Champlain College Joins Coalition Pledging Carbon Reduction at Vt. Energy and Climate Summit

BED's Neale Lunderville pitching VT “Warm Home” bonds to speed up weatherization to keep low-income Vermonters warm.

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Governor Phil Scott, members of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition, and the Energy Action Network (EAN) hosted the Vermont Energy and Climate Summit at Champlain College's Center for Communications and Creative Media in November. More than 175 individuals from organizations, institutions, and businesses all over the state plus student volunteers attended the Summit, which was promised as part of the launch of the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition  earlier this year.

The Coalition, created by Weinberger with Gov. Scott's support and coordinated by the City of Burlington, is intended to help achieve the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pledge by the United States and to complement State goals established in prior years.

Together, Coalition members are working to help Vermont meet the US commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels from 2005 by 26-28 percent by 2025, and to reinvigorate efforts to reach Vermont's own more ambitious goal of achieving an 80-95  percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.

The Coalition has been in contact with the leadership of the Climate Mayors group, formed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, which is also a part of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group, We Are Still In. We Are Still In seeks to serve the function the federal government would have played had the U.S. remained a party to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Champlain President Donald J. Laackman thanked the members for meeting at Champlain and shared some of the College's recent sustainability highlights:

  • "We have signed on to a number of climate change initiatives in higher ed, including the White House initiative American Campuses Act on Climate Change (December 2015), Low-Carbon USA letter (December 2016), "We Are Still In" letter in support of the Paris Climate Accord (June 2017), and the Billion Dollar Challenge, for which we invest in self‐managed green revolving funds that finance energy efficiency improvements on our campus.
  • Over the past 10 years, Champlain's energy consumption per gross square foot has decreased by over 30% and our water consumption has decreased 33%.
  • Aiken Hall, and Butler, Valcour, and Juniper residence halls are LEED Gold certified, and Perry Hall is a LEED Platinum building. The Center for Communication and Creative Media (CCM) is Green Globes certified by the Green Building Initiative, and we are building our new 194 St. Paul Street Residence Suites to Green Globe certified specifications as well.
  • As of June 2016, we have geothermal heating and cooling in seven buildings and residence halls on our campus, including CCM.
  • Our green roof at IDX Center and Perry Hall eases storm water runoff and keeps buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  • In the last two years, we have reduced the average commuting distance of faculty, staff, and students by single occupancy vehicle by 38%."

"In the spirit of today's event, Champlain College would like to add our pledge to take action as part of the Coalition.As part of Champlain's commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency in our buildings and operations, I'm pleased to share that Champlain College has signed on as a member of the Burlington 2030 District organization," Laackman added.

The Burlington 2030 District is a private/public partnership working to reduce building energy consumption, water use and transportation emissions 50% by 2030. Burlington is the 17th city to join this national network of 2030 Districts.

"By joining the Burlington 2030 District, Champlain College commits to work towards the Burlington 2030 District goals as part of a holistic approach to sustainable community development in Burlington that supports the City's climate resilience and leadership.We are excited to share this step, and we look forward to working together with you here today on collective efforts to achieve our energy and climate goals," he said.

The Coalition currently has a membership of more than 30 organizations and encourages all Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, and businesses to join the Coalition and do all they can to reduce carbon emissions. To join the Coalition and learn more about the summit, organizations should email Jennifer Green, Burlington Sustainability Coordinator, at jgreen@burlingtonelectric.com. You can learn more about the Climate Pledge Coalition at www.vermontclimatepledge.org.


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit champlain.edu.