At a Glance
College or University
Goals/Targets, Clean and Renewable Energy, Engagement and Behavior Change, Financial Evaluation and Planning, Sustainability and Energy Management Strategy
San Antonio, TX
Theresa Isemann helped the Alamo Colleges District develop climate action strategies to embrace innovative and collaborative pathways for sustainable solutions.
The Alamo Colleges District (ACD) is a system of five community colleges in San Antonio, Texas. Each of the five colleges is an individual signatory to Second Nature’s Climate Commitment campaign, which commits to carbon neutrality by 2050. The Alamo Colleges District enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Theresa Isemann to work on three primary projects to support their carbon reduction efforts. Theresa formalized a strategy for creating an innovative, long-term climate action plan, assessed the potential of using Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Reporting System (STARS) software to provide a framework for sustainability reporting, and provided best practices for the energy management team to manage current and future on-site renewable energy installations.
Isemann spent her summer working with the District Facilities team, consultants from Texas A&M Energy Systems Laboratory, and staff members from San Antonio College’s Eco Centro, a hub for sustainability. Theresa developed a comprehensive, STARS-based climate action template with built-in accountability measures to serve as the foundation for future carbon emission reduction blueprints. This STARS-based climate action template fuses two frameworks for higher education sustainability project tracking and implementation. She designed a series of workshops to disrupt the conventional climate action planning in order to allow for innovative solutions and pathways to remove barriers for implementation. After conducting a preliminary STARS audit at one of the colleges to mock-up the process, she built a customized STARS audit tool to assist with future reporting endeavors. Theresa proposed on-site solar arrays, a community solar project, tools for managing current and future on-site solar PV, and drafted a protocol for purchasing renewable energy.
Isemann’s STARS-based climate action template will crystallize sustainability efforts across the Alamo Colleges District. Her work will raise the profile of climate action for students and administration, which could spur district-wide carbon reduction measures. Theresa laid the foundation for using renewable energy to decarbonize the ACD’s energy portfolio.