Rice University, TX Signs American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment

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Rice University, TX, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 10/11/07

Source File: http://cohesion.rice.edu/facilities/sustainability/index.cfm?doc_id=12144


On October 11, 2007, Rice University President David Leebron signed the American College and Univeristy Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging that Rice Univeristy would develop a plan for becoming "carbon neutral" as a campus.

In accordance with ACUPCC, we have developed a greenhouse gas inventory for the university. The most recent greenhouse gas inventory was completed in the spring of 2008 using 2007 data, which updates a similar inventory conducted in 2007 (using 2006 data), and 1999 (using 1998 data). The new inventory was developed in a class entitled "Engineering Solutions for Sustainable Communities" listed as CHBE/ENST 281, co-taught by Prof. Kyriacos Zygourakis, Chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Richard R. Johnson, Director of Sustainability. This inventory will be posted online soon, but is available in excerpt upon request to Richard Johnson.

The ACUPCC requires that signatories initiate two or more of a list of tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rice University has done the following:

  • Through the Administrators' Forum, Rice has convened a campus energy policy committee that is tasked with developing a comprehensive energy policy for the university. This committee consists of faculty and staff from a broad range of campus departments and functions, and is chaired by the Director of Sustainability, Richard R. Johnson. The committee expects to submit its recommendations in the late spring or early summer.
  • Rice University is participating in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition. We have adopted numerous waste reduction strategies on campus, from our robust campus recycling program to promoting inter-office resuable envelopes for campus mail to composting virtually all landscaping waste, including grass, leaves, and wood chips from tree pruning.
  • Rice encourages use of and provides access to public transportation. We operate a fare-free shuttle system, with routes on-campus as well as to the Graduate Student Apartments on Bissonnet, the Rice Village during certain hours on weekends, the Texas Medical Center, and from the Graduate Student Apartments to major shopping areas on the weekend. We also provide free transit passes for students to take the light rail, which has three stations conveniently located adjacent to campus, as well as numerous bus lines with stops along or adjacent to the campus perimeter.
  • Rice has committed to green building through the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Six LEED projects are currently under construction, including Duncan College, which is intended to be certified at the level of LEED-Gold. Rice has adopted a policy of LEED-Silver minimum certification for appropriate on-campus buildings.

The ACUPCC requires that signatories establish an institutional structure to guide development and implementation of the plan. At present, the initial groundwork for the plan is being developed this spring by CHBE/ENST 281 participants. Senior-level stewardship and oversite of Rice's Climate Action Plan will be provided through a steering committee. The membership of this committee will be posted shortly.