Public Comment Summary

The following is a summary of ideas from online comments and Town Halls (through 9/17/2020)

Energy Supply
  • Source all purchased electricity from a renewable energy Purchased Power Agreement
  • Build innovative hot-water power plant (SESI at Stanford)
  • Build district or building-level geothermal system (Ball State University)
  • Install solar panels on campus (e.g., on rooftops, in or on parking lots)
  • Generate steam sustainably (e.g., burn renewable biomass, waste digester)
  • Decrease the numbers of emergency generators on campus
  • Construct a molten salt reactor
  • Partner with the City of Ann Arbor for increased buying power
  • End any future expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure
  • Alternative energy procurement sources
  • Consider nuclear energy to provide electricity without releasing carbon
  • Pledge Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon neutrality by 2030
    Buildings and Grounds
    • Adopt stringent building standards (e.g., Passive House, Living Building, Architecture 2020)
    • Source low carbon materials for construction/renovations
    • Add living roofs, green roofs or garden roofs to building design, especially new buildings
    • Design all buildings to facilitate the inevitable switch to hot-water heating
    • Stop building new buildings, use space more efficiently and consider how buildings can be repurposed
    • Use carbon-neutral concrete
    • More permeable surfaces
    • Convert to all-electric grounds equipment
    • Create an inventory of building space and scheduled construction
    • Consider what a steady-state would look like in terms of UM’s footprint
    • Work quickly to determine new building standards
    • Build new buildings with sustainability measures in place so they don’t have to be retrofitted down the line
    • Regulate and limit light pollution
    • UM needs to create a ‘model’ project once the new standards are in place to show the community what a carbon-neutral building could look like, perhaps the new building in Detroit
    • Ensure that donor influence does not stand in the way of sustainability standards
    • Plant more trees and/or create a tree adoption program
    • Build the new Clinical Inpatient Tower (CIT) to ensure its heating can be run by clean, sustainable energy
    Energy Consumption
    • Mandate and convert to LEDs in all buildings
    • Mandate more stringent energy efficiency standards in all buildings
    • Establish a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency projects
    • Lengthen financial payback criteria for energy efficiency projects
    • Expand existing Energy Management team to cover all campus buildings
    • Include a system of sensors to activate and deactivate electrical current in buildings
    • Install localized building controls for heat/coolness regulation
    • Utilize existing space more efficiently
    • Move to a system of centralized facility managers for all facilities to drive best practices
    • Bill units directly for electricity to create more awareness and incentive to reduce electricity use
    • Units should be responsible for long-term maintenance and operating costs
    • Revisit emergency lighting standards
    • Have individual schools do their own energy efficiency programs
    Policy and Budgetary Issues
    • Establish an internal carbon tax that includes all auxiliary units
    • Subsidize Flint and Dearborn because they are given fewer resources
    • Address decentralization – it’s an impediment to making progress
    • Make carbon and sustainability reporting mandatory like DEI
    • Create a fund for small scale office sustainability projects
    • Be clear on budgeting needs for the carbon neutrality work, specifically for auxiliary units
    Transportation Fleet and Infrastructure
    • Convert to an EV fleet
    • Install solar, storage, and fast EV charging portals
    • Incentivize the use of bikes, electric bikes, scooters, etc.
    • Provide incentives to use low carbon fleet rentals
    • More bus routes (e.g., Commuter South should run on the weekends)
    • More bike-friendly campus
    • Create car-free zones
    • Ban all idling vehicles at all loading docks
    • Ban the purchase of non-electric vehicles by 2021
    • Stop building parking lots
    Commuting and Travel
    • Accessible showers to incentivize zero-carbon commuting
    • Sponsor/promote Commuter Challenge and Conquer the Cold
    • Partner with AATA on transportation hubs from neighboring communities
    • More and better public transit options
    • Incentivize low carbon commuting
    • Encourage faculty/staff to offset their commuting footprint
    • Discourage university travel when not absolutely necessary
    • Mandate faculty/staff to offset their work-related travel (travel disincentive)
    • Don’t subsidize parking
    • More and better remote parking lots with shuttles
    • Better online meeting tools to aid working remotely
    • Flex work schedules (e.g., 4 days in office, 1 at home)
    • Encourage satellite site conference to minimize travel
    • Help create more affordable housing in Ann Arbor
    • Lead the push for a light rail along expressway corridors (US-23, I-96, I-94)
    • Carbon offsets program specifically for university-sponsored travel
    • Charge double for fossil fuel vehicle parking
    • Evaluate remote work and hybrid work options
    • Install more EV charging stations at University-owned facilities 
    Carbon Accounting Methodology
    • Account for scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
    • Account for electricity transmission and distribution losses
    • Account for methane leakage throughout the natural gas supply chain
    • Consider using the social cost of carbon and the $/MTCO2e
    Sequestration and Offsets
    • Eliminate/drastically reduce lawns and associated irrigation
    • Make landscapes sustainable (native plants, rain gardens, more trees, impervious surfaces)
    • Convert to no-mow grass (e.g., buffalo grass) in low traffic areas
    • Start a carbon farm (Duke – peat bog)
    • Invest in forest carbon offsets
    • Plant more trees
    • Consider cheaper methods for achieving carbon neutrality, such as Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) permits and RFPs for nonlocal Power Purchase Agreements
    • Rely minimally on the purchase of carbon offsets to reach carbon neutrality for Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions.
