June 15, 2020
Kenyon has announced plans to resume in-person instruction for fall semester. Read more here.
Kenyon’s progress towards becoming carbon neutral is being tracked through extensive carbon data reporting and internal assessments. Kenyon’s Office of Green Initiatives annually compiles institutional data in SIMAP, a reporting and analysis platform for Scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions. This includes student and faculty travel, utility consumptions, food, paper, and water use and accounts for renewable energy generation and carbon sinks, such as college-managed forests and wetlands.
In 2015, Kenyon was responsible for emitting a total of 28,744 metric tons of CO₂ equivalent (MTCO2e) into the atmosphere. Using an online EPA carbon equivalency calculator, this total is equivalent to 3,035 homes’ energy use for one year (EPA 2017). Purchased electricity is the single largest component of Kenyon’s carbon inventory at 17,286 MTCO2e in 2015, or 60% of the college’s total carbon emissions that year. Natural gas and other fossil fuels used on campus, air travel, and solid waste are also significant contributors. With 1,669 full-time students in 2015, Kenyon emitted 17.22 MTCO2e per student.
Reporting is essential for sustainability action and planning, as it serves as a base for assessing fields for improvement and guiding sustainable development on campus.
In order to reach net-zero emissions, Kenyon will focus simultaneously on three broad strategies: reducing demand, improving energy efficiency, and acquiring high-quality, accountable carbon offsets. With limited financial and human resources, we will prioritize categories and projects that deliver the largest emissions reductions in the shortest periods of time.
Check out our progress in some of the most important target areas:
To achieve carbon neutrality, Kenyon is taking steps towards reducing demand and optimizing energy consumption, increasing renewable electricity usage and improving building efficiency through renovations and new constructions.
LEED-certified buildings: All new construction, including the new art facilities, North Campus residence halls, and the West Quad, are either LEED-certified or built to at least LEED Silver standards. This will ensure that energy efficiency remains a top priority in the building process. Find out more about the certification.
Watersense devices: In an effort to improve water efficiency, EPA-approved water fixtures are being installed in all new construction projects and retrofitted in older buildings. The initiative includes low-flow shower nozzles and sinks, low-consumption water closets, dual-flush toilets, and waterless urinals. It is expected that the water-saving devices will become universal within a year.
When funding maintenance and repair projects, all proposals that increase energy efficiency, typically in the form of better technology, will be prioritized. This ensures that buildings on campus are not expending more energy than necessary and helps Kenyon move closer to its carbon neutrality target. The money saved from these projects is allocated to the Green Revolving Fund for the first 3-5 years of saving.
Solar installations on campus: In 2015, Kenyon College had its first deployment of a solar panel array. This 19kW system located on the Kenyon Farm is expected to generate upwards of 85% of the energy used by the farm. Site evaluation and installation involved the first-ever solar power independent study where students got hands-on looks at all aspects of residential solar power.
In 2016, another solar panel array was installed on The Village Inn. The new panels power the three apartments above The Village Inn and are projected to offset 80% of the power used by the residents. Eric Holdener, assistant professor of physics, and students in his “Solar Power Systems: Science, Policy and Practicum” class facilitated this undertaking along with Jerry Kelly ’96.
With the installation of another array on the new Village Market in 2017, and on the Hoehn-Saric House in 2019, the Solar Power Systems course in the Department of Physics is hard at work.
Right now, a new solar system is being installed on top of Gund Commons that is expected to produce 60 kW. There is more solar to come: with the construction of the new West Quad, Kenyon is looking to increase the solar power production on campus in the near future.
Energy Performance Contract (EPC): Kenyon's vision for this project is to reduce waste and improving facilities. We are on target to achieve the set goals as we are seeing reductions in energy consumption and many spaces have received improved lighting/space temperature control upgrades. Find out more about the project.