Portland Community College has been honored by an environmentalist nonprofit group for its work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the college announced Monday, Feb. 11.
PCC received Second Nature's Marks of Distinction, which recognizes the performance, participation and goal-setting of colleges and universities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The community college has strong ties to Second Nature. It was one of more than 500 colleges and universities to sign a climate leadership agreement in 2007. In 2017, PCC received Second Nature's Climate Leadership Award.
Mark Mitsui, PCC's president, also serves on Second Nature's steering committee.
Approximately 140 institutions have received Marks of Distinction from Second Nature.
Since signing the 2007 agreement, PCC has instituted two climate action plans, created an annual progress report and formed an oversight advisory council to track progress. According to data collected by Second Nature, PCC said, it has reduced its energy-related emissions by 40 percent, even as the college has expanded through bond projects, increasing its square footage by 30 percent over that time.
Briar Schoon, PCC's sustainability manager, said the savings can be attributed to efficiency upgrades, emphasizing sustainability in new construction, and increasing renewable energy production and procurement. The college is also considering how to reduce emissions from employee transportation, waste management and overall consumption, Schoon said.
PCC has also earned plaudits from the United Nations for its environmentally friendly focus. The UN designed PCC a "regional center of expertise" for sustainability education in 2013. Mitsui and Schoon traveled to Bonn, Germany, in 2017 to participate in a United Nations climate conference.
Last fall, sustainability coordinator Elaine Cole led a tour at the Rock Creek campus for 14 energy executives from Japan. They got to learn about the college's efforts in renewable energy, conservation and policy as the country looks to transition to clean energy.
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