As a leading New York academic institution, Barnard has is a challenge partner in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030, a plan to enhance the urban environment of all five New York City boroughs. Barnard has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% within 10 years. To meet this challenge, we are committed to not only reducing the amount of energy the campus consumes, but to reduce waste and encourage environmentally-friendly habits among the Barnard community. Campus Eco-Reps, Faculty and the Student Government Association are fully engaged and are key to the success of this effort. Barnard is currently on track to reach its 2017 goal according to the 2010 University Challenge Report. Visit the PlaNYC website to learn more about the Mayor's Challenge.
Shrinking our carbon footprint
As part of his vision for a greater, greener New York City in the year 2030, Mayor Bloomberg has set 10 key goals for the city's sustainable future. One goal is to help slow or stop climate change by reducing carbon emissions by 30%.
New York is unlike most of the rest of the nation. It has little agriculture or major industry, and many people make use of its extensive mass transit system. Consequently, buildings are the primary source of carbon emissions in New York and are the focus of the city's emission reduction strategy, as outlined in the Energy Conservation Steering Committee’s plan for reducing municipal emissions.
An emissions inventory showed that nearly 70% of carbon emissions come from buildings. Governmental and institutional buildings account for almost 20% of those emissions.
In June 2007, nine institutions, including Barnard College, answered Mayor Bloomberg's challenge to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2017 – the same commitment that the Mayor has made for city operations. Dubbed "30 in 10", this challenge and the challenge partners are leading by example in helping to make a sizable dent in the City's overall emissions.
What does being a challenge partner mean for Barnard?
Being a challenge partner means that Barnard must assess the resources needed and used each year and come up with a plan to reduce wasted resources wherever possible.
To begin the process, Barnard conducted campus-wide energy audits to come up with the college’s “carbon footprint."
In order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (or carbon footprint) by 30% by 2017, we have already put into place several energy-saving initiatives, some of which started long before the challenge. Our key to achieving this goal is to encourage the minimization of consumption outright and to consciously waste as little of our resources as possible.
We are measuring our success by keeping track of our carbon footprint as we make institutional changes. Some changes are difficult to measure in terms of carbon, such as buying local products, that travel fewer miles to market, or using organic building materials, which will not release as many volatile chemicals as they degrade over time.
Since 2005, Barnard has been using ICLEI's Clean Air and Climate Protection Software to analyze energy consumption and air pollutant emissions for all campus buildings owned by the school. From 2005 to 2010, the CO2 emissions, energy usage, and air pollutant emissions per square foot have followed downward trends as shown by Barnard College's 2010 University Challenge Report.