inside ases | chair’s corner
A Role for Schools
Universities have a major role to play in the energy revolution.
ASES needs to partner with them.
By MARgOT MCDOnAlD, AIA, lEED AP
The new year begins a watershed decade for clean energy, green jobs and the environment. Our col- leges and universities have the opportunity and
responsibility to educate students for a sustainable future.
is chair of ASES and
at California Polytechnic State University.
Contact her at chair@
In this column, as an educator and the newly elected
chair of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), I will
focus on campus programs aimed at changing the lives of
students and their communities. In the words of Arizona
State University President Michael Crow, “We’re only
responsible for 3 percent of the carbon footprint in the
country, but we’re responsible for 100 percent of the student imprint.”
Several organizations have taken leadership roles in
transformational change on campus and in society. I’ve
listed some of them here, in alphabetical order by acronym.
Each represents a different cross-section of the campus sustainability movement, but they’ve often worked in tandem
we can expect from these inspiring campus leadership organizations in 2010 and beyond.
AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustain-ability;in;Higher;Education);—;In;January,;AASHE;will
launch the Sustainability Tracking and Rating System
(STARS). It combines indicators for campus building and
infrastructure performance and provides a reporting framework for campus financial, operational and academic measures of sustainability. This system has been under development for three years, implemented by a large network of
campuses. ( aashe.org)
ACUPCC (American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment) — In their own words, this is
“a high-visibility effort to address global warming by garnering institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas
emissions, and to accelerate the research and educational
efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize
the Earth’s climate.” I attended the national gathering of
these university leaders in Chicago last August and was
awestruck by the “roll up your sleeves” eagerness of these
administrators to work toward carbon-neutral campuses.
Architecture 2030 — Ed Mazria formed this nonprofit
movement as a change agent for the building industry and
an educational tool for current and future architects. University engagement has come through the Architecture
2010 Imperative, providing campuses with clearly articulated goals for carbon neutrality in architecture curricula
and campus facilities. ( architecture2030.org)
ASE (Alliance to Save Energy) — In California, the
Green Campus Program merits a place among top achievers in student leadership efforts. I have seen firsthand the
transformational quality of student enthusiasm applied to
campus energy savings. Students come up with astoundingly innovative and ingenious solutions. Kudos to their
campus stakeholders and to the organization for developing this next generation of energy investigators! ( ase.org/
Clinton Global Initiative University — Started in
next generation of leaders on college campuses around
the world.” Students and their advisors come together to
share lessons learned, forging a network of new leaders
and advancing new goals for campus sustainability. (cgiu.
Second Nature — The mission: “ … to accelerate
movement toward a sustainable future by serving and
supporting senior college and university leaders in
making healthy, just, and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.” Led
by founder Anthony Cortese, the organization convenes
leaders and translates the ideals of campus sustainability into attainable goals. In an upcoming report, Second
Nature will tackle the subject of renewable energy in higher
education as a launch pad for greater participation by our
schools. ( secondnature.org)
SBSE (Society of Building Science Educators) — SBSE
acts on several fronts in the campaign for net-zero-energy
buildings. In 2008, SBSE unveiled the Carbon Neutral Studio project (sponsored in part by the American Institute
of Architects). Its member schools have also played an
increasing role in the biennial Solar Decathlon. ( sbse.org)
USGBC Green Campus Campaign —The U.S. Green
Building Council has launched several initiatives for campus sustainability, notably the Emerging Green Builders
program (for students and recent graduates) and LEED for
Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Buildings (also known
as the Portfolio Program). Look for a new document outlining a Roadmap to a Green (or Sustainable) Campus to help
campus stakeholders identify ways to achieve sustainability
goals. ( usgbc.org/campus)
Remarkably, development of the full spectrum of low-energy, net-zero and renewable energy options for campus infrastructure is far from complete. There is a place for
ASES at each of these tables, to help guide the widespread
adoption of solar energy within higher education.