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Fordham Celebrates Almost a Century Coal-Free


Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States has generated great excitement among American Catholics, and many have responded in particular to the pope’s most recent encyclical, Laudato Si, which focuses on the environment and stewardship of the Earth.

In that spirit, Fordham heartily welcomes efforts such as Notre Dame’s announcement that it will cease the use of coal in five years and will cut its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030.

Fordham’s campuses have been coal free for approximately 100 years, and in 2007, the University responded to a challenge by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2017.

Marco Valera, vice president of facilities, said he’s optimistic that the University will meet this goal through changes both small, like replacing every light bulb on campus with LEDs by 2017, and large.

At the Rose Hill campus, for instance, the University replaced oil-powered boiler plants with natural-gas-fired ones 10 years ago. Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, like thousands of other buildings throughout Manhattan, is powered by steam.

The University installed a 25-kilowatt solar array on the roof of Walsh Library in 2010, and Valera said he’s looking at options to add 1.2 megawatts of solar power (about 20 percent of the University’s total electric base load) to the University’s utility purchasing portfolio.

“It’s just good practice. If we can improve our environmental conditions, and at the same time save money, that’s a win-win. Those are resources that in be put into other places, like scholarships,” he said.


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