The Ohio State University pursues climate neutrality with comprehensive sustainability master plan Print
Friday, 24 September 2010 08:19

Seattle-based Mithun, in partnership with Heapy Engineering and green building consultants Yudelson Associates, reported that it is nearing completion of a comprehensive sustainability master plan for The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the nation with an enrollment of more than 66,000 students.
OSU_aerial“This project presented a great opportunity to create a national model for other major universities,” said Brodie Bain, Mithun Partner and Lead Campus Planner. “We anticipate that lessons learned here and practices adopted in the pursuit of climate neutrality to provide valuable information for colleges and universities across the nation seeking to address issues of climate change within the context of a core mission, multiple activities and complex organizational systems.”

The Sustainability Plan is being developed along with the University’s Climate Action Plan to position to set the Ohio State University on an ambitious course toward climate neutrality.

According to Mathin, master planning for campuses traditionally has been spatially and program based; today, master plans must be supportive of the natural systems by minimizing water and energy use and reducing the institution's carbon footprint. Mithun’s integrated approach to campus master planning includes special emphasis on ecological functionality – incorporating strategies that mitigate impact and restore the important functions of a healthy ecosystem.   The work for OSU builds upon sustainable concepts of the university’s physical Framework Plan (by Sasaki Associates) and Energy & Infrastructure Plan (by AEI), including recommendations to support a more functional campus ecosystem.
OSU_aerial_quadAmong the key challenges to sustainability planning for a university is understanding the myriad activities that are already happening at the grassroots level and determining the best strategies for coordinating efforts campus-wide. Opportunities included tying operations with curriculum, coordinating multiple research activities, applying new knowledge obtained through research to campus practices, and sharing lessons learned across divisions.

The Sustainability Plan was initiated as a result of the University signing “The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC),”a climate challenge that provides a framework and support for America’s colleges and universities to implement comprehensive plans in pursuit of climate neutrality. Participating institutions have agreed to the following:

·         Complete an emissions inventory.
·         Within two years, set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral.
·         Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
·         Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience.
·         Make the action plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available.

Project Partners
Mithun (Seattle, WA and San Francisco, CA): Lead Campus Sustainability Planning
Heapy Engineering (Dayton, OH): Project Management / Sustainable Building Systems
Yudelson Associates (Tucson, AZ): Green Strategy Consultants

Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 08:39