American University has pledged to become a carbon-neutral campus within the next 10 years.
School officials announced the initiative Friday and said their plan is one of the most ambitious in the nation for a large urban campus without an engineering or agriculture school.
"We have used the geographical limitations of our urban 84-acre campus in the nation’s capital to our advantage to more aggressively pursue renewable energy and carbon offsets," Chris O’Brien, director of sustainability, said in a written statement.
"Of the few plans that call for earlier carbon neutral dates, American University’s size, location, and academic focus make our active pursuit of sustainability distinctive," O'Brien said.
To achieve carbon neutrality by 2020, AU plans to employ four strategies:
- Reduce consumption
- Produce renewable energy
- Buy green power
- Buy/develop carbon offsets
In addition, the university will soon install a wind turbine and a steam turbine to reduce its carbon emissions.
This summer, the university will be the first in the metropolitan area to install the Vegawatt, which will take used cooking oil from the dining hall and convert it, on site, to electricity and hot water, officials said.