Sustainability Goals and Strategies

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Mitigation Strategy

This strategy sets an Interim Goal to reduce Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions resulting from campus operations to 25% below 2008 levels by the year 2020. The strategies supporting this goal focus primarily on our buildings and the steam and chilled water plants that support them, which account for approximately 85% of the College’s emissions. Finally, the actions of students and staff will be addressed to deal with the remainder of the emissions.

The College has had a significant focus on energy conservation and GHG emissions mitigation in recent years that forms a foundation for future actions. We have experienced a steady decline in annual GHG emissions from 20041 to 2008, the year we first submitted a greenhouse gas inventory report as required by the ACUPCC. During this period, Kalamazoo College’s annual GHG emissions have been reduced by 6% or 775 MTCE (Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent). The decline in emissions is the result of a combination of small-scale energy system retrofits, a better understanding of the campus energy use profile resulting from an ongoing project to sub-meter campus buildings, gains in efficiency as the result of the Upjohn Library

Commons and Hicks Center renovations, and improved digital building control systems. This recent reduction in emissions occurred despite a 7% increase in total campus building area. The trend continued into 2009 as the College began investing an educational discount received from the regional utility company (Consumers Energy) in additional projects designed to reduce energy use and emissions. The decline in emissions over the last fiscal year amounted to an additional 1.9% reduction.

The most significant sources of GHG emissions are found in campus buildings, campus operations and transportation. The Plan offers Interim and Long-term Goals for GHG mitigation in those areas.

Interim Goals

  • Complete an ongoing program to install energy sub-meters in all campus buildings by the end of 2010.
  • Reduce annual Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (as defined by the ACUPCC) by 25% below 2008 levels by 2020. Kalamazoo College’s GHG emissions in 2008 were 12,509 MTCE. Successful attainment of the Interim Goal will result reduce GHG emissions to 9,382 MTC in 2020 a reduction of just over 3,100 MTCE.
  • Component strategies of the Interim Goal to reduce GHG emissions and the estimated annual reduction in emissions for each strategy are displayed in the table below:

Mitigation Strategy

Conventional Energy Systems Retrofits

On-Site Renewable Energy Systems

Major Building Renovations and Replacements

Low or No Cost Energy Conservation Initiatives

Cleaner Fuel Profile for Purchased Electricity

Reduction in College Fleet Emissions

Reduction in commuting mileage

Maintain current REC contract with Consumers Energy

Effect on emissions reductions from the construction of new campus buildings

Total Reduction in Annual Emissions

Estimated Reduction in Annual Emissions (MTCE)











Energy System Retrofits and On-Site Renewable Energy Systems

  • These two related strategies will be implemented in a series of projects that will incrementally reduce annual College GHG emissions. These projects will be completed independently of major capital projects on campus
    • The initial implementation of these strategies will concentrate on upgrading conventional HVAC and lighting technologies with new equipment that is much more energy efficient.
  • Upgrades of conventional technologies will continue throughout the period leading up to the target Interim Goal date of 2020 but beginning in the year 2015 the focus of investment will shift to the installation of alternative fuel/renewable energy systems on campus. Details of this shift in focus will be designed to complement the College’s renovation/construction plans and advances in technology.
  • The range of renewable energy systems will include any equipment that can be installed on campus and produce electricity or building heat from renewable or alternate fuel sources. This would include such devices as photovoltaic (PV) arrays and wind turbines designed to fit on building roofs, and alternate fuel solutions for campus boilers.
  • To meet the GHG emissions reduction goal for on-site renewable energy, systems capable of producing an equivalent annual total of 285,000 kWh will need to be installed on campus by 2020.

Funding Retrofits and Renewable Energy Systems

Both energy systems retrofits and on-site renewable energy systems will be financed from savings realized from completed projects, the utility company’s current discount to education facilities, utility rebate programs, and targeted grants. Money from these sources will be pooled in a dedicated revolving fund that will eventually provide $200,000 annually for mitigation programs. The revolving fund represents the formalization of a process that has been in place for several years and in this current fiscal year (2009-10) has begun to use realized accumulated energy savings to augment the utility discount.

