Ithaca College has decided to transition its electricity supply exclusively to clean and renewable sources, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and helping move the college toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral.
Since February 2018, 100 percent of the college's electricity has been purchased from Green-e certified national wind farms. The move will offset around 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year - roughly 35 percent of IC's total emissions.
“This is a major step closer to our institution’s stated goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, and an important way that our college community can demonstrate our commitment to a critical issue that affects us locally and globally,” said Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado.
In August 2017, Collado asked the Office of Facilities to convene a Climate Action Plan Reassessment Team, comprising faculty, students and staff, in order to assess the college's progress in meeting the goals established originally in its 2009 Climate Action Plan. Based on research performed by the Office of Energy Management and Sustainability, the reassessment team recommended to President Collado that IC purchase all of its electricity from clean, renewable sources.
"The strong work of the Climate Action Plan Reassessment Team is a continuation of Ithaca College's deep and proud history around environmental stewardship and sustainability," said Collado. "I was thrilled to support their recommendation."
The team continues to research what additional steps could be taken toward carbon neutrality and whether the college's 2050 timeline can be moved forward.
The switch to all renewables is expected to increase electricity costs to the college by just 1.5 percent, or $35,000 per year. IC's current contract for wind-generated electricity runs through December 2020. Tim Carey, associate vice president for facilities, said that future contracts will also be for exclusively renewable sources, barring unforeseen changes to their availability.
The college is a charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and Second Nature's Climate Leadership Network, and has been consistently named in the Princeton Review's list of top "green" colleges.
In 2011, Ithaca College became just the second academic institution in the world to have two newly constructed buildings earn a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council when the Peggy Ryan Williams Center joined the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise in achieving that designation. The Athletics & Events Center and Classroom Link corridor have both earned LEED Gold.