University Initiatives Reduce Greenhouse Gas and Embrace Environmental Stewardship

Engineers, managers, regulators, and administrators dedicated to making the earth a better place to live will convene at Fordham on March 2, as the University hosts a City of New York Carbon Challenge partner meeting.

The meeting will bring together representatives from a variety of city-based institutions at the Lincoln Center campus for a discussion of best practices.

The University joined the carbon challenge in 2007, and has taken numerous steps to limit its greenhouse gas output, even as it has expanded its physical footprint with spaces such as the new Law School building and four new residence halls.

For its efforts, Fordham was featured in NYC Carbon Challenge Handbook for Universities and Hospitals, a reference manual that the city issued in December that aggregates participants’ best practices to achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions in their buildings.

Marco Valera, vice president for Facilities Management, said that one of the initiatives the University is still on target to meet is replacing every single light bulb with an LED by early 2017. His department is also looking at options to add 1.2 megawatts of solar power (about 20 percent of the University’s total electric base load) to its utility purchasing portfolio.

The University has also prioritized care for flora. On February 17, the Arbor Day foundation honored Fordham with a 2015 Tree Campus USA recognition for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

The university earned the designation because it satisfied five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and a student service-learning project.

The university celebrated its entry into the Tree Campus USA program in April 2015 with the planting of a 15-foot high, 800-pound pin oak tree that had been transplanted from the Louis Calder Center in Armonk.

Valera said the two initiatives compliment each other and exemplify the Jesuit ideal of acting as stewards of the earth.

“Its good to see that your work is recognized, and it’s work that we will be doing in perpetuity as far as I’m concerned,” he said.