Carbon Neutrality


Carbon neutrality by 2025

Carbon neutrality occurs when energy and resources usage does not increase the net amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over time. To lessen the college’s negative environmental impact and to demonstrate leadership, Macalester is committed to being carbon neutral by 2025.

To ensure our efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2025 are on track, we’ve set benchmarks, as follows:

2015: 17.5 percent reduction from 2007-2008 levels
2020: 35 percent reduction from 2007-2008 levels
2025: 52 percent reduction from 2007-2008 levels, 48 percent would be offset obtained from off-site renewable energy.

  • Serve as a model for sustainability for colleges and the community as a whole by managing Macalester as a leader in sustainability in operations
  • Prepare students to be community and world leaders in sustainability through academic and co -curricular educational efforts
  • Cultivate and empower leadership by students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumni
  • Partner with other institutions to strategically leverage broader change toward sustainable systems


Invest in Energy Efficiency

The potential cost savings from increasing energy efficiency on campus are significant; energy efficiency strategies should be implemented as soon as possible. A campus energy re-commissioning of the main campus buildings in 2010 recommended projects totaling $371,500, with an expected two-year payback. Savings from these projects can be reallocated to implement the following strategies thereby creating a self funding path to carbon neutrality.

Transition to Carbon Neutral and Renewable Fuel Sources

Macalester’s electrical emissions benefit from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard that requires Xcel Energy to generate 30 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Macalester also has some limited opportunities to develop renewable sources on campus.

Offset the Remaining Emissions

Preliminary analyses show that Macalester will likely need to offset or develop offsite renewable energy for 48 percent of its emissions by 2025. Offsets (well-researched and tracked “traditional” offsets or off-site renewable energy generation) should be implemented after energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy options are in place.


We will reach out to regional, national, and international higher education and sustainability networks for inspiration, assistance, and joint endeavors. Collaboration will occur across hierarchical lines, incorporating ideas of our students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, and community experts.