivalent to 100 percent of the university’s
annual electricity usage has already helped the university progress more than halfway towards its
The ACUPCC requires signatories to implement at least two of seven recommended tangible actions within two