Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college located in Oberlin, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1833, it is one of the oldest colleges in the country and has a rich history of social justice activism and progressive education. The college is known for its commitment to sustainability and has been a leader in the decarbonisation movement.
Oberlin College has been working towards decarbonisation for many years. In 2007, the college signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, pledging to become carbon neutral by 2025. Since then, the college has made significant progress towards this goal. In 2013, the college completed a comprehensive energy audit and developed a plan to reduce its carbon footprint. The plan included a variety of measures, such as upgrading lighting and HVAC systems, installing solar panels, and improving building insulation.
One of the key strategies that Oberlin College has used to achieve decarbonisation is the use of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy. A corporate PPA is a contract between a corporation and a renewable energy provider, in which the corporation agrees to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy at a fixed price for a set period of time. This allows the corporation to secure a reliable source of renewable energy, while also supporting the growth of the renewable energy industry.
Oberlin College has signed several corporate PPAs for renewable energy. In 2017, the college signed a 20-year PPA with a wind farm in Illinois, which will provide the college with 50% of its electricity needs. The wind farm is expected to begin operations in 2020 and will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 15,000 homes. The college has also signed a PPA for a solar array in Ohio, which will provide 20% of the college's electricity needs.
In addition to using corporate PPAs, Oberlin College has also invested in on-campus renewable energy projects. The college has installed solar panels on several buildings, including the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies, which is one of the greenest buildings in the world. The center generates more energy than it uses, and the excess energy is fed back into the grid. The college has also installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses the earth's natural temperature to regulate building temperature.
Oberlin College has also made significant progress in reducing its overall energy consumption. The college has implemented a variety of energy efficiency measures, such as upgrading lighting and HVAC systems, improving building insulation, and installing motion sensors to control lighting. These measures have resulted in a 30% reduction in energy consumption since 2005.
In addition to its commitment to decarbonisation, Oberlin College is also committed to corporate energy sustainability. The college has developed a comprehensive sustainability plan, which includes goals for reducing energy consumption, increasing the use of renewable energy, and reducing waste. The college has also implemented a green purchasing policy, which requires the use of environmentally friendly products and services.
Overall, Oberlin College is a leader in the decarbonisation movement and is committed to using renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint. The college's use of corporate PPAs for renewable energy, on-campus renewable energy projects, and energy efficiency measures have all contributed to its progress towards becoming carbon neutral. Additionally, the college's commitment to corporate energy sustainability and green purchasing policies demonstrate its dedication to reducing its environmental impact.