Catawba College achieves carbon neutrality seven years ahead of schedule

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Catawba College last week announced it has achieved full carbon neutrality seven years ahead of its 2030 climate commitment.

Second Nature, a non-profit organization working to accelerate climate action in and through higher education, confirmed Catawba College in Salisbury has become the 13th college nationwide and first institute of higher learning in the Southeast to meet the group’s high standards for determining carbon neutrality. College leadership, staff, faculty, students, alumni, and community members alongside Second Nature President Tim Carter and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, celebrated the milestone today.

The college is using a mix of renewable energy, energy efficiency, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) and carbon offsets. This includes RECs and offsets from local, North Carolina sources including the Scotland Neck Solar Installation in Halifax County, the Chocowinity Solar Project in Beaufort County, as well as the Buncombe County Landfill Gas Project.

“Achieving carbon neutrality reflects our values as an institution,” said Catawba College President David P. Nelson. “Out of the over 400 institutions of higher learning that made a commitment to carbon neutrality with Second Nature, Catawba College’s success in meeting and surpassing our timeline reflects our longstanding commitment to sustainability and the environment in the classroom and in our operations.”

Also, $242 million in donations to the school will help support additional sustainability and environment programs for students.

“This is only the beginning,” said Brad Ives, Director of the Catawba College Center for the Environment. “Meeting our carbon neutrality goals ahead of time provides an opportunity for the College to demonstrate leadership to our students while also providing a model for other institutions of higher education in North Carolina and across the country.”

At an event recognizing the college’s achievement, Second Nature president Tim Carter lauded Catawba College’s achievement. “By reaching the college’s climate goals ahead of time, it’s a win for everyone,” he said. “Congratulations to Catawba College for meeting this target ahead of time and raising the bar even higher.”

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