In 2007, The University of Idaho joined the Chicago Climate Exchange and the American Colleges and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
As part of this effort, the University of Idaho Sustainability Center (UISC) completed a greenhouse gas assessment for the university for 2005-2007, using 2005 as its baseline year. The UISC developed a Climate Action Plan (CAP), completed 2010. To develop the CAP, UISC organized an Energy and GHG Planning committee tasked with guiding plan development. That committee set carbon-equivalent emissions reduction goals of 25% by 2012, 50% by 2016, 85% by 2022 and 100% by 2030. These goals were endorsed by the Sustainability Steering Committee and the Climate Leadership Committee.
The University of Idaho’s commitment to energy efficiency and reducing GHG gases goes far beyond these formal commitments. The university has implement many projects over the years to reduce energy use, including an Energy Performance Contract that is implementing $35 million worth of energy conservation measures on campus, completed 2011. In addition, the university is largely heated and cooled using steam generated from a biomass boiler. The boiler burns wood chips, a renewable source of energy, resulting in a relatively low carbon footprint for campus as compared to other universities. UISC also led the successful effort to pass a UI Sustainable Building Policy, which requires that all future new buildings and major remodels will at least meet the Silver LEED standard, ensuring a higher level of energy efficiency in future buildings than previously required.
UISC has numerous programs focused on understanding and reducing our carbon footprint. In addition to the UI Carbon Assessment and the CAP, UISC has organized numerous awareness-raising events on campus, has provided mini grants for student projects that reduce our carbon footprint, has organized student projects to improve composting, minimize waste and increase recycling, reduce paper use on campus, among other projects, all of which reduce our carbon footprint.