Campus Climate Solutions now hosts this blog on our website, and will no longer be posting updates to this wordpress blog.
We hope you enjoy our new and improved blog: http://campusclimatesolutions.org/blog
Go ahead and bookmark our new blog’s URL. We also suggest that you subscribe in a reader.
Thanks for your support!
Check out this press release from Campus Climate Solutions’ partner, PowerMyCampus:
BOSTON, Mass. and BATON ROUGE, La., June 30 /PRNewswire/ — PowerMyCampus™, a joint venture formed between energy efficiency and renewable energy integrators at The Energy Group, LLC and American Modern Energy, LLC, is inviting not-for-profits organizations across America to join in the celebration of Energy Independence along side the traditional Independence Day celebration on July 4.
The Energy Group, LLC of Baton Rouge, LA and American Modern Energy, LLC of Boston, MA have joined forces through PowerMyCampus™ in developing a proprietary system of funding, installing and operating clean energy solutions with the Smart Power Purchase Agreement (SmartPPA™). PowerMyCampus™ is making it possible for not-for-profit organizations such as colleges, universities, K-12 schools, hospitals and churches to “go green” and utilize the benefits of clean, renewable energy technologies with zero upfront costs, at electric rates substantially below current utility prices.
According to Scott Van Kerkhove, Co-Founder of PowerMyCampus™, and President & CEO of the Energy Group, not-for-profit institutions across the country are eager to install clean, renewable solutions, but up until now, have been challenged by financial, technical, regulatory and operational barriers. “We have developed a unique system specifically designed for funding, installing and operating installations for not-for-profit institutions that make clean energy solutions affordable and accessible,” says Scott. “We manage every detail so that all the customer does is use their electricity, but typically at just half of their current rate per kilowatt hour.”
Ed Whitaker, Co-Founder of PowerMyCampus™ and VP of Operations for American Modern Energy, will lead and manage the installation and operation of these power facilities. According to Whitaker, who holds a NABCEP certification, the issue is more than just the increasing cost of electric power. “Electric rates have been doubling every ten years, and it’s more than likely that this rate of increase will continue or even escalate going forward. Moving to clean energy also says a lot about a commitment to this country’s need for Energy Independence, environmental stewardship and our leadership in new technology.”
PowerMyCampus™ has teamed up with ONTility (www.ontility.com) to procure the latest technology in equipment for its’ installations. We are seeking installers, integrators and other renewable experts interested in utilizing the PowerMyCampus™ funding or SmartPPA™ model to service not-for-profit clients.
PowerMyCampus™ offers proprietary renewable energy solutions to not-for-profit organizations, including the SmartPPA™. It is headquartered at 8 Faneuil Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, the site of the original American Revolution and host of the New Revolution for Energy Independence. It’s joint venture partners are The Energy Group, a leading organization in the funding and development of a wide range of clean technology solutions, including renewable energy and energy efficiency installations; and, American Modern Energy, a leading integrator specializing in the development of solutions to business problems in the renewable energy sector, applying technical, financial and legal core competencies in unique ways, including the ownership and operation of renewable energy facilities. More information is available at www.PowerMyCampus.com.
SOURCE The Energy Group, LLC
While very few people actually know their carbon footprint, most could take to reduce emissions from products they buy if they knew the impact of their choices. In the same way millions of Americans choose diet soda instead of regular because it has 0 calories, many might choose a can of diet coke over a bottle of Coke Zero, because it has a lower carbon footprint. Or, those still living in the 90’s might finally decide to switch to music downloads because the carbon footprint is lower than buying CDs.
Carbon footprint-based decisions are impossible without carbon accounting, and such transparency is not an easy feat. Carbon footprints are hard to measure. Also companies measuring their emissions often overlook large parts of their supply chain. A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, profiled in this blog post from sustainablelifemedia.com, found that “two-thirds of U.S. industries overlook 75% of their total greenhouse gas emissions using current calculation methods.”
What if you want to know your own carbon footprint? You would probably count the gas you pump in your car because you own the car and you burn the gas inside it. You would also probably count the electricity you purchase because you use it to light your house and cook your food. I have 2 different carbon calculators on my iPhone, and they both only measure transportation and electricity, because after that the math gets tricky. The sandwich you eat, the spam in your inbox, and even your toilet paper all have hefty carbon footprints, but so far there has not been an easy way to count those impacts, so we don’t. Thus, the size of a carbon footprint effectively depends on what data we count, at what point we start counting, or if we bother to count at all.
Why does carbon accounting matter so much?
As this article from Wired explains, having reliable data about the environmental impact of our choices so allows us make better ones, in the same way that the nutrition information on food labels helps us to make better decisions about what we eat. Think of it like a diet: if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat. This means eating fewer calories by dieting, and burning more by exercising. Just like cutting calories to lose weight, to mitigate the worst effects of climate change we will need to cut back on our emissions, as well as sequester the ones that are already in the atmosphere. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, imagine if you were dieting but had no way of knowing how many calories you’d eaten on any given day. If there was no labeling on our food, unless you knew a lot about nutrition, you would never really know if you were eating too many calories until you gained weight. In this same way, if we’re not calculating our emissions, we do not know how much carbon is being emitted into the atmosphere until it is already affecting our climate. Unlike your diet–which may have profound effects on your health–our ability to stop climate change will have profound effects on every living thing in the world.
