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People who commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on their campus want action—and soon.

“Accelerating Campus Climate Initiatives: Breaking Through Barriers” is a practical guide for anyone working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a college or university: sustainability directors, CFOs, presidents, students, faculty, and staff. (Buy it now)

Venturing beyond an individual project or best practice, the book explores a wide range of challenges these committed people are facing, including the real and perceived barriers.

Offering real-world examples from campuses around the country, the book helps readers determine and drive projects based on a different way of thinking about buildings, utilities, perceptions, institutional structures, and all the other components comprising energy systems and campuses.

Colorado State University

This idea of whole-systems thinking is something that readers of RMI materials have come to expect; a method which consistently offers solutions to challenges that present seemingly intractable problems or exceedingly expensive solutions.

If you would like RMI to contact you about our future campus work, please register now to stay informed about our progress.

The book covers five topics:

  • Climate action planning
  • Buildings and utilities
  • Renewable energy
  • Transportation
  • Carbon offsets

“Accelerating Campus Climate Initiatives” was developed through a grant from a generous and anonymous foundation, and in collaboration with Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (www.aashe.org).

Working with our collaborators at the foundation and AASHE was a genuine delight; and we thank them all. AASHE’s deep experience and history with campus leadership and its wide range of contacts complements RMI’s solutions orientation, whole-system analysis, and experience with communities, major corporations, and campuses.

Driven by Three RMI Activities

Research — Summer 2008

Building on existing literature, RMI researched successes and challenges of university and college climate programs, with heavy emphasis on operations.

Campus Visits — October 2008 through February 2009

A team of three RMI staff visited twelve campuses for two days each to directly and more fully understand specific campus climate initiatives and challenges, set the stage for the later workshop, and offer campus officials informal feedback. In August 2008, an RFP was issued through AASHE for campuses that might wish to participate in the RMI visits and workshop. Chosen for diversity of experience, the twelve were:

  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Harford Community College, Bel Air, Maryland

  • Lakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, Wisconsin

  • Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina
  • Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

  • Richland College, Dallas, Texas

  • Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts

  • Unity College, Unity, Maine
  • University of Minnesota at Morris, Morris, Minnesota

  • University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

  • University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont

  • Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

On each of these campuses, we were inspired by the commitment, creativity, and hard work of our fellow climate activists.

Innovation Workshop — June 2009, Denver

Watch more videos on RMI TV

A team of eight RMI staff and colleagues convened three representatives each from the twelve campuses, plus AASHE, Second Nature, and the National Wildlife Federation to help refine participants’ challenges and solutions and to develop greater clarity on how to overcome barriers.

This book complements climate-related work of several excellent nonprofit organizations:

Campus Green Builder

RMI is a partner with Campus Green Builder, a part of Second Nature’s Advancing Green Building in higher education initiative.

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