St. Paul, Minn. – Macalester has been selected to participate in the Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality program. Over the next six months, the college’s Facilities Services and Sustainability Office will receive pro bono energy planning and consulting services from Ever-Green Energy, a St. Paul-based company that partners with community utilities, health care and higher education institutions to develop and operate sustainable energy systems.
Nina Axelson, Vice President for Sustainability and Outreach at Ever-Green, said Macalester stood out among the applicants because the college has already done so much work in updating its energy infrastructure and improving energy efficiency.
“Knowing that we can come in and spend most of our time focused on, not just doing a study, but looking at the real-time opportunities to integrate renewable energy, to integrate carbon-free solutions, and to put together a capital plan that matches your campus master plan to come up with realistic solutions is what made Macalester a great fit for the program,” said Axelson.
Ever-Green’s goal is to help higher education institutions identify the most implementable solutions that can improve energy system reliability and efficiency, while simultaneously developing a long-term strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. The final plan will be tailored to Macalester’s needs and be ready for implementation right away, said Axelson.
“We’re anti-dusty reports that sit on shelves,” she said.
Michael Pumroy, Energy Manager for Facilities Services, and Christie Manning, the college’s Director of Sustainability, are spearheading the collaborative effort.
“This program will hopefully be a means to create a realistic path and timeline to achieve carbon neutrality for the campus—a way to put actions, dates, options, and costs on the table,” said Pumroy.
“This kind of comprehensive planning is beyond the scope of what we could do in-house,” added Manning, who is also an assistant professor of environmental studies and psychology (NTT).
Manning said she is particularly excited to work with Facilities Services and Ever-Green to bring together Mac’s long standing goals for carbon neutrality and environmental justice.
“Where is our water, food and energy coming from, how is our energy extracted, who is impacted, and how can we meet our needs more sustainably are things I’m looking forward to learning more about with this program,” said Manning. “Addressing climate change is a moral and ethical obligation of our institution and working toward carbon neutrality is fundamentally necessary.”
The program will involve an assessment of the college’s data collection processes and a review of Macalester’s energy needs. Ever-Green will also examine opportunities that are most viable for short- and long-term implementation and provide a detailed plan that will ultimately lead to significant carbon reductions on campus.
This is just Ever-Green Energy’s second cohort for its Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality program. Axelson said the program’s broader goal is to work with schools like Macalester that are further along in achieving their clean energy goals in order to develop models that other schools can follow.
“For us, we’re trying to get to the point where we’re changing the actual industry through projects like this,” she said.
October 14 2020Back to top