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Appalachian joins national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment

signature_t.jpgBOONE—Appalachian State University has joined more than 500 universities, colleges and community colleges in pledging to implement a comprehensive plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050.

Kenneth Peacock.jpg Appalachian State University is committed to protecting and preserving the environment, said Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock as he signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. More than 500 institutions of higher education have pledged to reduce their campus’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Pictured with Peacock are, left, Quint David, Michael O’Connor, Jeff Tiller, Ged Moody and Crystal Simmons, all members of the university’s Sustainability Council. (Photo by university photographer Marie Freeman)

Appalcart_t2.jpg Some 4,000 to 6,000 Appalachian State University students ride AppalCart each day. Encouraging the use of public transportation is one of the benchmarks outlined in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which was signed by Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock on Earth Day. Some 500 presidents and chancellors from universities, colleges and community colleges across the nation have pledged to implement measures that will reduce their campus’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by mid-century. (Photo by university photographer Marie Freeman)

Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock formalized the goal by signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment on Earth Day April 22.

The commitment outlines particular strategies universities must meet to achieve climate neutrality.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate day to sign this agreement than on Earth Day,” Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock said. “It took a while to get to this point, but Appalachian has been very careful to make sure that we can fulfill the requirements that are in the document.”

Peacock thanked the undergraduate and graduate student leadership, and leadership from faculty and staff who analyzed the agreement and are developing the university’s response to it.

“We are making the commitment to take what we have and make it even better,” he said. “Here is something that is good for our nation and good for our university. What better thing for us to do on Earth Day than to indicate our commitment as an institution to protect and preserve our environment.”

Appalachian already has implemented three of the seven benchmarks outlined in the commitment that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Lee F. Ball, a research analyst in Appalachian’s Energy Center and a member of the university’s Sustainability Council.

“It’s extremely gratifying to know that Appalachian is making progress to achieve these goals,” Ball said.

Appalachian has adopted an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy that requires the purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist.

Through AppalCart, the university encourages the use of and provides access to public transportation for faculty, staff, students and visitors. In addition, much of the AppalCart fleet operates on biodiesel.

The university also is participating in the waste minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and has adopted more than the required measures to reduce waste.

The university recycled 17 percent of its total waste stream in 2006-07, including 450,000 pounds of paper goods ranging from cardboard and newsprint, to white and colored paper, books and magazines.

In addition, the university’s Sustainability Council chartered April 11 is responsible for crafting the university’s action plan, inventorying existing programs and publicly issuing periodic progress reports regarding the university’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The council is comprised of faculty, staff and student representatives.