The University of Illinois, which has been actively making an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings since 2010, has joined three other educational institutions in selling carbon offset credits to Chevrolet. Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and Valencia College in Orlando, Florida both sold carbon credits to Chevy earlier this year, however the 150,000 tonnes worth they are buying from the U of I marks the automaker’s largest college project investment to date.
Chevrolet has been one of the most active and prominent buyers of carbon offset credits in recent years. The company promised to prevent up to eight million metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere in 2010 and is now well on its way, having reduced 7.7 million tonnes of carbon to date.
“Turning a university’s energy-efficiency progress into carbon credits enables them to reinvest in even more clean energy technologies,” David Tulauskas, director of sustainability at General Motors, said in a statement. “Chevrolet is supporting the ingenious ways people are reducing carbon and spreading the word about the benefits of a clean energy future.”
The carbon offset credits are generated through the Verified Carbon Standard, a credit registry which awards universities, colleges and primary and secondary schools with carbon credits when they take energy reducing initiatives. The U of I put forth a climate action plan in 2010 where it set targets for reducing GHG emissions by 15% for 2015, 30% by 2020, 40% by 2025 and 100% by 2050. The campus is set to surpass its 2015 goal.
To help meet their GHG reduction goals, the university improved heating and air conditioning systems in dozens of its buildings and used ‘energy performance contracting’, which uses future energy savings to fund efficiency improvements around the school.
“As a campus, we need to do our part to eliminate emissions into the atmosphere, which is having catastrophic global effects,” said Professor Ben McCall, Associate Director for Campus Sustainability. “But our reach can be so much larger than just our own emissions. We want to be an example to the world and teach our students how to go about emission reductions so other campuses, companies, governments and more can implement these sorts of changes the world over.”