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Tangible Actions & Early Successes

Taking Immediate Action

You can begin implementing actions before your Climate Action Plan is completed. There are a number of tangible actions that can be taken early to get some successes under your belt and action moving forward. Not all of these are small, but most offer either rapid Return on Investment (financially, socially, physically – for infrastructure etc), and/or ‘ease’ of buy-in and engagement, and clear metrics for success. Second Nature has put together a list and some associated resources to help you uncover some good ideas for your campus.

Some of these ideas focus on:

  • Changes to policy (e.g. institute an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such a rating exists),
  • Reaching specific goals (e.g. within one year begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of your institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources)
  • Communications and engagement (e.g. begin a campaign to encourage increased use of public transportation by faculty and students).

You can track progress on these goals and include a description as part of the annual evaluation of progress, but schools are not required to do any of these, nor report on them.

Please send any additional ideas for tangible actions to: innovation@secondnature.org.

Example Tangible Actions

  • Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be certified under the LEED Building Design + Construction (LEED BD+C), or equivalent rating system, and achieve at least 3 additional points (beyond the required prerequisites) in the energy and climate category.
  • Establish a program to evaluate, measure and verify progress using LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M).
  • Establish a policy of purchasing offsets for all greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel.
  • Institute an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such a rating exists.
  • Begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of your institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.
  • Commit to formally examining endowment investment decisions that enhance sustainability.
  • Within one year, begin purchasing or producing at least 15% of your institution’s electricity consumption from renewable sources.
  • Provide one or more ‘micro-funding’ streams to support student-run projects to reduce greenhouse gases and/or enhance resilience.
  • Institute a sustainable living module in on-campus residence orientation to ensure incoming students are familiar with campus policies on transportation, waste reduction, energy and water conservation, etc.
  • Establish community-campus energy and/or resilience lab, providing opportunities for students and community members to learn in an innovative ‘test-bed’ environment.
  • Establish a goal to purchase a set percentage of campus food from local sources.
  • Pledge to providing a community connection resource for faculty and students to share where they intersect with community (research projects, community service, consulting, committees, public lectures etc), and to make this resource public. This allows faculty, students and staff to see where projects and connections already exist, and allows you to more easily build on this later.
  • Start a student competition to encourage ideas for the most innovative and fun way to reduce emissions and fund the winning project.
  • Designate preferred parking locations for low-emission vehicles and carpools.