Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.79
Liaison Katharine Gross
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2021

STARS v2.2

Lehigh University
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Katharine Targett Gross
Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Joint Virtual Power Purchase Agreement for Unprecedented Renewable Energy Purchase

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

In February 2020, Lehigh University announced a partnership with three other schools to purchase renewable energy as a collective (pending legal reviews). Together we will be purchasing the largest amount of solar power of any group of independent higher education institutions nationally. The schools also represent the first group of colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to enter into a power purchasing agreement. The announcement was made at Second Nature’s 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit.

The schools have signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) (pending legal reviews) to buy renewable energy that will be generated by a newly-constructed 200+ acre solar farm located in Texas. Fewer than 50 of the nation's approximately 4,200 higher education institutions have initiated new large-scale renewable energy projects. The new solar farm will be the 12th largest higher education renewable energy project in terms of megawatts and, because it will be built as a result of this purchase, it will add additional renewable energy to the country's grid.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Energy
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
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Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Successful Completion of the Real Food Challenge

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

The Real Food Challenge (RFC) is a national campaign to encourage campuses to increase the ratio of food purchased from "conventional" to "real" food. The Office of Sustainability, Lehigh Dining Services, Purchasing Services, and Sodexo have collaborated on this challenge for the past seven years.

In 2017, President Simon signed the “Real” Food Campus Commitment, which pledged that Lehigh would purchase at least 20 percent of its food annually from local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, or humane sources by 2020. This commitment helps Lehigh to promote a healthy food system that not only supports environmental stewardship, but also respects human rights and facilitates campus involvement.

When this interdepartmental collaboration began in 2013, Lehigh purchased 2 percent “real” food and reached 15 percent by 2019. Upon completing the Real Food Challenge this year, Lehigh has achieved its goal of purchasing 20.3 percent real food!


Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Food & Dining
Purchasing

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-7, OP-11

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
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Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Lehigh Received a Grant from PA Department of Environmental Protection for Electric Vehicles

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

In November 2019, Lehigh University Manager of Transportation Services, Bob Bruneio, and Sustainability Officer, Katharine Targett Gross, in collaboration with LU Facilities, I-CPIE, and the Western Regional Office, applied for a grant through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Lehigh is one of 18 local governments, schools, businesses, and organizations to receive a portion of the $2.1 million grant. The $15,000 grant Lehigh received will allow the university to replace two conventional fuel vehicles with two all-electric Chevrolet Bolts (the grant covers the incremental cost difference between a conventional vehicle and an electric vehicle). These new vehicles will be used by project managers in LU Facilities to travel to and from project sites on all three campuses.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Purchasing
Transportation

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
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A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:
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