A few questions answered
Written by Bwog Staff
Details were thin in PrezBo’s announcement regarding Columbia’s decision to curb its carbon habit, which should have dropped in your inbox sometime today. Ever curious, Bwog took its questions to sustainability czar and New Yorker of the Week Nilda Mesa, who made everything a little more concrete.
What data has Columbia gathered on its current carbon emissions? How does the University plan to monitor progress, and are there intermediate targets?
We are in the process of beginning the exhaustive data collection effort. It involves many departments of the University, and will focus on the areas of energy, waste, transportation and refrigerants. Given the complexity of the University, and that this is new, to get accurate figures will take some time. We will be in good shape though, with the measures we already began this year to put in systems to collect the data, such as metering the buildings separately at Morningside, Lamont and Baker Field. We will indeed have intermediate targets over the next 10 years. It’s a very exciting time.
Where will the reduction in emissions come from?
We will know better once we have an accurate inventory identifying the sources. We expect our reductions will mirror the city’s patterns, and will come from such initiatives as installing light sensors and more energy-efficient lighting, installing double-paned glass, and purchasing energy-efficient appliances and boilers, some of which we have already begun to do. Recycling will also be a component, and we are looking at the feasibility of purchasing renewable energy such as wind. It’s a big effort, and we’ll succeed if everyone does their part on even the little things like turning off lights and computers.
How much will this commitment cost the University to implement?
We will know better once the inventory is done and we have a good sense of where the opportunities are. We expect we will save money in many instances over the long run because fuel costs are so high.