Chaired by the Associate Vice President for Facilities and coordinated by the Sustainability Institute at UNH and UNH Facilities, the ETF is the formal working group behind UNH’s broad Climate Education Initiative (CEI). Initially founded in 2005 to develop new ways to reduce energy consumption in response to fast-rising energy prices, the mission of the ETF soon broadened to serve in an advisory capacity to the UNH President and make recommendations on the full range of issues that relate to climate change and energy. These issues include everything from energy generation, demand management, efficiency and conservation, to greenhouse gas mitigation policy and action, participation in energy and carbon markets, and curriculum, research and outreach opportunities related to climate and energy. The overarching goal is to guide the University toward a systematic and integrated energy policy that emphasizes health and integrity, climate protection, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and stability, fairness for all University constituents, and consistency with priorities set by the UNH Academic Plan and UNH Campus Master Plan. The ETF complements and integrates the work of related UNH groups including the:
- UNH Facilities
- Energy & Utilities
- Transportation Policy Committee
- Climate Education Initiative
- Energy Club
- Ecological Advocates
- Sustainability Stewards
- Student Energy Challenge
- Climate Action Plan
The ETF’s role in advising the campus administration on climate and energy issues took on even greater prominence when UNH became the first land grant university in New England to sign the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in February 2007. A member of the leadership circle of ACUPCC signers, UNH pledges to take immediate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop a plan to move the University toward carbon neutrality.
In particular, the ETF is charged with:
- Developing timelines, targets and action items under a UNH Climate Action Plan (called “WildCAP”) to help move UNH towards carbon neutrality.
- Developing immediate and future actions to reduce energy costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy conservation through technological improvements, increases in efficiency, reductions in waste and selection of fuels.
- Inventorying and promoting curricular, research and engagement programs intended to increase awareness of and behaviors around energy use, efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.