Why is carbon accounting so complicated?
To effectively manage greenhouse gas emissions, we have to do more than just count some of our emissions. We have to create accurate, comprehensive and transparent inventories that account for all the carbon in our economy. Then we have to make this information available and as easily accessible as nutrition information is on food. That means we need lots of people counting lots of emissions, and the big accounting firms are starting to catch on. Financial accounting and carbon accounting are similar in the sense that like financial accounting, the protocols and standards used to count emissions matter a lot. That’s because of we live in a global economy, and companies that operate internationally need to be held to a single standard. A ton of carbon in china has to mean the same thing as a ton in the U.S., or we can never enforce any worldwide climate agreement, should we ever manage to make one.
The carbon accounting industry has come a long way in the past few years. We still have a long way to go, but there are signs of hope. Outside of New York City’s Madison Square Garden, where some 510,000 people see it daily, Deutsche Bank has installed a 67-by-32-foot electronic billboard monitoring the real-time, cumulative pollution humans are emitting into atmosphere. In addition, more than 600 universities have signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which requires members to report their emissions (Not to brag, but the University of Florida–my alma mater, was one of the first to sign). Outside of academia, investors are starting to demandthat public companies they disclose their footprints, and the Carbon Disclosure Project has obtained such information from more than 3,700 corporations across the globe. And, although most of the news you hear about U.S. regulation of emissions is about our likely doomed cap-and-trade legislation, the EPA has been regulating emissions on their own with relatively little political interference. The new Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule will require any entity that emits more than 100,000 tons to report their emissions to the government. This regulation alone will cover around 85% of our nation’s economy, meaning that companies from all sectors of the economy will be legally required to count their emissions. These initiatives and countless others will ensure that carbon accounting will continue to be a bigger part of our lives, but there is no reason you can’t help speed things along. Go ahead and count–really count–your household’s carbon footprint. Think about what’s missing, and help the cause by joining others in demanding full disclosure from companies. And, if you need a career, try becoming a carbon accountant. If you’re not convinced, check out the post: Top 5 reasons to learn to count carbon: Reason #2 Someone’s Everyone’s gotta do it, but few know how.
Why you should learn to count carbon (Reason #2): Someone’s Everyone’s gotta do it, but no one can
This is the third in a sporadic series of posts on carbon accounting. The last two posts (Intro, and Reason #1: Someone’s gotta do it) were a buzz-kill, and according to this article from June’s Seed Magazine: “extensive polling and focus-group sessions conducted over the last several years…indicate that words like ‘global warming,’ ‘cap and trade,’ and ‘carbon dioxide’ turn people off.” So, following a the advice of people with PhD’s, if I ever talk about GHG’s or any other topic that Al Gore made a movie about I say things like “our deteriorating atmosphere” and “pollution reduction refund,” and “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.”
Since the above is going to be hard to do with a straight face, I’ll try instead to focus on the opportunities that exist in the emerging carbon accounting errr pollution reduction opportunity assessment industry.
Before I adopt my newfound positive attitude, here’s a few more disturbing interesting statistic from the 2009 GHG and Climate Change Workforce Needs Assessment Survey [PDF], publised by the GHG Management Institute and Sequence Staffing. [REMEMBER: In my last post, I mentioned that of the 800 GHG and Climate Change experts that responded to this survey, 98.4% believe measuring and accounting of greenhouse gas emissions is critical or very critical to the successful management of global climate change.] These experts were also surveyed on the state of the GHG/Climate workforce, and the results are both kind of scary or kind of exciting, depending on how you look at it. Below are some excerpts from the survey
“Left unchecked this shortage will only become exacerbated as efforts are more defined and international programs emerge and expand. Essentially, we are only at the very first steps of the vast staircase of GHG programs and initiatives that will need trained and professionalized staff throughout the world.
“This shortage of qualified greenhouse gas staff and professional experts could have a profound effect on accounting and measuring practices well into the next two decades. This shortage could occur at a critical moment for the emerging industry and seriously impede efforts to successfully address climate change. Failure to meet this challenge will threaten the quality and legitimacy of GHG accounting, the greater welfare of the international community through potentially devastating impacts of climate change, and the future of the professionals who practice within this field.”
In plain English: the experts don’t think there are enough experts. This might translate into high pay for those who can do this stuff, but it doesn’t bode well for our chances of establishing a healthy low-carbon economy unless we address this shortage.
How is this good news? If you’re one of the millions of my unemployed college classmates, this shortage means that you can hold off on suing your alma-mater and get a job in the GHG/Climate change market instead. Who better to fill all of these vacant jobs than the youngest eligible workers? We will feel the negative effects of climate change more than all of those middle-aged white men that are currently filling most GHG jobs. Since my generation has the most to lose, and it seems the most to gain, we are the perfect candidates for these unfilled jobs. Added bonus: maybe people will stop talking smack about us Gen-Yers not “walking the walk”, and rather than all that carbon money going to tax-evading baby-boomers, it can go to the banks that gave us our student loans.