Energy & Emissions
We are actively pursuing ways to implement programs and technologies that will improve energy efficiency and encourage members of the campus community to reduce energy use. While energy conservation and efficiency are two our most useful strategies to reducing attributable GHG emissions and energy costs, we are also very aware of-- and are beginning to explore-- the potential that alternative/renewable energy can serve in our mission to become a carbon neutral campus.
In our efforts to reduce GHG emissions, we cannot solely rely upon increasingly efficient technologies. Energy conservation practices will ultimately decrease our quantity of energy consumed, thus reducing energy costs and increasing the amount of available financial capital. Energy conservation measure are being integrated through student actions, policies, and other initiatives in order to effectively alter cultural energy use behavior.
As a premier educational institution, we recognize our obligation to provide the best educational experience and facilities for our entire campus community. Ultimately, our goal is to use less energy while providing the same high quality education. Energy efficiency is an essential pillar, along with energy conservation and policy in our energy stability. Progress toward reducing our environmental impact and financial implications will be addressed by exploring multiple energy efficiency opportunities. Energy efficient lighting retrofits and building renovations are two of the most important tools we have at our disposal.
Renewable/Alternative Energy Options
The strategy laid out in the College's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan calls for an initial focus on energy systems retrofits before beginning to pursue on-site renewable energy installations in later years as we pursue net-zero emissions by 2050. Because of the relatively expensive cost of small-scale renewable energy options and our modest endowment, return on investment analysis does not currently support a decision to pursue on-site renewable energy.
However, due to substantial student interest in renewable energy, we have begun laying the foundation for those future investments. Kalamazoo College received its first on-site renewable energy in September 2012 with a 1 kW photovoltaic (solar) array installed as the result of a Senior Individualized Project (SIP).
We also purchase green energy from our energy supplier. As of January 1, 2009, we are buying 42% of the LEED Silver-certified Weimer K. Hicks Student Center’s electricity from wind and solar-generated power from Consumers Energy.