Campus-Wide Performance

This funding opportunity is open to all U.S. universities and colleges. Projects can readily determine their eligibility for campus wide project reductions based on CO2 emission profiles that have already been derived from their GHG reporting to STARS, Second Nature’s Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments (formerly known as ACUPCC) or other credible programs. There are a series of new tools and resources available to assist schools in this process.

Basic Campus Wide Eligibility

Here’s how to determine initial eligibility for VCS carbon credits on a Campus-Wide basis. First, the new VCS methodology which Chevrolet developed established a benchmark performance based upon the top 15% emission reduction performance of all 600+ Carbon Commitment signatories (formerly known as ACUPCC signatories), segmented by Carnegie category and emissions type (stationary 1 and scope 2 electricity). This turns out to be an annual emission reduction of about 5% per year.  Schools that fall into this category, and also have reduced annually their combined stationary 1 and scope 2 electricity-based emissions, are eligible to sell and transfer carbon credits to interested purchasers like Chevy based upon the certified credits associated with any incremental emission reduction initiatives.

Investments by campuses this aggressive already are, almost by definition, additional. These schools have a demonstrated track record of pushing well beyond Business As Usual (BAU), so that these incremental projects executed by the universities represent net carbon reductions below any reasonable baseline.

The current performance benchmarks, representing annual average percent CO2 reductions, by category, comprise:

Performance Benchmarks Stationary Scope 1 (PBS)Performance Benchmarks Electricity Scope 2 (PBE)
Doctoral College5.68%6.85%
Baccalaureate5.88%6.78%
Masters6.05%6.60%
Associate7.66%6.74%
Specialist4.69%                   3.98%

Alongside such Performance Benchmarks for Stationary 1 (PBS) and/or Performance Benchmarks for Scope 2 Electricity (PBE) reductions, the campus must also have reduced its combined total stationary 1 and scope 2 electricity emissions on an absolute basis over the same time period as it achieved its PBS or PBE performance.

There are other eligibility criteria that campuses must also fulfill that are simply outlined in the project summaries, which must be completed for consideration.  Key project eligibility criteria include:

  • Be a US-based college or university
  • Report GHG emissions to STARS, Second Nature or another credible third party
  • Have a project start date no sooner than Q1/Q2 2011 so long as the projects are validated by Feb 2016; otherwise project start dates could not be grandfathered
  • Demonstrate actions on at least two energy strategies to achieve these progressive performances – which may not have been conducted as a result of regulatory requirements
  • Ensure rights of ownership to the resulting carbon reductions to avoid double counting/claiming, consistent with campus’ own GHG reporting

Using their STARS or Second Nature data, campuses can readily estimate the total CO2 reductions that might qualify for carbon credit funding using the Excel Templates.  Chevrolet was open to consider funding purchases over several years, spanning mid-2011 through December 2014 and paid a premium in terms of $/ton over the prevailing voluntary carbon market pricing. Going forward, inquiries from campuses can be made to Second Nature to explore future funding prospects.

Interested campuses can e-mail commitments@secondnature.org to learn more about funding opportunities and eligibility criteria.

How to Apply

What are the key steps involved in putting a project forward for campus-wide carbon credit funding?

  1. Complete initial due diligence to evaluate project eligibility and performance parameters, inputting data (which draws upon information from a campus’ Second Nature/STARS GHG reporting) to the excel template sheets. Evaluate attractiveness of project funding investment from campus’ point of view.
  2. Engage with Second Nature to explore how your campus might best sell the carbon credits provided from your project and review any technical questions you might have.
  3. Typically, carbon purchasers enter into contracts directly with a campus in order to transact for the carbon reduction tons it wishes to provide: transactions can be coordinated and supported through Second Nature.
  4. Complete project certification materials (the excel template, the project development document and the monitoring report) which are ultimately submitted to carbon credit validators/verifiers for VCS certification.
  5. Participate in a third-party project validation review of the project’s carbon credentials and verification of its credits in order to get them issued. In order to achieve VCS certification all carbon projects are reviewed by a designated third-party VCS reviewer. Second Nature can also supply further information regarding the VCS project certification process and steps required to get projects VCS approved and credits verified.
  6. Having secured VCS credit issuance, transfer carbon credits to purchaser (which can be facilitated through Second Nature’s registry account) and receive payment.

Tools and Resources

Chevrolet developed Excel Templates that can be used to easily estimate whether a campus would qualify based on its GHG performance. This tool will also help estimate the size and value of resulting CO2 reductions. Schools can enter their STARS or Second Nature emissions reporting data directly into these templates.

This template has check boxes to complete that mirror the Excel Template’s results. The completed PDD provides a summary of the project for VCS’s certifiers to review for validation purposes (conducted once up-front). The document also provides details of the project’s credentials for VCS’s accredited certifiers to evaluate in order to secure project validation.

This report (with check boxes to complete) provides a summary of the project for VCS’s certifiers to review for credit verification purposes, conducted regularly throughout the project lifetime as credit issuance from VCS is sought. The monitoring report also provides details of the project’s credentials for VCS’s accredited certifiers to evaluate in order to secure credit issuance.

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