    Campus Culture
    • Mandate a sustainability orientation for all new students, faculty, and staff
    • Make socially-responsible investment options available in U-M retirement plans
    • Expand investments in U-M’s campus culture and awareness program
    • Invest in Planet Blue Ambassadors (PBA) program to facilitate individual behavior change incentives (like Stanford’s My Cardinal Green and UC-Boulder’s PIPS)
    • Integrate PBA, MHealthy, and Wolverine Wellness into one highly visible program
    • Use PBAs more deliberately & effectively as an agent of change
    • Install highly visible dashboards with metrics on campus, in buildings and on the UM website
    • Create a highly visible zero-carbon showpiece building
    • Power Michigan Stadium with photovoltaics
    • Run campus-wide competitions for low energy use
    • Sponsor campus-wide climate change events (theme semesters, teach-ins, etc.)
    • Extend the Planet Blue Ambassadors program to UM-Flint and Dearborn
    • Provide zero-waste kits to new employees and students
    • Ensure student recruitment by fossil fuel companies doesn’t unduly influence decision-making
    • Ban any department, group from creating new paper forms
    • Ban all paper forms by 2021
    • Provide mandatory training on the basic scientific principles of climate change to the student body and faculty
    • Coordinate student sustainability roles in the residence halls
    External Collaboration and Partnerships
    • Join University Climate Change Coalition and sign the President’s Climate Leadership Commitments
    • Lobby for a national carbon fee and dividend plan
    • Lobby for the U.S. to establish a Climate Corps (like Peace Corps for emissions reductions)
    • Lobby State for more renewable energy development and research
    • Partner with the City of Ann Arbor to buy our power together
    • Join Ann Arbor 2030 District
    • Engage community via City Studios
    • Consult with Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council
    • Engage boards of regional players, maybe bring them all together for a workshop
    • Work with landlords to reduce waste, water and electricity usage
    • Collaborate with student groups, including fraternities and sororities
    • Invest in solar co-ops (big installations rather than roof by roof).
    • Conduct community outreach activities (K-12, TeachOuts, etc.)
    • Collaborate more with the City of Ann Arbor
    • Involve more stakeholder experts (those with experience in implementation and finance)
    • Provide leadership to other higher education institutions globally as they pledge carbon neutrality
    • Align more closely with the City of Ann Arbor Climate Plan
    U-M Communications
    • Ensure regular community-wide messaging from the President
    • Provide more information about sustainability initiatives on campus
    • Provide a clear historical narrative of what has happened to date
    • Get students (particularly new students) excited and engaged
    • Connect sustainability to people’s daily experiences
    • Get people to care and see the urgency of climate change
    Education and Research
    • Embed in education experience
    • Mandate a climate/sustainability class for all students at the school/college level
    • Start a carbon neutrality student investment fund
    • Use U-M as a laboratory for students to study options, costs, and benefits in terms of carbon, economics, and other environmental impacts
    • Incentivize and reward faculty to bring their sustainability research to bear on campus
    • Get students growing plants
    • Facilitate cross-learning with international students
    • More sustainability-focused study-abroad programs
    • Every department should offer/support/fund field-based sustainability work
    • More online sustainability courses
    • IPCC report should be presented to all students in discussion groups
    • Provide incentives for students to get involved in climate research
    • Develop heat pumps or geothermal heat pumps that will work in the Michigan Climate and can be scaled between single-family homes, apartment buildings and University buildings
    Food
    • Mandate meatless Mondays
    • Make more nutritious vegetarian options available
    • Make sustainable food sourcing goal more ambitious (e.g., 50% local, 50% reduction in meat consumption, strive for zero carbon footprint)
    • Maximize efforts to bring more vegetarian-friendly restaurants to UM
    • Require all food vendors to use compostable serve ware
    • Provide UM dining chefs and catering service chefs with vegan and vegetarian cookery classes
    • The University of London has removed all beef from its meals, Cambridge has cut its food-related emissions by 1/3 just by removing beef and lamb from its offerings
