SOU Climate Action
We will take positive action around each of our commitments. We will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on campus through a combination of behavior and technology, combined with creativity and innovation. We will leverage funding and grants targeted at clean energy, electrifying our campus fleet and energy efficiency in buildings to support us in a just transition to a net-zero emissions campus. We will also utilize partnerships to have a positive impact in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Potential actions can be found below and the details of implementation will continue to develop. Some actions will overlap and contribute to multiple commitments. This is not an exhaustive list and we encourage creativity, innovation and ideas to not only achieve net zero emissions, but also take us beyond our current commitments.
- Achieve 100% renewable electricity generation on campus by 2035
Delivering on our solar ambitions will transform our campus and we are building a strategy to develop solar on roof space and parking lots. On-campus solar generation alongside energy efficiency measures will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as associated energy costs. We will leverage grants and funding to invest in solar installations on campus.
- Achieve 100% electric campus fleet by 2030
We will continue to make the transition to a 100% electric campus fleet for all SOU departments using vehicles. We will develop a timeline for all departments looking at vehicle needs and the availability of equivalent technology of electric vehicles. This will be carried out in tandem with building the charging infrastructure for the campus fleet.
- Improve the energy efficiency by 25% within 10 years (base year 2022)
We will increase energy efficiency and implement energy conservation measures across the campus through a combination of behavior and technology. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and implementing energy conservation measures saves money, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and demonstrates environmental leadership to the public. We will explore the use of higher standards on renovation and building projects. Efficiency and conservation projects are the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions. Each kilowatt saved is one that doesn’t need to be purchased or generated. Conservation projects are relatively low in cost and provide lasting educational and behavioral benefits.Energy efficiency and conservation measures could include:
- Technology and efficiency improvements, e.g., HVAC, lighting
- Occupancy sensors for lighting
- Power management of equipment and lighting
- Space, use and hours management of buildings on campus
- Building energy and waste management audits
- Office certifications
- Monitoring and dashboard of energy use per building
- Equipment performance, e.g., SOU procurement policy
- Reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 50% by 2033 (base year 2018)
Renewable energy generation combined with energy efficiency and energy conservation measures and electrifying the campus fleet will reduce both scope 1 and scope 2 emissions. Actions will be carried out to achieve these other commitments and we will measure and monitor progress toward this milestone. We are also committed to exploring a pathway to move away from natural gas.
This Commitment is aligned with the Department of Energy Better Climate Challenge, where we have publicly pledged to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% in 10 years from a 2018 base year.
- Reduce waste and increase diversion from landfill to 70% by 2030.
We are working to reduce waste and increase our diversion from landfill. We will do this through increased education and awareness, and participation in reduce, reuse and recycle initiatives on campus. We will aso look to reduce waste further and identify more materials to divert from landfill, e.g., food waste, and have initiated pre-consumer composting of food waste. More information about SOU’s waste and material management program can be found here.
- Increase number of EV charging stations on campus
We will transform the parking infrastructure on campus as part of electrification of the campus by increasing the number of charging points as well as installing the capability to increase further. This will enable the SOU community to have access to electric vehicle charging. A Committee, SPARC (Solar Power and Rechargeable Cars) with representation from staff, students and faculty has been established to oversee the electrification of our campus for both charging infrastructure and links to solar.
- Implement SOU’s Sustainability and Equity in Purchasing Policy
We will monitor the implementation of our Sustainability and Equity in Purchasing Policy. This policy takes into account the energy use of equipment operation the waste at the end of its life and whether the equipment can be recycled or repaired rather than disposed of to landfill.
- Improve commute/transport-related greenhouse gas emissions for staff, student and faculty
We will run campaigns and initiatives to promote more sustainable travel between home and campus for the SOU community. This will include car pooling, hybrid working, bus use and active travel. We incentives more sustainable transport, e.g., discounted bus passes and reduced-cost parking permits for car pooling, and will continue to build on these incentives. Staff and faculty currently receive free bus passes and students receive a 90% discount. We will continue to carry out our travel survey to both monitor progress and identify further opportunities to reduce our commuting-related greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improve business travel-related greenhouse gas emissions
We will continue to administer the Air Travel Fund fee to reinvest in sustainability initiatives on campus and encourage video conferencing. We will explore other measures to reduce our business travel-related greenhouse gas emissions.
- Commit to a pathway to move away from natural gas
We upgraded our boiler plant in 2019 to more efficient boilers and chillers to heat and cool the campus. However, in the long term, we seek to move away from natural gas. We will initiate this by exploring the feasibility and timeline of moving away from natural gas.