Mitigation goals and the related funding requirements for conventional system retrofits between now and 2020 are:

Annual GHG Reductions by 2020 (MTCE)


Incremental Total Cost


Mitigation goals and funding requirements for on-site renewable energy systems between now and 2020 are:

Annual GHG Reductions by 2020 (MTCE)


Incremental Total Cost


  • The majority of funding for on-site renewable energy systems is intended to come from the revolving funds that will be disbursed in years 2015-2020.
  • The $500,000 estimate assumes that renewable energy systems will be wholly funded by the existing revolving fund.

The total revolving fund expenditure required to meet the 2020 mitigation goals and the schedule for the disbursements from the fund between now and 2020 is shown in the table below:

Fiscal Year












Retrofit Budget












Kalamazoo College has, in the past, taken advantage of utility rebates and government grants to upgrade energy systems on campus. The increased availability of such funding and/or additional savings in energy costs may give the College cause to increase the base spending levels of the revolving fund.

Major Building Renovations and Replacements

  • For the purpose of GHG mitigation, the College will design and construct all major projects so that they achieve an energy efficiency that is 30% greater than that required by ASHRAE 90.1 (2004) or an equivalent standard. The guidelines established for achieving ten credits in LEED version 3 Energy Optimization may be used to document a project’s attainment of the College’s new efficiency standard. Application of the LEED standard for this purpose shall be independent of any decision to seek actual LEED certification for a project which the College will continue to consider on a project by project basis
  • This energy standard will be incorporated into a series of projects planned to replace or renovate existing facilities, the first three of which are in the very early planning stages and are not yet approved for construction. The projects are:
    • A facility containing a Fitness Center and new Natatorium o The Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
    • A replacement for Calder Fieldhouse (part of a larger project to upgrade the athletic fields)
  • It is highly probable there will be additional renovation or new construction projects before the Interim Goal date of 2020 and that they also will have state of the art principles incorporated into their design and construction practices.

Funding the New Energy Standards for Renovations and Replacements

This energy efficiency standard will apply to all major building projects and Kalamazoo College will provide the necessary additional funding for projects in an attempt to achieve the 30% efficiency increase up to the following limits:

  • Building projects with budgets below $1,000,000
    • 10% of the project budget
  • Building projects with budgets between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000
    • $100,000 plus 2% of the project budget
  • Building Projects with budgets over $10,000,000
    • 3% of the project budget

Energy Conservation Initiatives

  • The creativity and innovation of the campus community is already evident in current initiatives and will be further developed to find opportunities for energy conservation beyond the ideas below. The following areas will be subject to new policies or guidelines that will be developed through collaborative efforts with students and staff.
    • Student-led initiatives for energy conservation in the residence halls.
    • Establishment and strict enforcement of reasonable and uniform temperature guidelines for campus buildings.
    • Strict enforcement of the ban on electric space heaters
    • Expansion of the current program for the “free” exchange of incandescent bulbs for CFLs.
    • Improvement in building scheduling with a focus on the reduction of heating, air conditioning, and lighting loads.
    • Continuous improvement of the energy-consuming operations through regular meetings of an energy group at Facilities Management.
    • Development of incentive programs to reward ideas for low-cost energy conservation.
    • Working with all stakeholders including the Dining Services vendor to improve oversight of the energy consuming operations associated with Dining Services.

