Center for Environmental Building & Design

University of Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2.0

In 2009, the first Action Plan for Carbon Reduction was adopted by the University to meet the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), with an initial five year period established for initial reduction targets and evaluation. The renewal of the action plan in 2014 has provided the opportunity to revisit and refine the reduction targets. The first five years have revealed a great deal about effecting change at this level and many of the initial assumptions about strategies and rates of change can now be reformulated with greater precision. We are calling this Action Plan 2.0, though the basic goals and approach remain the same.
The most fundamental change has been the recognition that any action plan of this scope will have to be adjusted and revised continuously, and many of the initial tools, strategies, and assumptions have been reformulated to make them more granular and adaptable. Building related utility usage remains the largest source of carbon emissions (~85%), and the largest refinement in method has been the development of tools to track and project the usage of individual buildings. The accuracy of those projections is dramatically improving as the buildings on campus are individually metered for steam and chilled water, and once a body of recorded data has accrued, it will become possible to much more accurately evaluate buildings for improvement.
The most optimistic aspect of the initial plan was the assumption that the regular renovations of campus buildings were deep enough to involve energy systems and frequent enough to achieve the reduction goals. Both points were recognized early in the five year period and one immediate response was the use of Century Bond funds to effect deeper, energy reduction renovations of 9 campus buildings and less intensive renovations of lighting systems on many more. Those projects represent the depth of work that will have to be sustained over the next few decades and also form the core of the work necessary to achieve the five year targets of Action Plan 2.0.
The TC Chan Center was commissioned to prepare and provide the technical analysis of the building renovation and recommissioning for the revised plan. The effort was headed by the Penn Department of Facilities and Real Estate Services (FRES) and the worked was closely coordinated with the Utilities and Operations sub-committee of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) to develop recommendations for carbon reductions.
Total Carbon Reduction in Buildings (absolute reduction relative to a 2014 baseline)
7.2% reduction by 2019
18.8% reduction by 2042
Energy Reduction in Buildings (absolute reduction relative to a 2014 baseline)
10.2% reduction by 2019
27.1% by 2042