Partnering with Ever-Green Energy for a Cleaner Future

The engineering consultant will lead development of Kenyon’s Carbon Neutrality Master Plan and explore ecological solutions to remove atmospheric carbon for a more sustainable and resilient future.

By David Hoyt ’14

To achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, Kenyon is partnering with Ever-Green Energy to develop a Carbon Neutrality Master Plan involving a unique perspective and discipline — ecology. The project team will look to reduce the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere on campus through its energy systems and facilities, while also utilizing soil and vegetation to increase carbon sequestration. 

Ever-Green will lead the work by evaluating the existing energy system and analyzing the low-carbon solutions available to Kenyon. The master plan will define an effective, feasible path to campus decarbonization that considers the College’s short-term and long-term priorities. Planning will be overseen by the Office of Green Initiatives and Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability Ian Smith with the assistance of a steering committee to be named.

“I am delighted to be a part of Kenyon’s process for creating its approach not only to the technical aspects of carbon neutrality, but also to the community-building possibilities presented,” Smith said. “With the College about to enter its third century, now is the time to redefine its relationship with energy and to build both operational and social resilience in the process.”

For Kenyon’s particular approach, Ever-Green is partnering with ecological experts including EcoSmith Consulting and a team from Resource Environmental Solutions. In addition to mitigating the effects of climate change, ecological solutions to decarbonization can yield increased habitat for pollinators and other wildlife; improved soil fertility and capacity for infiltrating stormwater runoff; reduced soil erosion; economic benefits for landowners; and opportunities for recreation and wellness in the community.

The Ever-Green team will provide expertise working on college campuses as well as knowledge of energy systems. Together with their ecological partners and experience in nature-based carbon sequestration, Ever-Green will make recommendations for specific actions and timelines to achieve Kenyon’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2040. 

The first step will be Ever-Green leading Kenyon stakeholders through a visioning process to establish guiding principles for the master plan. After that, energy and ecological experts will visit campus to collect data and assess existing energy infrastructure and the natural landscape. Once data is collected and evaluations are complete, the team will determine potential solutions as well as their greenhouse gas emissions’ savings, costs, and feasibility for inclusion in the master plan. The plan will then be reviewed by contributors and stakeholders, with final recommendations to be delivered to the College’s Board of Trustees by May 2023.