Planning will include ecological solutions to remove atmospheric carbon
To achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2040, Kenyon College is partnering with Ever-Green Energy to develop a carbon neutrality master plan involving a unique perspective and discipline – ecology. The project team will look to reduce the amount of carbon put into the atmosphere on campus through its energy systems and facilities, while also utilizing soil and vegetation to increase carbon sequestration.
Ever-Green Energy will lead the energy system work by evaluating the existing energy system and analyzing the low-carbon solutions available to Kenyon. The master plan will be a feasible path to campus decarbonization that considers Kenyon’s short-term and long-term priorities. Educational opportunities for students and collaborations with faculty will be an important aspect of the carbon neutrality efforts.
For Kenyon’s unique approach, Ever-Green is partnering with ecological experts including Sarah M. Stai, PhD, of EcoSmith Consulting and a team led by Kim Chapman, PhD, from Resource Environmental Solutions (RES). In addition to mitigating the effects of climate change, ecological solutions to decarbonization can yield increased habitat for pollinators and other wildlife; improved soil fertility and capacity for infiltrating stormwater runoff; reduced soil erosion; economic benefits for landowners; and opportunities for recreation and wellness in the community.
“Kenyon College has a distinguished history dating back to 1824,” said Ken Smith, CEO of Ever-Green Energy. “It is fitting that their response to climate change sets them apart as they consider not only energy solutions, but also ecology to reach their 2040 carbon neutrality goal. We are proud to support Kenyon’s planning as they embark on their third century and aspire to bolster their sustainability efforts far into the future.”
The Ever-Green team will bring our expertise working on college campuses as well as our knowledge of energy systems together with our ecological partners and their experience in nature-based carbon sequestration to make recommendations for specific actions and timelines to get Kenyon to carbon neutrality by 2040.
About the process
Starting this month, Ever-Green will lead Kenyon stakeholders through a process to establish a vision and guiding principles for the master planning process. After that, energy and ecological experts will visit campus to collect data and assess existing energy infrastructure and the natural landscape. Once data is collected and evaluations are complete, the team will assess solutions and their greenhouse gas emissions savings, costs, and feasibility for inclusion in the master plan. The plan will then be reviewed by contributors and stakeholders, with final recommendations to be delivered to the Board of Trustees by May 2023.
About Kenyon College
Located in Gambier, Ohio, Kenyon College is a private, four-year liberal arts college with a 1,000-acre campus in a rural setting and nearly 2,000 undergraduates enrolled. As a fully residential college, Kenyon has established itself as a campus that prioritizes sustainability. In 2016, the college formalized its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2040. This commitment was reinforced in the 2021 update of the college’s strategic plan, and through its upcoming work with Ever-Green to translate that commitment into specific, actionable plans through campus energy and ecological systems.