Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.50
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date May 17, 2022

STARS v2.2

University at Buffalo
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Ryan McPherson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Carbon Reduction Challenge

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Launched in the Spring of 2019, the Carbon Reduction Challenge is an interdisciplinary seminar-style science course that relies on subject matter experts from across the UB campus and beyond, encouraging lively discussion of both current events and past developments relevant to our energy and climate future. The main student activity is the semester-long "Carbon Reduction Challenge” project, which is carried out by teams of 2 to 3 students in collaboration with local businesses and organizations. The project involves designing, pitching, and implementing creative strategies to avoid carbon emissions and, where possible, identifying benefits to all three legs of the triple bottom line: People-Planet-Profit. The teams craft targeted proposals to reduce the carbon footprint of the corporate partner and then compete against other teams to see whom can reduce the most amount of carbon in measurable and verified fashion.
The primary goals of the course are:
• to familiarize the students with the science of climate change
• to equip students with the scientific and technical knowledge required to understand America’s current energy infrastructure and alternative energy strategies
• to engage students in an interdisciplinary dialogue about one of the most pressing and complex problems facing modern societies
• to inspire and equip students to become active participants and communicators in shaping our sustainable energy future
• to provide actionable plans and strategies for specific organizations to reduce their carbon footprint and advance UB, New York State, and global goals of mitigating the effects of climate disruption
• to implement student initiated strategies that reduce GHG emissions
Over the past three years, the class has partnered with the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable and ultimately collaborated with over a dozen businesses, governments and leading organizations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This also saved businesses thousands of dollars through practices that involve anti-idling protocols, telecommuting, smart heating and cooling practices and a host of other actions.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.