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January: Energy

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All of these factors contributed to President Tony Collins’ signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in April 2014. By signing the ACUPCC, our community has agreed to demonstrate a willingness to commit to taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now, leading to a date and goal to becoming climate neutral in the future.

Immediately eliminating our consumption of fossil fuels is not feasible.  The University is taking many proactive steps – like partnering with Community Energy Solar on the installation of a huge new array of solar panels.  But that is not enough.  The source of energy and building infrastructure are important – but so is the energy consumer – YOU!  So that is why we are asking you to use electric and heat energy in the most efficient and conservative manner that is feasible within your job.  Taking daily small steps can allow for a slow, but meaningful reduction in energy consumption. Individually you may think that your contributions are small – but together we can make a real difference.

Please join our revised Sustainable Office Certification program and get started this month on re-thinking the way you use energy in your office and how you might reduce that consumption.  Do you already do all that you can to increase efficiency and conserve energy use?  You can still qualify for points and work towards prizes and incentives for doing your part.


Description Points
Small changes by many Clarkson employees can make a big difference! Watch a video to learn the top 5 tips for saving energy in your office (6 mins) 5

Learn what you can do and share your experiences: Attend a campus-wide seminar on the basics of climate change and efficient use of energy within an office  (There will be two dates for the seminar, one at the beginning and end of the month on a Tuesday/Thursday and M/W/F)

What about your impact at home? Take the Nature Conservancy Carbon Footprint Quiz to determine the carbon dioxide emissions you generate annually (~10 mins). For extra points,* identify and note the biggest component contributing to your emissions.   For every tons of CO2, you would need to plant that same number of pine trees every year to absorb the CO2 through the trees' photosynthesis processes. (*points will be tallied at the end of the month so jot this down to remember) 3-5
You can greatly reduce energy use and related emissions by shutting things off when not in use: Set your computers to energy saving mode (sleep or hibernate) after no more than 10 minutes of inactivity. Set other electronic devices to energy saving mode (printers and copy machines). 5
Make a Pledge  -  turn off lights, computers, monitors and projectors when leaving a room (any room! Your office, classroom, seminar room, bathroom…). 3
Help us determine our campus' current greenhouse gas footprint:Take the Transportation Survey to help Clarkson University calculate their greenhouse gas emissions. 5


Did you know? The United States of America represents about 5% of the world’s population, but we consume 25% of the energy produced.  Approximately 80% of the total energy consumed by the United States is derived from fossil fuels and approximately  70% of Clarkson’s electricity comes from fossil fuel sources. These sources emit a range of air pollutants and are not a sustainable source of energy.  Combusting fossil fuels –

  • Releases carbon dioxide, the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG) that humans release, leading to changes in the climate and a wide range of impacts.  For example, snowmobiling, skiing and ice fishing might not be possible in the region in another 10-20 years.
  • Releases sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, which are the leading cause of acid rain and that destroy some fish habitats in the Adirondack Mountains.
  • Releases particulate matter that may be too small to see, but that contributes to lung damage and an increase in the number of childhood asthma cases throughout the country.