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

Make a difference! Be a Carbon Neutral Commuter. It costs less than a few lattes or a pizza!

Appalachian State University students, faculty, and staff can purchase carbon offsets along with yearly parking passes or at Parking & Traffic at any time by participating in the Carbon Neutral Commuter program, provided through Office of Sustainability and Parking & Traffic. 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 2016-17, Appalachian reported a total of 7,289 student, faculty and staff commuters with a commuting carbon footprint of 14,431 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide— over 13 percent 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. Think about it, eight dollars is two lattes, or a pizza, or lunch for a day, or 1.9 metric tons of carbon-dioxide. Which do you think is the better value?

Before the Carbon Neutral Commuter program began, Sterling Planet, Inc. - our carbon offset broker - predicted we should expect a 2-3% participation rate. In the first year of this program, the Appalachian Nation responded with a remarkable 17.5 percent participation rate with 100 percent of the funds raised from the program going toward the purchase of offsets.

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 2017-18 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.