Notre Dame Unveils $100M Sustainability Plan

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Notre Dame says it generates about half of its electrical energy needs from its power plant. Notre Dame says it generates about half of its electrical energy needs from its power plant.

The University of Notre Dame is planning to invest $113 million in a major sustainability effort. The school says it will stop burning coal entirely within five years and shrink its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030.

President John Jenkins says the school is heeding the call of Pope Francis and "recommitting to make the world a greener place." He says the $113 million investment will fund efforts including a hydroelectric project, solar power and on and off-campus geothermal fields. The school estimates the projects will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 47,500 tons.

In an address to faculty, Jenkins said Pope Francis "presents us with a comprehensive moral vision about the environment, technology, the character of our communal lives, our responsibility to the poor and marginalized, the dangers of a compulsive consumerism and the need for global solidarity. It is a challenging moral vision, but one for which, I believe, our world is hungry, and no university is better positioned to respond."

Notre Dame says it generates about half of its electrical energy needs and purchases the rest from Indiana Michigan Power. It plans over the next five years to use more natural gas and develop other energy sources. The school says it will also use gas turbine technology, hydro power and heat recovery technology to meet those goals.

The university says it has been moving in the direction of cutting coal for the last decade. It says, in 2013, the school's emissions from its power plant were 40 percent lower than 2005 levels.

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