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

STARS v2.2

University at Buffalo
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Derek Nichols
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
UB Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
UB's 10 in 10: Advancing Climate Action

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

UB’s 10 in 10 is a roadmap of 10 innovative, engaging and digestible steps we are taking to increase climate action throughout the university and put us on a path to net zero emissions by 2030. These ten initiatives represent a synthesis of ideas expressed by a diverse array of stakeholders through a robust campus engagement process. They also form a framework for our implementation efforts with each of the ten categories corresponding to a working group that is advancing action within the area.

This award winning strategy leverages unique visual icons, storytelling and simplification as a vehicle to increase connection, understanding and digestibility with the often obtuse and hard to comprehend world of carbon emission reduction.

These 10 initiatives represent a synthesis of ideas expressed by a diverse array of stakeholders through a robust two-year campus engagement process, which included students, faculty, staff and the community. They also form a framework for UB’s implementation efforts, with each of the 10 categories corresponding to a working group led by a senior leader (a CAPtain) who advances action within the area. This innovative approach was a very conscious approach to enable the campus community to take complex information and view it in a clearer, more simplified manner. The dashboards and other tools also demonstrate how the university is holding itself accountable toward achieving its goals.

This aggressive plan with a 2030 carbon neutrality date was an integral part in receiving the distinction of being Number 1 in climate action according to the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The pool of universities that submitted data for SDG 13 totaled 566, a 50% increase from the previous year. Despite this large increase in submissions, UB was rated the top higher education institution globally for performance in climate action research, low-carbon energy use, environmental education measures (including UB’s work with the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable) and commitment to carbon neutrality.

UB was award this ranking also because of reducing its carbon footprint by 33 percent each of the last three years by transitioning to renewable energy sources. UB accomplished this significant feat through a host of initiatives including direct purchasing of clean energy through a 4.5-megawatt solar array on the former Bethlehem Steel site, on-campus solar generation, offsite purchases and most recently leveraging innovative power purchase agreements to assist with its goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy. This work has been fueled through several New York State incentive programs including the REV Campus Challenge's Energy to Lead initiative. Because of all this, the University won an Environmental Excellence award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.


Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Air & Climate
Energy
Purchasing
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):
IN-D, PA-1

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Scaling Solar on Campus

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

On our own campus we have worked diligently to evaluate our potential, conducted numerous different land and building studies, and provided a comprehensive multi-year analysis that resulted in key potential renewable energy sites that were then put out for bid. Throughout 2021 five new ground mount sites were constructed with an overall capacity of 11,220,446 kWh. In addition, four new rooftops are also in active construction with an overall estimated energy output of 1,490,000 kWh. This new on campus solar capacity increases UB’s renewable energy output over twenty times our initial campus investment with the Solar Strand and Norton Roof array. The scaling has produced significant impact—the equivalent of reducing 1,000,000 gallons of gasoline from being burned annually or taking nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles off the road each year. And perhaps most notable we also believe that this new onsite capacity makes UB one of the top higher education on campus solar producers! In addition, the sites will be modeled similarly to UB’s award-winning Solar Strand (located at the Flint Road entrance to the North Campus) and remain accessible with no boundary fencing.


Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate
Energy
Grounds
Coordination & Planning

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):
IN-B, OP-2, OP-6

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Student Waste Reduction Programming: UBReUSE, HIRED, Food Recovery Network

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

UBReUSE is a student-run campus waste diversion program supported by UB Sustainability and Campus Living. The program captures goods during move-out, that are useful, but no longer wanted or needed by their owner. UBReUSE's goal is to connect these materials with new owners and reduce the amount of material going to landfill.

UB coordinates a free professional clothing boutique, Hired, which is dedicated to providing students and recent graduates with gently used apparel, accessories, and personal care items that will help them achieve their career development goals.

Hired is also a space for students of all genders, including students who may be in transition, to obtain clothing in a safe and welcoming setting.

Hired's inventory, is supplied through generous donations by community members, and has a wide array of high-quality, contemporary items. Students may try on as many items as they wish and take home one complete outfit per semester.

The Food Recovery Network collects food from the C3 Dining Hall that is not served to redistribute to its partner, the Response to Love Center, a food pantry and dining site on Buffalo’s East Side. FRN has conducted 33 recoveries since April 2021, which amounted to 2,600 pounds of food. The program expects to gather 7,000 tons by the end of the semester.


Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Waste
Coordination & Planning

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):
AC-8, OP-18

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

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.