Cleaner Fuel Mix Profile for Purchased Electricity

  • Utilize power purchase practices to achieve GHG reductions.
    • Kalamazoo College purchases 100% of the electricity used on campus from the sole reasonable provider, Consumers Energy, a Michigan-based regional utility regulated by the State of Michigan. The State has mandated that all public utilities in the state will provide 10% of the electricity they produce from renewable energy sources by the year 2015. This mandate will result in annual reduction in emissions attributable to Kalamazoo College operations by approximately 600 MTCE in 2015. The State has also indicated that it will be increasing the required percentage of renewable energy produced electricity past the 2015 date but has not yet decided on the final figures. We conservatively estimate that our annual emissions will have decreased by 900 MTCE by our Interim Goal Date of 2020 as a result of these future requirements.
  • Maintain the Current Renewable Energy Certificate Contract with Consumers Energy.
    • As part of earning a LEED credit for in the Renewable Energy category for the Hicks Center renovation, Kalamazoo College currently has a contract to purchase 360,000 kWh of “green energy” annually from Consumers Energy. This green energy is produced at a wind farm in Michigan’s “Thumb” area and the amount being purchased represents 42% of Hicks’ annual usage and about 4% of the annual use of the major campus buildings. The current contract expires at the end of 2010 and it is recommended that the College extend the contract if the terms remain agreeable. This represents a very minimal investment (currently $4,800 annually), it supports a Michigan operation and it can serve as a hedge against some of the pressures mentioned earlier that may cause net increases in GHG emissions in some campus buildings.
  • Additional Offsets or Renewable Energy Contracts
    • The following strategies in general do not include the purchase of offsets or participation in projects not directly tied to property used or owned by the College in order to meet the objectives. Purchasing offsets, in essence, gives the purchaser the right to continue emitting greenhouse gases; in theory, the money expended to purchase the offsets would pay the costs of reducing emissions elsewhere in the world. We have two reasons for regarding this as an unsuitable strategy for Kalamazoo College as we attempt to achieve our 2020 target.
    • First, knowledgeable observers have suggested that many payments for offsets never actually get used to pay for the promised environmental improvements. In other cases they are reported to pay for improvements which would have been undertaken even in the absence of the offset payment (because they were economically efficient). In either of these scenarios, the offsets have little (or no) impact on the emission of greenhouse gases.
    • Second, even if we could be confident that offset payments would be used for their intended purposes, we do not believe that purchasing offsets is a viable long-term response to global warming. It is not enough to offset emissions; there needs to be a reduction in emissions, and to reduce them, some people must reform their own behavior rather than pay others for the privilege of continuing to pollute. Consequently, the use of offsets or other off-campus projects is not proposed at this time. We do recognize, however, that there are constituencies in the College community that support this method of neutralizing emissions and may be able to independently secure funding for the purchase of offsets or renewable energy certificates. If funds restricted to the purchase of offsets, etc. are made available, we would then integrate those purchases into our climate neutral strategy.

Reduction in College Fleet Emissions

  • Reduce emissions from College fleet vehicles by 50% below the base year of 2008 by the year 2020 through the phased replacement of campus vehicles with appropriate zero or low-emission vehicles and reductions in annual fleet vehicle mileage totals

Reduction in Commuting Mileage

  • Reduce emissions from faculty, staff and student commuting by 25% below the base year of 2008 by the year 2020 through the use of:
    • Incentives for commuter use of public transportation.
    • Incentives for carpooling and/or participation in a ride-share program.
    • Incentives to encourage walking and biking as a means of commuting through establishment of weather-protected bike storage facilities.
    • Development of a telecommuting policy for College employees
    • Increased use of videoconferencing.
    • Development of policies to reduce the number of vehicles on campus particularly for residential students.
    • Increased controls in the existing parking system as a means for discouraging vehicle use.
    • Development of incentives for faculty, staff and students to use fuel efficient vehicles for their commuting needs

Long-Term Goal:

  • Kalamazoo College will become a climate neutral campus no later than the year 2050

Long-Term Strategy:

  • The rate of reduction in GHG emissions required to successfully achieve Kalamazoo College’s 2020 goal establishes the parameters necessary for the College to achieve climate neutrality no later than the year 2050.
  • Kalamazoo College commits to developing a series of five-year plans beginning in 2020 to maintain the desired rate of GHG emissions reductions through the year 2050.
  • In the long term, investment in GHG mitigation strategies, technology and equipment will continue to focus on initiatives and projects on the central campus. Investment in offsets, renewable energy certificates, etc. will only be made with restricted funds that become available for that use.
  • As part of the annual reporting process described elsewhere in this plan, Kalamazoo College will continue to monitor both technological advances and political developments and begin to formulate plans for the period after 2020 using newly available information to develop the necessary strategies.