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WSU's Climate Action Plan

Weber State University completed its first Climate Action Plan in 2009 with the goal to be carbon neutral by the year 2050. With over a decade of experience and results reducing greenhouse gas emissions, WSU is confident that carbon neutrality can be achieved sooner.

Our new vision for Weber State University is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. This goal includes achieving carbon neutrality for all of WSU’s scope 1 emissions, scope 2 emissions, and the following scope 3 emissions: student and employee commuting, waste, and business travel. The detailed strategy to achieve this goal can be found in the updated Climate Action plan found here. This plan also updates WSU’s intermediate emissions reduction targets with goals to reduce emissions from the 2007 baseline by 51% by 2025, 64% by 2030, and 73% by 2035. Students, faculty, and staff will be engaged in the efforts to achieve these goals.

WSU's 5-Point Strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 includes the following steps:

Efficiency First: 

Minimizing energy consumption in buildings is the first step to becoming capable of carbon neutrality. The standard WSU building has high insulation requirements, efficient windows, LED lighting, with water cooled, ground sourced variable refrigerant flow (VRF) for HVAC and energy recovery ventilation. Currently 70% of campus is LED and 37% is VRF.

Electrify Everything: 

Elimination of fossil fuels is the biggest challenge on the path to carbon neutrality. WSU is electrifying all end uses of energy on its campus, including traditionally fossil fuel based processes such as heating and transportation. When done properly, these systems result in lower operational costs, lower maintenance costs, greater efficiency, and improved occupant comfort. Electrification eliminates the need for direct fossil fuel uses and allows buildings to be carbon neutral capable.

Source Renewably:

Once a building is electrified and carbon neutral capable, becoming carbon neutral is a question of the sourcing of electricity. For WSU, two sources of renewable energy complete the puzzle. Groundsource fields will eventually supply all of the campus’s required energy for heating and cooling. Solar energy will generate as much renewable power on site as possible, and any remaining electricity will be sourced through utility wind and solar programs.

Reinvest Savings: 

WSU utilizes a number of funding sources including state capital improvement funds, internal capital development funds, state and federal grants, utility rebates, and WSU’s revolving green fund. This green fund is $5 million of the university’s cash management fund that is set aside for energy projects. The university effectively borrows from itself, runs the account into a deficit, then pays off the debt with annual energy savings and an additional 3% interest payment.

Carbon Offsets: 

WSU recognizes that carbon offsets must be purchased in order to reach carbon nuetrality, but it is a last resort solution.

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