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Ten Years. Ten Strategies.

UB’s 10 in 10 is a roadmap of 10 innovative, engaging and digestible steps we are taking to increase climate action throughout the university and put us on a path to net zero emissions by 2030.  These ten initiatives represent a synthesis of ideas expressed by a diverse array of stakeholders through a robust campus engagement process.  They also form a framework for our implementation efforts with each of the ten categories corresponding to a working group that is advancing action within the area.

Carbon pricing is a system that requires polluters to pay when they emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. By phasing in carbon pricing at UB, we make ourselves accountable, operationally and financially, for the adverse impact we have every day to our climate. There’s nothing like economic incentive to motivate change.
We have traditionally made electricity by burning things. Today, more and more electricity is generated from cleaner and renewable energy sources like hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar. Because these sources naturally are replenished and produce little to no emissions when converted to electricity they work to decrease the adverse effects of climate change. By 2025, UB will directly purchase 100% of our electricity from clean energy sources.
Electric vehicles are everywhere. They’re safer, more reliable, economically competitive and most importantly can be fueled by clean energy sources. With a fleet of nearly 500 vehicles on campus – from buses to facilities vans to tractors, snowplows and more – UB is heavily dependent on our wheels. Electrifying our campus fleet is critical to making a big dent in our carbon footprint while also increasing campus safety through automation. By 2025, new university mobility purchases will be fueled by clean and renewable electricity, thus phasing out the use of fossil fuel.
Keeping us warm in the winter and cool in the summer doesn’t come free. Traditional heating and cooling systems leave huge carbon footprints. Adapting our buildings with zero-carbon alternatives, like efficient heat pumps fueled by clean energy, will help us reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions we burn to stay comfortable. UB will establish a net zero-carbon heating and cooling strategy for buildings on all three campuses.
EPA estimates that 75% of the waste stream is reusable, yet we only recycle about 30% of it. Diverting waste from the landfills and incinerators benefits not only the climate, but also the bottom line (most estimates say that 40% of US carbon emissions come from materials!). Looking closely at what we buy, what we use, what we throw away, where we send our waste, sets us up for dramatic carbon savings. Rethinking, reusing, recycling, composting. It all makes a big difference. UB will achieve net zero waste across all material streams by 2030.
It’s easy to take for granted how much energy a single building consumes. From electricity to heating, air conditioning and water usage. Most of us are comfortable with simple actions, like turning off the lights, but we can achieve even bigger gains from other behaviors and key conservation strategies.  UB will strive to reduce building energy use by 30% through behavior-based and technological conservation measures.
Automobiles, trucks, buses. Transportation is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions here at UB. It’s not hard to envision the impact when looking at our parking lots during the academic year. Recent programs such as bike sharing, electric vehicle charging stations and car pooling initiatives are being embraced by our campus community. But there’s a lot more we can do to encourage trading individual cars for greener alternatives. UB will develop zero carbon commuting pathways for the campus community.
Food – growing, farming, processing, transporting and disposing of it– places an enormous carbon burden on the climate. Understanding our diets and making simple changes – like eating less meat – can have a big impact. UB will study and quantify the carbon impact of our food systems, and set goals to reduce food-related carbon emissions by half in 2030.
In some situations, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions is not feasible: think air travel.  Where current solutions do not exist or eliminating a critical business function would cause monumental hardship, UB will work to build localized carbon offset programs that reduce an equivalent amount of carbon emission (e.g., planting trees and weatherization projects for communities in need). UB plans to obtain enough carbon offsets to fill the gap thus obtaining carbon neutrality by 2030.