Colorado College is the first higher-ed institution in the Rocky Mountain region and one of only a handful in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, the school announced Wednesday.
But the private college hasn’t eliminated all emissions. It still has fleet vehicles, wastewater and college-related air travel, for example.
Emissions — down 75% from 2008 at the school — reach carbon neutrality when factoring in on-campus reductions and off-campus investments in projects that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gases elsewhere, said Ian Johnson, Colorado College’s sustainability director.
“This is a huge deal,” Johnson saids. “A 75% reduction in emissions is a massive, massive number… We’re in an area where electricity is responsible for a lot of carbon emissions. I think things are changing fairly rapidly, and I think CC is a part of that.”
The push for Colorado College to hit carbon neutrality by 2020 began in 2007 when a group of students heard about the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment — 12 university presidents who promised to lead on climate and sustainability action on their campuses.
David Amster-Olszewski, who founded SunShare Community Solar company, was among a group of 2009 Colorado College students who used his last weeks before graduation to rally about two-thirds of his peers for petition signatures campaigning for the college to commit to carbon neutrality.