Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.51
Liaison Jennifer Lamy
Submission Date July 14, 2022

STARS v2.2

Emerson College
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 4.00 Jennifer Lamy
Campus Sustainability Manager
Campus Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in curriculum and/or research?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to academics and the plan(s) in which they are published:
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Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address student, employee, or community engagement for sustainability?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to engagement and the plan(s) in which they are published:
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Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address sustainability in operations?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to operations and the plan(s) in which they are published:

From 2009 Climate Action Plan:

Dorm Energy Competitions – Inter-dorm energy competitions have grown increasingly popular in recent years and have been shown to be effective in reducing dorm energy usage by up to 20% during competitions. Long-term reductions resulting from the competitions are less easily defined. For the sake of this analysis, we assume a lasting 5% reduction for each of the first 2 years and then a 2% annual reduction thereafter. This is anticipated to be the most effective
mitigation measure in the long-term because it will permeate a culture of sustainability practices. The estimated GHG reduction from this measure will be 161 metric tons in the first year, 314 metric tons in the second year, 372 metric tons in the third year, increasing up to 1,075 metric tons below baseline in the 12th year.

Computer Lab Power Settings – The College has several computer labs with computer that are left turned on continuously. The College will coordinate with its IT department to actively manage the power settings in campus computing resources to ensure that they are only turned on when necessary. It is difficult to accurately predict the GHG emissions reductions that will be achieved by this measure because the ultimate result is unknown. However, a conservative estimated GHG reduction from this measure is 10 metric tons per year.

Renewable Energy and Carbon Offsets
It is clear that while there are several opportunities to reduce direct and indirect emissions
associated with the College there is no way to eliminate them entirely short of purchasing
renewable energy and emissions offsets. As part of its commitment under the ACUPCC, the College must achieve climate neutrality; i.e. net zero emissions. Therefore the College must
purchase Renewable Energy Credits and Carbon Offsets to achieve that goal.
Renewable Energy Credits – The College currently purchases Green-e certified Renewable
Energy Credits (RECs) from Community Wind for 20% of its campus electricity usage. In
accordance with the ACUPCC commitment, the college will incrementally increase its REC
purchase percentage by 8% every 2 years up to 100% of its electricity consumption by 2029.
The purchased volume for each REC contract will be based on the previous year’s electricity
consumption times the percentage of RECs for the contract year. E.g. in 2011 the REC purchase volume will be 28% of the 2010 electricity usage of the College. The increase is incremental to limit the budget impact in any given year. Covering 100% of the College’s current electric load at current prices will cost anywhere from $30,000-$60,000 per year in today’s dollars. This purchase will eliminate (via offset) all of the emissions associated with the College’s electricity usage.
Carbon Offsets – The College will purchase Carbon Offsets to offset emissions from direct
combustion, district steam usage, vehicle fleet, and commuting. The College will only purchase offsets that have been verified by a third party to be in accordance with either the Voluntary Carbon Standard or the Gold Standard for Carbon Offsets. There are many project types that can generate Carbon Offsets, ranging from forestry to renewable energy to industrial process improvement. The College will aim to purchase offsets from projects that are consistent with its overall values and mission. This purchase will increase incrementally at a similar schedule to the REC purchase, reaching 100% of emissions in 2029. Offset pricing can vary substantially depending on what type of project is generating the offsets, but at $5/metric ton (which is expensive for voluntary offsets) the annual offset cost in 2029 will be an estimated $37,000 in today’s dollars.
While REC and Offset purchase volumes will correlate to the schedule in Table 5, they may be purchased more strategically than the simple escalation laid out in the schedule. REC and Offset prices are subject to market volatility, and the College is considering a strategic purchasing approach in which it purchases partial volumes for future years at different advance dates. This will help to smooth out market volatility and at the same time allow the College to take advantage of purchase opportunities when they arise.


Does the institution have a published plan or plans that include measurable sustainability objectives that address diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainable investment/finance; or wellbeing?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives related to administration and the plan(s) in which they are published:
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Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

The institution’s highest guiding document (upload):
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Website URL where the institution’s highest guiding document is publicly available:
Which of the following best describes the inclusion of sustainability in the highest guiding document?:
Minor theme

The institution's sustainability plan (upload):
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Website URL where the institution's sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body?:
No

The formal statement in support of sustainability:
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The institution’s definition of sustainability:
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Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter No
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) No
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter No
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Sustainability No
SDG Accord No
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) No
UN Global Compact No
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) No

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:

Emerson College is a member of the Climate Leadership Network managed by Second Nature. The College has committed to carbon neutrality by 2030 and resiliency planning through the Climate Commitment.


Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability planning efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Information above regarding the College's Climate Action Plan refers to the 2009 plan, which is the most recently published plan. The campus community is currently beginning the process of creating a new Sustainability Action Plan to drive progress across the institution. The new plan will include academic coverage of sustainability themes, specific engagement goals, and more precise timelines for action steps.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.