Catawba College today announced that the school successfully 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 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.
To meet its goals ahead of the 2030 target, Catawba 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 -- a mix that not only reduces campus emissions and covers the college’s direct emissions impact, but also covers the harder-to-address, indirect emissions from activities like commuting, business travel, and operations waste.
WBTV VIDEO: Catawba joins list of elite environmental colleges as the 13th nationwide and first certified institution in the southeast to reach net zero.
“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.”
Catawba College leaders also credited the $242 million in donations the school has received in the last year and a half, part of which will help support additional sustainability and environment programs for students, as a significant boost.
“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 the event honoring 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.”
Catawba College was also honored to have Gov. Roy Cooper speak at the announcement about how this showcases the state’s leadership on renewable energy and sustainability.
“Our state is moving rapidly toward a clean energy future, and North Carolinians are helping us lead the way,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “Congratulations to Catawba College on achieving carbon neutrality seven years ahead of its goal.”
Catawba College continues to lead its higher education peers on embracing clean energy innovations and environmental stewardship. This month, Catawba became the first campus in the United States to add Haven solar shelters from Research Triangle Park, NC based Spotlight Solar. The total of five shelters, which incorporate U.S. based components and materials, use bifacial solar panels that allow for power generation on both sides to create clean energy that is stored in batteries under the tabletop – with built-in charging ports for students and faculty. In addition, the campus is also home to a solar-powered trash compactor bin from CleanCUBE, which holds up to five times more waste compared to traditional bins and reduce collection frequency by up to 80%. By installing these and additional sustainable innovations on campus, Catawba College is continuing to demonstrate its bold commitment to enabling a thriving, sustainable future.
For more information on Catawba College and its Center for the Environment, please visit catawba.edu/cenv
About Catawba College
Founded in 1851, Catawba College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college located in Salisbury, N.C. Ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South, Catawba is known for its intellectual rigor, dedicated faculty, beautiful campus, and strong commitment to sustainability and the environment. The College offers more than 70 undergraduate and four graduate programs allowing students to explore diverse interests and create their own academic pathway. Additional information is available at catawba.edu.