Allegheny Is One of Only 10 Schools To Receive Climate Leadership Awards

May 3, 2012 – Allegheny College is one of only 10 academic institutions in the nation to be honored by Second Nature and the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in the Third Annual Climate Leadership Awards.

The awards, which will be presented at the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. on June 21 and 22, recognize ACUPCC signatory schools that demonstrate unparalleled campus innovation and climate leadership that helps transition society to a clean, just and sustainable future.

“These institutions are leading the way for the academic community by demonstrating how sustainable practices can be put into place on campus that have a long-term impact on creating a sustainable society for the benefit of all,” said Anthony D. Cortese, president of Second Nature. “They have all shown tremendous creativity and an unrelenting commitment to integrate sustainable practices into their campuses and society as a whole.”

Second Nature is the lead supporting organization of the ACUPCC, an agreement between nearly 700 colleges and universities to promote sustainability through teaching and action.

Allegheny, which has pledged to become climate neutral by 2020, has a long-standing commitment to promoting sustainability practices and solutions. Its commitment began in 1972 with the establishment of one of the first environmental science departments in the country and accelerated in recent years when the college became a signatory of the ACUPCC in 2007.

“Everyone at Allegheny has been involved in building a dynamic culture of responsibility in terms of sustainability,” said the college’s sustainability coordinator, Kelly Boulton. “The entire campus community—but especially our students—take an active role in an annual energy challenge to bring down energy consumption. Our students enjoy coming up with new and creative ways to minimize waste. Research on energy alternatives such as switchgrass and biodiesel is being conducted in our classes and outdoor labs.

“And you have only to walk around campus to see sustainability in action through composting facilities, organic turf management, campus gardens, solar panels and more. Students are involved in all aspects of sustainability on campus—even contributing to the design of sustainable features in buildings and renovations.”

In recent years, the college has achieved average reductions of about 25 percent in natural gas and electricity consumption in college buildings with envelope, lighting and boiler retrofits; the installation of three geo-exchange heating and cooling systems; the introduction of rain gardens, a green roof and porous parking for natural storm water management; and two LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified residence halls along with a current renovation that also seeks LEED certification.

Allegheny has made a commitment to purchase electricity that is 100 percent wind-generated, which reduces Allegheny’s carbon footprint by 52 percent, and has invested over $2 million in energy retrofits since 2008, with an additional $3.5 million earmarked for efficiency projects through 2020.