The UW has joined with other major Seattle employers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are a result of their business operations.
The employers, known as the Seattle Climate Partnership, have pledged to reduce facilities-related greenhouse gas emissions as well as those from vehicle fleets, while at the same time cutting costs. Specific actions could include:
- participating in a green power program;
- ensuring that new and renovated facilities are designed to be energy efficient;
- working with utilities to audit facilities and operations to determine which improvements will be cost-effective;
- increasing the use of clean fuels and clean vehicles;
- promoting waste reduction and recycling;
- promoting and offering incentives for commute trip reduction;
- establishing an organizational education program to encourage employees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Most if not all of these actions have been under way at the UW for some time. The University earlier this year announced a green power purchasing program, and is now purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions. New and renovated campus buildings are being constructed to meet “green building” standards. For more than 20 years the UW has had a very vigorous recycling program. Its UPASS program for reducing use of single occupancy vehicles on campus has received national recognition. And it has been partnering with Seattle City Light to reduce energy consumption in offices, laboratories and classrooms, avoiding 478 million kilowatt-hours in electricity purchases over the past 10 years.
“Climate change is one of the most significant challenges of our time, and the scientific consensus is that most of the observed global warming in temperatures over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the human-induced increase in greenhouse gas concentrations,” says President Emmert. “Recognizing that leadership is fundamental to ensure a legacy for the future and to protect the healthy and safe learning and working environments valued by the UW, we look forward to working with the founding partners of the Seattle Climate Partnership, including the City of Seattle, to promote the communitywide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”