June 27, 2014

ASU's carbon neutrality efforts featured in national magazine

Posted: June 27, 2014
ASU Farrington Softball Stadium
The Alberta B. Farrington Softball Stadium on the ASU Tempe campus shades 828 Sun Devils beneath a solar canopy that contributes to the university's 23.5 megawatts of solar energy generation capacity.
Photo by: Tomas Perez, Skyview-Helicam; courtesy Arizona State University
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Arizona State University leads the June 2014 Business Officer magazine cover story, “Going for Zero.”

Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer is quoted throughout the article that is prefaced with this short introduction:

“Commitments to carbon neutrality have challenged colleges and universities to rethink their energy options and infrastructure, prompting creative financing approaches and new education and outreach opportunities.”

The article begins with Olsen discussing the university’s progress with solar energy generation capacity:

"Arizona State University, Tempe, has more photovoltaic panels (78,000) than students (76,000) on its four campuses. The combined solar-generation capacity of these 80-plus systems is 23.5 megawatts – more than any other U.S. higher education institution, according to Morgan R. Olsen, ASU’s executive vice president, treasurer, and chief financial officer. That capacity will climb to 25 MW by the end of this year.”

“In total, these panels represent more than $176 million in third-party capital investment through public-private partnership agreements – money that ASU hasn’t had to spend and that doesn’t add to the institution’s debt load,” underscores Olsen.

Olsen further explains that since 2005, the university has grown its enrollment and space, but those factors have not hindered its progress toward achieving climate neutrality:

“ASU has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 15.3 percent – a significant achievement, given that during this time the university has added 29 percent more space and increased its student population by 33 percent.”

Additional ASU highlights within the article include:

• ASU President Michael Crow is one of 12 founding members of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

• The university’s climate neutrality goals: achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions (not including transportation) by 2025, and including transportation by 2035.

• SIRF – the Sustainability Initiatives Revolving Fund – offers ASU community members investment support for sustainability projects implemented across the university’s four campuses.

Olsen later notes that moving ASU’s sustainability priorities forward can happen quickly when those who are responsible for ideas and operations come together:

“As CBOs we are in a relatively unique position to advance matters of priority to the institution,” says Olsen. “Because of our intersection between operational and financial functions, if there is something we identify as important, we can serve as connectors.” At ASU, there isn’t a big gap between theory and practice when it comes to sustainability, he notes. “Those responsible for the operations of the institution are sitting next to those whose job it is to come up with new ideas and evaluate those ideas. And when you’re sitting together, it’s a shorter trip from idea to implementation.”

Read the entire article at the link below.

Article source:
Business Officer magazine


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Wendy Craft, wendy.craft@asu.edu
ASU Business and Finance