Brown University has announced an aggressive plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative is part of a broader plan to lessen the environmental impact of the University’s physical plant and promote environmental awareness on campus.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University has announced a comprehensive plan that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing facilities to 42 percent below 2007 levels by 2020. In addition, effective immediately, Brown will implement a requirement that emissions will be reduced by up to 50 percent for all newly constructed and acquired facilities. The emissions reductions are part of a broader initiative aimed at lessening the impact of the University’s physical plant on the environment, as well as contributing to global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“I am pleased that Brown is taking a leadership role by significantly cutting our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons. “Brown is committed to doing our part to create a more sustainable environment. It is important to lead by example, taking action to preserve and protect the planet.”

Specifically, the plan calls for the following:

  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 42 percent below 2007 levels (equivalent to 15 percent below 1990 levels) for existing buildings. Interim goals will be set as soon as possible and monitored annually;
  • limit greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption for all newly constructed facilities to between 25 percent and 50 percent below the standard required by state code. New construction will, at a minimum, meet a silver standard in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), furthering sustainability goals;
  • a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for all newly acquired facilities by a minimum of 15 percent and as much as 30 percent.

The announcement comes on the heels of the recommendation of the University’s Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC). Composed of students, faculty and staff, EEAC spent the past year researching options and strategies to reduce Brown’s carbon emissions. “We took a hard look at our energy consumption and the environmental impact of our facilities and came up with a series of substantive, yet achievable goals,” said Chris Powell, member of EEAC and director of sustainable energy and environmental initiatives. “By reducing the carbon footprint of our campus, Brown can make a measurable contribution to the effort that is underway to reduce the man-made influences to global warming on an international scale.”

The emission reductions will be achieved by a mix of energy efficiency improvements, conservation and other measures. These include switching the fuel that powers the central heat plant to cleaner natural gas when available, implementing new lighting technologies, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, increased co-generation of electricity, and using renewable energy sources when appropriate. Some of these measures are already underway. A full description of the carbon emission reduction strategies can be viewed on the Facilities Management Web site.

Reducing the environmental footprint of Brown’s facilities is in keeping with the University’s broader goals of contributing to the reduction of global warming as demonstrated by encouraging research and innovation, behavioral changes like recycling and transportation and green building initiatives.

More information can also be found at the University’s Environmental Change Initiative Web site.