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MIT Climate Mitigation Solutions


Question: How can MIT demonstrate innovative climate mitigation solutions on campus?
Submit Proposals:
Rules: All entrants must agree to the Contest Rules and Terms of Use
Deadline: Monday, May 23, 2016 at 20:00:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Judging Criteria & Prizes: See below.


This contest seeks ideas that successfully help MIT meet the 32% reduction goal and accelerate progress towards climate neutrality, and harness the unique capacity of a research institution to demonstrate climate solutions.  In October 2015, MIT announced a goal to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by at least 32 percent by 2030 with aspirations to reach the scientifically necessary goal of carbon neutrality.  The Plan for Action on Climate Change (2015) and The Shared Statement on Climate Action (2016).

The Shared Statement on Climate Action (2016) challenges the MIT community to invent solutions that make this goal achievable as soon as possible, and harness the demonstration capacity of MIT to model, scale, and deploy innovative and groundbreaking mitigation solutions in a complex urban environment.

Judging Criteria

Proposals will be judged based on their ability to both feasibly reduce campus emissions and demonstrate a unique potential to harness the innovation, research, or demonstration capacity of the MIT campus and community.  In other words – many actions could reduce simply reduce MIT’s operational emissions.  Proposals should make a case for why this solution should be a part of that portfolio of actions because it fulfills MIT’s charge to play a role in demonstrating and creating climate solutions to a global audience beyond the campus doors. 

Proposals will be judged based on their feasibility, novelty, impact, and presentation. Winning proposals will make a strong case for how the project or solution would be funded, and a concrete timeframe for implementation.  For more details about the judging criteria, click here.


Both Judges’ and Popular Choice winners will be invited to present their ideas in a conference at MIT and to senior leadership responsible for creating the MIT emissions reductions plan. Winning proposals may be invited to submit for additional funding to support development or implementation of ideas based on feasibility.

Proposal Elements

This contest is meant to engage the intellectual capital of the entire MIT community in answering this question: what mitigation projects or solutions should MIT prioritize in a multi-faceted plan to reach a 32% reduction goal and beyond, in order to best demonstrate innovative climate mitigation solutions to our community, partners, and the world?

Proposals must demonstrate both mitigation for MIT operational greenhouse gases, and harness the innovation/demonstration potential of the MIT campus or community.  

Proposals must answer the following questions:

Proposals are encouraged but not required to additionally consider:

Who can participate?

The contest is open to any member of the global public for proposals and comment, with an emphasis on engaging ideas from the broad MIT community – particularly current members of the student, faculty, researcher, and staff body. Proposal teams must include at least one member of the MIT community (student, faculty, researcher, staff, affiliate, or alumni).


Proposal Feedback and Soft Deadlines

Members of the MIT community and alumni are invited to participate in an additional round of proposal review and feedback with key members of the MIT operational teams responsible for guiding the development of the Institute's greenhouse gas reduction strategy on May 9th, 2016 at SustainabilityConnect, a conference for members of the MIT community working to implement sustainable campus solutions.  This round of review is meant to help refine proposals.  

If you are interested in receiving in-depth feedback on your proposal, please note the following additional deadlines:

Resources for Proposal Authors

Ideas & Plans on Campus Climate and Sustainability

MIT Carbon Emissions & Energy Profile

MIT Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Emissions from buildings comprise approximately 97% of MIT’s current greenhouse gas profile, with fleet vehicle and fugitive gas emissions comprising only about 3% of total operational emissions.  MIT measures campus greenhouse gases on a fiscal year basis. FY2014 is the baseline year for the MIT emissions reduction goal and represents the first year of comprehensive data collection.  Audited and up to date information is available for FY2015, and historical data is available dating back to 1990. The inventory includes buildings owned and leased by MIT for research, teaching, and administrative purposes on the Cambridge campus, fugitive gas emissions and campus fleet vehicle use.

MIT Central Utilities Plant Upgrade Project

MIT’s Central Utilities Plant (CUP) produces on-campus electricity and steam through a combined heat and power (CHP) process. The CUP Second Century Project will replace an aging turbine with new equipment, add a second new turbine at the same location, and complete additional system upgrades to increase energy efficiency and improve the resiliency of the campus. The upgraded system will serve MIT for at least the next 20 years. MIT has finalized a gas supply agreement with Eversource which will enable the plant to run on natural gas by 2020 with the exception of emergencies and testing. By 2019, the Institute will eliminate the use of #6 oil on campus. On the rare occasions when fuel oil is required, the CUP equipment will operate using cleaner #2 fuel oil.