Hillsborough Community College’s Strategic Plan for College-wide Reduction of Green House Gas Emissions

In December 2008, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) signed on to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment announcing its effort to eliminate the college’s contribution to global warming. In doing so, HCC became the first, two-year institution in the state of Florida committed to establishing goals leading to climate neutral emissions. As a first step, HCC conducted a greenhouse gas emission study in 2010 to establish a baseline to monitor future changes in its carbon footprint. The study found that HCC emitted a total of 37,287 metric tons of CO2 equivalent across all its locations. Stratified data showed student and employee commuting to be the largest contributor to HCC’s carbon footprint accounting for a 76.7% of total emissions. Electricity usage accounted for 22.6%, and the remaining 0.7% came from fossil fuel combustion.

From this initial work, HCC through its Sustainability Council has worked with external consultants to establish a Climate Action Plan (CAP) that will form part of HCC’s strategic direction. The goal, as stated in the CAP, is to reduce HCC’s baseline carbon footprint by 11% by 2015, 34% by 2030, and 100% by 2050 to reach zero net emissions by 2050. The goals will be accomplished through a wide variety of education and outreach activities, new programs and carbon offset strategies. Several educational institutions have already been looking to HCC as a benchmark to aid in their implementation of carbon footprint studies.

For more information on the CAP report visit http://hccfl.edu/departments/ifs/hcc-sustainability/hcc's-climate-action-plan.aspx, or contact Dr. Sudeep Vyapari at svyapari@hccfl.edu