FAU takes step toward analyzing university’s environmental ‘footprint’
By Dale M. King
BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic University is going to examine its impact on global climate change.
FAU recently announced it would participate in a comprehensive sustainability program that will include a lifecycle assessment that will measure the overall carbon footprint of the Boca Raton campus and result in a better understanding of its campus’ impact on the environment.
The process will take about16 weeks to complete, and will be done in association with Boca Raton-based NextLife and Ciba Expert Services, part of global chemical company BASF. ‘
The study will involve dozens of FAU personnel as they examine the university’s overall carbon footprint, water usage, waste and electrical usage.
The findings will then be summarized in the NextLife Environmental Index, a compilation report which will help the university identify and make the necessary changes to help reduce the campus’ overall eco-footprint.
“It is our hope that other universities that are part of American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment will follow in our footsteps,” said Dr. John Hardman, visiting assistant professor in the department of educational leadership in FAU’s College of Education.
“It is an exciting opportunity to get involved in a comprehensive approach to reducing our ecological footprint both locally and further afield.”
FAU faculty and students will work with staff from various FAU departments, such as maintenance, housing, engineering and physical plant, to collect data on water and energy consumption, waste management and greenhouse gas emissions.
This systematic approach will serve to update the FAU Climate Action Plan, and the tools developed during the course of this project will be incorporated into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in various departments.
NextLife is a Boca Raton-based environmental marketing, licensing and solutions company whose mission is to help its trading partners ensure long-term viability through sustainability initiatives that maximize their bottom line, while minimizing their environmental impact.
Ciba Expert Services offers independent, knowledge-based services to users and providers of chemicals and performance materials across a range of industries.
The partnership with NextLife and Ciba Expert Services continues FAU’s goal to raise awareness about sustainability and offers the FAU community an opportunity to be proactive and hands-on in this approach.
During the past few years, FAU also has implemented several other “green” initiatives, including the commitment to the American Colleges and Universities President’s Climate Commitments to develop a climate action plan to guide FAU to reduce its carbon footprint and establish a date to become carbon neutral.
FAU Dining Services continues its promotion of sustainability by offering reusable Eco-Clamshell “to go” containers, and Chartwells catering has made the switch to 100 percent recyclable paper lunch bags.
FAU also created the FAU GReEn Sustainability Living Learning Community in its residence halls; promoted a carpool matching services with incentives such as preferred parking for its faculty and staff; and participated in the nationally-recognized Campus Sustainability Day, engaging FAU’s students, staff and faculty. In addition, the university currently has several LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings under construction on its campuses.