LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Last week, the University of Lynchburg became the first college or university in the Commonwealth to achieve the title carbon neutrality, a major step in a series of efforts the university has made in recent years to reduce its carbon footprint and increase its commitment to environmental sustainability.
“Climate change is the most significant environmental challenge of our time and one practical way to make a difference is for institutions like ours to not only reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but also support initiatives that reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to offset our own emissions.”Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, Lynchburg University President
Not only has the University of Lynchburg become the first college or university to achieve this status in Virginia, but also the first in the South.
In 2009-10, the university invested nearly $5 million into 21 conservation projects on its main campus.
Water consumption was reduced by 45-percent, courtesy of the installation of low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets as well as “smart” irrigation systems.
Electricity usage at the university dropped by 35-percent.
Back in 2015, Lynchburg, along with other Virginia institutions, entered into an agreement to begin producing solar energy.
The federally-funded SunShot grant allowed the university to conduct feasibility studies with the intention of developing solar power over time.
Currently, the University of Lynchburg is pursuing on-site solar and is close to an agreement with its renewable energy provider, says Steve Bright, Vice President for Business and Finance who committed, back in 2014, to purchasing green energy from Collegiate Clean Energy, a Virginia-based company that uses recycled diesel engines to convert harmful methane emissions from landfills into 100-percent renewable energy.