Over four years ago Fordham’s President, Joseph McShane, S.J., joined Mayor Bloomberg’s 2017 challenge to New York City institutions of higher education to reduce greenhouse emission 30% by 2017.
Mr. Marco Valera, VP for Facilities Management, was asked to Chair the University’s Sustainability Committee and to develop a plan to meet this challenge. The Committee, which consists of administrators, faculty, staff, students and consultants, meet monthly to discuss keys issues such as improving recycling, university-wide energy and greenhouse gas audit, as well as other Sustainability efforts on campus.
The first step taken was an audit of the University’s sources of greenhouse emissions, which come mainly either as a byproduct of electricity generation, or direct emissions from the campus physical plant in the form of fossil fuels.
The audit showed that a major source of emission was as a result of using oil at the Bronx Rose Hill campuses boiler plants. This source alone contributed 10% of the total greenhouse gas emitted by Fordham. Seeing this as an opportunity to directly and quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the University retrofitted the boilers to burn cleaner natural gas and improved their efficiency by installing new automated boiler controls. Although the plants still retain the ability to use oil as a back-up fuel when called upon by ConEdison to curtail natural gas use for citywide emergencies, the University has been and is committed to only using natural gas for normal operations.
Overall the University’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has thus far achieved a 22% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions and is well on its way to reaching the 30% reduction goal by 2017.