Energy & Climate

Naropa's climate action plan

Naropa ratified its Climate Action Plan first in 2011 and updated it again in 2013. The Office for Sustainability staff, and the Naropa Sustainability Council are currently working on implementation. Some of the highlights of the Climate Action Plan include:

  • A commitment to carbon neutrality by 2040
  • Annual greenhouse gas inventorying
  • Commitments to build only LEED certified buildings
  • Present sustainability projects for approval to the Board of Trustees annually
  • Development of sustainable purchasing matrices
  • Build a culture of sustainability within the Naropa community
  • Integrate sustainability into the core learning curriculum
  • Strive to power the university with 100% renewable energy

You can read the 2013 update to the Climate Action Plan.

Commitment to Climate justice

Naropa signed the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007. You can read the full text of the commitment here. Since then, the ACUPCC has been re-branded as the "Carbon Commitment" and you can read the updated text of that commitment here. Some highlights of the ACUPCC and Carbon Commitment include:

  • Develop an action plan for becoming climate neutral within two years of signing
  • Establish a policy that all new construction be rated at least LEED silver
  • Encourage use and provide access to public transportation to all faculty, students and staff
  • Within one year of signing, purchase at least 15% of electricity from renewable sources

In an effort to keep pace with the changing landscape of sustainability on campuses across North America and beyond, Naropa is looking to expand its commitments to sustainability by signing the "Climate Commitment" which includes a resilience aspect. You can read the full text of the commitment here. This signing will most likely occur during Sustainability Day in the Fall of 2016 and below are some additional aspects that would be included in the Climate Commitment:

  • Define thresholds of resilience for the university to meet, taking into account the wider community vulnerabilities as well
  • Actively support a joint campus-community task force to bring alignment of Climate Action Plan with the wider community's goals
  • Within two years of signing, complete a campus-community resilience assessment
  • Submit an annual evaluation of progress

greenhouse gas inventory

Greenhouse gas (GHG) inventorying is a pillar of Naropa's Climate Action Plan. It is our primary means of gauging progress toward climate neutrality by 2040, and can help us determine areas of improvement. We performed GHG inventories from 2008-2010, however due to staffing cutbacks we were not been able to re-energize GHG inventories until 2016. See a summary of GHG inventories here, in our Climate Action Plan. New inventory data will be posted here soon.

In the past, Naropa used the Campus Carbon Calculator, developed by the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire, to perform the GHG inventory. Since that time, the tool has been changed to SIMAP (Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform), and it includes a large range of metrics such as:

  • Faculty/Staff Commuting
  • Student Commuting
  • Directly Financed Air Travel
  • Student Travel to/from Home
  • Solid Waste
  • Wastewater
  • Paper
  • Purchased energy and natural gas

Renewable energy

Naropa University has two solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems: one on the print shop building and a larger array on top of the Pamela Krasney Pavillion, both on the Arapahoe Campus. View real-time feedback from, and information about, our solar power panels here.

In addition to the solar panels, Naropa university purchases Renewable Energy certificates or carbon offsets every year. In 2017, Naropa University purchased 1,484,160 kWh of carbon offsets, certifying that the carbon emissions from heating and lighting our four campuses were balanced by an equal mass of carbon being captured at the Larimer County Landfill.  You can read about this, and our new partnership with Colorado Carbon Fund, here.

DIVESTMENT

In the fall of 2013, Naropa made history by becoming the first university to completely divest its holdings in companies identified as having the highest potential greenhouse gas emissions. This came after a presentation to the Board of Trustees by a group of environmentally conscious students. Naropa’s Board of Trustees concluded that the divestment would not threaten the stability of the stock portfolio. In reaching the decision to divest, Naropa's Endowment Committee took a values-centered approach to investing which created a clear context for the decision.  

Naropa’s portfolio at the time of divestment was approximately $6.25 million, and the total amount divested was more than $104,000. The decision places Naropa among a dozen colleges and universities in the United States that are leading the charge toward more environmentally responsible investing. The full range of these actions included freezing any new investment in fossil fuel companies and divestment from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years. 

Read more about Naropa's divestment:

Naropa University is committed to investing our endowment assets in a manner consistent with the Buddhist precept of "not causing harm." Thus, the Naropa University Endowment strives, on a best-efforts basis, to avoid investment in primary manufacturers of weapons systems, tobacco, alcohol, or gambling products, as well as companies with egregious records of environmental damage, discriminatory behavior, or poor employee relations. Additionally, we strongly encourage investment in corporations that provide active solutions to social and environmental challenges.

Statement of Commitment to the Practice of Sustainability

Naropa University’s mission* includes embracing “the richness of human diversity with the aim of fostering a more just and equitable society and an expanded awareness of our common humanity”.

At Naropa, we view the practice of sustainability as essential to the current and future needs of this planet and its inhabitants through the acknowledgement of the deep interrelationship between all beings and phenomena.

The health of our environment is seen as directly related to, and reflective of, the community’s psychological state and the genuineness of effectiveness of the University’s educational mission. Naropa University aspires to be a leader in the practice of sustainability that promotes the individual and collective integration of ecological, economic, and spiritual well-being.

Naropa University is committed to sustainability-in-action; employing strategic initiatives to move the community towards specific goals, such as, but not limited to, zero waste, climate neutrality, and 100% renewable energy. This practice of sustainability in everyday life educated and prepares each member of the Naropa University community to live and act with awareness and respect for oneself, all other sentient beings, and the natural world.

* A critical outcome of a contemplative education is actively to train and educate oneself to build a healthy, bilateral, and sustainable relationship to one’s physical body, immediate environment, and the planet and to then realize and experience their inter-connectedness. Springing from the view that our bodies, other sentient beings, and the world around us are fundamentally sacred, a Naropa education must engender the wisdom and skillful means to put this view into lifelong action.