Southeast Missouri State University Cuts Carbon Emissions

Academic Hall aerial frontLCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., June 23, 2014 — Southeast Missouri State University is cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels, the primary driving force behind global climate change.

The University recently replaced the large, inefficient, aging coal-fired boilers in the power plant to four small, energy-efficient natural gas-fired boilers.  Conversion to natural gas has cut CO2 emissions from the power plant by 65 percent.  This single capital improvement has reduced the overall carbon emissions of the University by 25 percent.  Southeast has made additional steps to address reduction of carbon emissions and the increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Renovation of two major campus buildings (Academic Hall and Magill Hall) has been completed which will result in long-term energy conservation and reduced carbon emissions.  Academic Hall, the signature landmark building at Southeast, underwent complete interior remodeling while preserving the historic exterior of the administrative center of the University. Similarly, the Magill Hall of Science underwent total interior redesign and upgrade to state-of-the art laboratories and classrooms.  Both buildings feature the latest technology in energy-efficient lighting, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

The University also has a comprehensive solid-waste management program that collects and recycles electronic equipment, paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and other metals and composts all campus yard wastes.  In addition, the campus has a Green Office program intended to reduce wastes and improve energy efficiency.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that waste reduction, recycling and composting are very powerful tools in reducing CO2 emissions.

To reduce vehicle transportation, Southeast Missouri State University has initiated carpool parking permits to encourage reduced vehicle usage.  Recent installation of added bicycle parking racks across campus make the University bicycle-friendly to further trim emissions from vehicles.  Taking steps to encourage less use of automobiles by campus personnel further contributes to reduced CO2 emissions.

Since trees act as important carbon sinks by removing CO2 from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, the beautifully landscaped Southeast Missouri State University campus is home to more than 2,000 mature trees.  Future carbon reductions will be realized through large-scale tree planting programs originating at the David M. Barton Agriculture Research Center and the Miller Reserve Wetlands Restoration Project.  More than 2,500 trees planted during the past year will remove atmospheric CO2 for decades to come.

Southeast Missouri State University is evaluating further cost-effective actions, including replacement of outdoor lighting with LED lights, to conserve energy, cut carbon emissions, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, and slow global climate change.

The University’s Sustainability Committee, which annually audits the University’s carbon emissions, is chaired by Dr. Chris McGowan, Dean of the College of Science, Technology, and Agriculture.