With 60,000 faculty, staff and students, UCF faces a more daunting challenge in achieving climate neutrality than most other schools and organizations will encounter. However, UCF’s size positions the university to make a more powerful and substantial impact.

“Our dedicated staff members, faculty members, and engaged students have made exceptional strides in reducing the impact of our campus on the environment,” Hitt said. “Working together, we can build on those successes, strengthen our position as a leader in preserving Central Florida’s natural beauty, and inspire others to follow our example.”

“Taking Action Now: UCF’s Climate Action Plan” was submitted to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Hitt is a founding member of the organization’s Leadership Circle.

UCF already has made strides — and saved $1 million in 2009 — in several of the five major steps necessary to achieve carbon neutrality: energy conservation, energy efficiency, fuel switching, renewable energy and carbon mitigation.

The university has reduced its energy consumption by 25 percent per square foot in three years and continues to work toward more savings. UCF requires that all new construction be LEED-certified at the silver level or higher by the U.S. Green Building Council.

A new thermal energy storage facility chills water for the campus’ cooling system at night and stores it for daytime use, adding a projected $700,000 to UCF’s annual energy cost savings.

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