Overall Rating Bronze - expired
Overall Score 42.23
Liaison Ken Foster
Submission Date July 15, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Concordia College - Moorhead
OP-T2-2: Local Offsets Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Peter Schultz
Associate Professor, Chair
Art Department
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a local offsets program through which the institution seeks to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by implementing projects that reduce GHG emissions in the local community?:

A brief description of the program:

Longspur Prairie Fund: Wetland Prairie Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Sustainability (by Dr. Peter Schultz)

North American wetlands and tall/mixed-grass prairies, including the wetlands and prairies of the High Plains, can provide significant sequestration of atmospheric carbon and play an important role in the ecological balance to our region. Concordia College is located in the heart of the Prairie Pothole Region and in an ideal position to explore and utilize our local landscapes.

In the Spring of 2013, Concordia’s Office of Global Learning partnered with Longspur Prairie Fund, LLC (LPF) to use 160 acres of LPF’s restored native prairie and wetlands near Ulen, MN (Site 1, Ulen = S1U) as a designated carbon offset for the air travel associated with Concordia’s Summer School in Santorini. Using the proprietary data model developed by BlueSkyModel – which estimates that a modern airplane produces about 0.25 pounds of carbon per passenger per mile – LPF determined that the Summer School in Santorini was responsible for roughly 82,720 pounds, or about 42 tons, of carbon waste. This figure was based on ca. 30 students and faculty x ca. 0.25 pounds of C x ca. 11,029 miles of round trip air travel. On the other side of the equation, the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota has estimated that roughly one ton of carbon can be stored in each acre of restored wetland prairie annually (Gleason 2005). S1U can store roughly 160 metric tons of carbon annually. These data, however, are notoriously imprecise and are subject to a myriad of variables (Kjelgaardard 2008; Fahey 2010). In order to reach an authentic carbon offset, the estimate of carbon waste produced by the Santorini program’s air travel was increased by 25%; correspondingly, the estimated carbon sequestration potential S1U was reduced by 25%. Using these conservative figures, Concordia’s Summer School in Santorini is responsible for about 53 tons of carbon, and S1U can offset 120 tons of carbon waste annually. The partnership between the Office of Global Learning and Longspur Prairie Fund was able to account for more than 200% of the carbon waste associated with the air travel used by Concordia’s Summer School in Santorini. In addition to the carbon benefit, restored mixed prairie of this sort is a valuable part of the High Plains’ natural heritage.

The website URL where information about the program is available:

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