University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899
Legends parking lot is home to Appalachian’s 4-plug solar-powered EV charging station.
Legends parking lot is home to Appalachian’s 4-plug solar-powered EV charging station.

Carbon Neutral Commuter

Appalachian State Parking & Transportation

Make a difference! Be a Carbon Neutral Commuter. It costs less than a few lattes or a pizza, and 100% of the funds raised from the program go toward the purchase of offsets and contribute to the university’s Climate Action goals.

Appalachian State University students, faculty and staff can purchase carbon offsets along with yearly parking passes at the Parking and Transportation office anytime by participating in the Carbon Neutral Commuter (CNC) program, provided through the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Parking and Transportation. Internal research shows the average commuter at Appalachian drives 4,300 miles per year — releasing roughly 1.9 metric tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

In 2018–19 (the most recent year for which data is available), Appalachian reported commuters — including 7,406 students and employees with parking permits and those using buses, ride shares and carpools — had a carbon footprint of 9,145.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which accounted for over 14.6% of the university’s entire carbon footprint.

What does it take to become a Carbon Neutral Commuter? Eight dollars and the willingness to take responsibility for unintended consequences. No one drives to pollute, but that is what happens every time we get behind the wheel. This program will not eliminate your tailpipe emissions, but it will reduce the regional carbon footprint by the same amount.

In total, our community is responsible for offsetting 8,503 tons of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide — the equivalent to taking 1,847 vehicles off the road permanently.

Be part of the change.

Participation is easy. Look for the Carbon Neutral Commuter option when you sign up this summer for your yearly parking pass or head over to the University Bookstore. Eight dollars is all it takes. As a Carbon Neutral Commuter, you’ll receive a 2020–21 CNC bumper sticker so you can shout “I am proactive about my carbon footprint.”

What does your money actually do? The Office of Sustainability, through Sterling Planet, will purchase carbon offsets such as:

Methane capture and destruction

Capturing and destroying methane, the natural byproduct of decomposition, in landfills and on farms to prevent its release into the atmosphere

Intermodal transport

Using shipping containers to take cargo off the highway and instead transport it by rail, which causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional trucking

Reducing energy use

Including truck stop electrification systems that allow truckers to "plug in" their vehicles to operate necessary equipment without idling the engine and releasing emissions unnecessarily

Carbon offsets help to slow climate change. By making a gift for this purpose, you are investing pollution reduction, and this offsets the amount of pollution produced by your own consumption.