Penn State leads by example throughout its operational efforts and its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, Penn State signed the “We are Still In” pledge to continue meeting the United States’ responsibilities under the Paris Climate Accord and set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% below a 2005 baseline by 2020, and by 80% below the 1990 levels by 2050. These goals also reflect Pennsylvania’s goals, signed by former Gov. Wolf in January 2019, to reduce GHG emissions by 26% by 2025 and by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. The College of Earth and Mineral Sciences is committed to help the University achieve these goals. Learn more about our initiatives below.
Projects in the works
Room Occupancy Review:
We have worked with OPP to review the occupancy schedule for our rooms in each of the buildings we occupy. The idea is to minimize the time that each room is heated and cooled to save energy. While a few of the newer buildings have occupancy sensors and can automatically adjust temperatures according to use, many buildings are not so equipped and still run off of a programmed schedule. This type of review for all spaces is not yet required, but we plan on being proactive and doing it yearly because changes in use of space may result in more energy savings.
Room Electrical Energy Savings: Members of the sustainability operations committee have been surveying a few EMS buildings and noting rooms with lights left on. The idea is to note rooms where lights get left on regularly, and calculate the potential energy savings per building that could be accomplished when we are more diligent about turning lights off when rooms are not in use. The hope is that putting an actual dollar amount to the energy wasted in our buildings will motivate people to conserve energy. This is being extended to projectors, since they have specialized bulbs and tend to be higher wattage and more expensive.
Waste stream review and user education: Ronnie Wasco is working with OPP janitorial staff on a pilot program to improve recycling by analyzing the content of recycling bins and educating people who recycle. When a recycling bin is full, it has to be quickly examined to see if it is contaminated (with other types of recyclables or general garbage). If it is contaminated, then the whole bin is treated as regular waste which costs more for disposal. This effort will try to put costs to improper recycling, and help improve the amounts that are recycled by educating users.