Bard has pledged to achieve climate neutrality by 2035.
By signing the ACUPCC Climate Commitment, now Carbon Commitment, in 2008, President Botstein agreed to launch an ambitious and important process to achieve carbon neutrality at the college and "actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students." The Carbon Commitment asks that we take deliberate and systematic steps to begin this process, and lays out a prescribed timeline. Bard has prepared annual greenhouse gas inventories, a Climate Action Plan, and Progress Reports.
Bard has taken large steps to increase its energy efficiency, including:
- Lighting - campus-wide upgrade of interior and exterior lighting to LED and high-efficiency fluorescent technology
- Geothermal - as an early adopter of geothermal heat-exchange technology in its building construction practices, all new construction since the mid-1990s incorporates the technology. Today, roughly 40% of the total building square footage on campus utilizes geothermal heat-exchange for space heating and cooling.
- On-site Solar - a large-scale, 280kW solar photovoltaic array near the athletic fields, solar thermal hot water systems at Keene and Tremblay Dormitories, and a 9kW solar electric system at South Hall Dormitory
- Controls Upgrades - several buildings have had complete overhauls of their HVAC controls, allowing for more automation and efficient use of equipment.
- Insulation/Weatherization - full or partial envelope renovations of several buildings, including added wall and attic insulation, new windows, or other airsealing techniques.
- Equipment Upgrades - when small or large capital equipment that has reached its end-of-life, they are replaced with high-efficiency models.
Visit Bard's AASHE STARS report submission for more information.
In addition, Bard has partnered with Project Drawdown to put the one hundred most comprehensive climate change solutions into action on the Bard campus and the surrounding area. We participate in the Drawdown EcoChallenge, which is a three week event during which Bard community members can work to instate the one hundred solutions individually and as a community. Click here for more information on the EcoChallenge.
The main Bard campus in Annandale comprises about 155 buildings totaling 1,260,000 sq. ft. In addition to the main campus, in 2016 Bard acquired the nearby Montgomery Place property. The campus has support infrastructure such as street and path lighting, facilities for fresh water distribution, a site for receiving and treating sewage, and a fleet of maintenance and security vehicles.
In order to provide occupants with electrical power; thermal comfort (space heating and cooling); hot water; food and domestic services; and safety and security, the operation and maintenance of campus facilities consumes about (based on fiscal year 2017-2018 data):
Fuel: 285,631 gallons
Propane: 143,260 gallons
Diesel (generators): 8,836 gallons
Gasoline: 43,693 gallons
Diesel: 10,705 gallons
Grid purchased: 18,878,078 kWh
On-site solar: 300,000 kWh
RECs (Midwest Wind): 2,000,000 kWh
Path to Net-Zero Energy
Though Bard must unavoidably consume energy in order to function as an institute, Bard is taking steps to minimize its energy consumption baseline, including:
- Systematically upgrading existing campus facilities for energy efficiency (i.e. weatherization and insulation, high-efficiency lighting, controls automation for HVAC systems, and eliminating inefficient practices)
- Invest in on- and off-site renewable energy systems, and
- Replace old fleet vehicles with new fuel-efficient models (and low/no carbon models, as they become available)
Ultimately, any energy consumed by the college from non-renewable sources will be offset through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and/or Carbon Offset Credits.