Mary Whitney, Director, University Sustainability
The Climate Initiative at Chatham
Chatham University has a historic commitment to environmental protection. The University’s foundational focus is the environment. Chatham is home to the Rachel Carson Institute, and it boasts a strong Environmental Science program. Chatham’s initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are wide-ranging and comprehensive.
Eden Hall Farm
Educational Initiatives & Outreach
As a signatory of the Climate Leadership Commitment, Chatham has pledged to work toward net-zero carbon emissions. Chatham’s commitment is detailed here.
The University has completed a greenhouse gas inventory every year since its baseline inventory in 2008. All inventories are available in the ACUPCC Reporting System. On average, Chatham has reduced its emissions from baseline about 43% each year, accomplished through a combination of energy efficiency projects, solar installations, and the purchasing of Renewable Energy Credits.
Energy: Efficiency, Conservation, and Alternative
Energy conservation is a priority at Chatham. The school has purchased renewable power either directly or through RECS since 2002, and now purchases approximately 99% of their total electricity usage from a Green-E Certified mix of renewable energy that is primarily wind power.
In partnership with Solar Tomorrow, Chatham installed solar thermal hot water systems on its two largest residence halls. The systems are scaled to provide all the water for the halls during the spring, summer and fall, and augment Chatham’s existing natural gas hot water during the short days of winter. The system is 1205 total square feet, making it about the 9th largest solar hot water installation in the U.S. Chatham’s installation is also the largest in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest eastern states installations, according to the US Department of Energy’s Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative database.
Recycling and Waste Management
Chatham boasts a composting program in its dining facilities that gathers pre- and post-consumer materials, including takeout containers. Waste fat is sent to a regional biodiesel plant. Its school-wide, single-stream recycling program is successful and includes student administration.
Buildings and Grounds
The University is committed to reusing historic buildings before undertaking new construction whenever possible. Rea Hall is a green-living residence hall, where students commit to living an ecologically-aware lifestyle. The building features water and energy-saving technology appropriate for a historic home.
Chatham has a decade-long no chemical pesticides policy and actively preserves green space throughout its campuses. Its Shadyside campus is an arboretum featuring over 115 different species.