    • Utilize Try It Tuesdays to make plant-based dishes irresistible
    • Utilize discreet substitutes, like half plant-based and half beef burger
    • Low carbon catering options
    • Expand the student project (ranking foods by CO2 emissions) at North Quad to all dining halls
    • Host a chef/student recipe contest to engage the community
    • Utilize augmented reality and interactive media in the dining halls
    • Challenge between dining halls to see which hall reduces their meat consumption the most
    • Reduce purchases by U-M of meat, dairy, eggs, and fish by at least 50% and replace those foods with plants and plant-based proteins
    • Build an affordable and accessible grocery store on or near U-M's campus
    Purchasing
    • Establish strict procurement requirements (incentivize low carbon purchasing)
    • Use the Transition Pathways Initiative to assess companies’ progress towards climate goals, and factor this into procurement and decision-making
    • Pursue the idea with UM procurement of having a list of “items” to purchase as speaker gifts and employee awards that aren’t stuff (e.g., tree planting, meals for needy, carbon offsets).
    • Buy commonly used items in bulk and have departments request them to be delivered. This would eliminate many delivery truck trips and packaging from individual shipments
    • Switch to PURPLE NITRILE and PURPLE NITRILE-XTRA Examination gloves to take advantage of the RIGHTCYCLE program
    • Ban all single-serving coffee and coffee accessories like cream, stir sticks, sugar, etc.
    • Limit rapid shipments (2 hr. to 2 days) of single or a limited number of items
    Landfill Waste
    • Expand composting and recycling
    • Mandate all events are zero waste
    • Ban all single-use/disposable materials everywhere on campus
    • Eliminate giveaway trash from external vendors inside the stadium
    • Look into Sierra Energy, a company that eliminates the need for landfills through gasification
    • Partner with the city for year-round composting
    • Compost all restroom paper towels
    Environmental Justice
    • Hire a dedicated environmental justice advisor to stay in line with Michigan’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion standards
    • Each internal analysis team should have a student with a humanities/social science background to incorporate social justice considerations 
    • Position social justice at the center of UM’s carbon neutrality efforts, giving due weight to the disproportionate impacts of fossil fuel extraction and burning on historically marginalized communities
    PCCN Process
    • Start by committing to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 (2030)
    • Post the meeting notes quickly and transparently for the public
    • Ensure commission members go to student advisory panel meetings
    • Make information about key issues accessible to the public
    • Include all members on campus in the process- and decision-making
    • Learn from other committees (e.g., Labor Standards and Human Rights (Ravi Anupindi))
    • Consult with external experts (e.g., community members, industry, etc.)
    • Engage Michigan Medicine and North Campus
    • Include people directly impacted by power plants
    • Host public meetings regularly
    • Report progress often
    • Respect student perspectives
    • Host more targeted Town Halls (e.g., by unit)
    • Define “financially responsible”
    • Seek the expertise of known firms that have helped cities transition toward carbon neutrality
    • Publicly acknowledge the scientific basis of the PCCN's work; Convey and act with more urgency 
    • Restructure the Commission to have more full-time staff
    • Understand why the recommendations in the 2015 President's Greenhouse Gas Committee Report were not all implemented
    • Include more utility folks in the PCCN work and analysis 
    • Include local tribal groups in the PCCN work and compensate them for their work
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    Plan Implementation
    • Ensure President/Provost/Deans/upper management lead the way
    • Establish a Sustainability VP with broad purview
    • Establish accountable, transparent, and effective mechanisms for implementation
    • Include processes for re-visiting and revising previous and current actions
    • Name and empower champions in all units
    • Align policies, procedures, and systems with the vision
    • Deliver education, training and action tools
    • Establish metrics and milestones and provide regular feedback
    • Reward and recognize local innovation
    • Have strong outreach where lessons learned are broadcast widely and often
    • Involve every unit/person on campus to rally our community for culture change
    Outside PCCN Scope
    • Stop the power plant expansion
    • Divestment