At Saint Michael's College, we take the threat of climate change seriously. Conducting a greenhouse gas inventory (and updating it as data becomes available) is one of the precautionary measures the college is taking. Without knowing what our emissions trend is, how can we take necessary steps to reduce it?
Saint Michael's College chose to use the Clean Air-Cool Planet's Campus Carbon Calculator, version 6.6, to calculate its emissions because it was designed specifically for higher education institutions and has become a reputable standard for schools across North America. It is recommended by the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and provides a way for institutions to learn from each other’s best practices. The calculator examines the emissions from all six major greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFC and PFC, and SF6), is user-friendly, does automatic calculations, and allows Saint Michael's College to model the emissions impacts of potential sustainability projects in both chart and graph form.
Saint Michael's College has reduced its CO2 emissions by 13.4% (from FY 2003 – 2011, currently updating to 2012 so stay tuned)! This is significant especially when you consider we’ve added 5 new buildings over this period, increasing square footage by 136,049 ft!
Despite the increase in square footage on campus, our emissions have trended downward thanks to a lot of great done in Facilities as well as increased education about energy consumption on campus. Here's a snapshot of what we've done:
- 2001-2011, efficiency projects focusing on electricity usage have saved a total of 1,083,446 kWh annually
- old boilers dating back to the 1960s have been replaced over the past five years
- 2008 Office of Sustainability established – programs to reduce electricity/energy consumption by changing behaviors
- 2009- major HVAC renovation/upgrades to McCarthy Arts Center
- Newer buildings constructed with energy efficiency in mind (not to mention LEED Silver
Why the couple of upward peaks?
- 2003-2005 – Hoehl, Pontigny and Canterbury were constructed
- 2007-2008 – Sutton Fire Rescue building constructed
- 2009-2010 – Pomerleau Alumni Center built (interesting this year one doesn’t see a upward trend of emissions but more so a slower rate of emission reduction – 2009 was our biggest year of efficiency projects!)
Other Factors to Keep in Mind:
One needs to consider the weather conditions each year ( a milder winter will result in less natural gas and oil usage, thus less emissions and vice versa for a colder winter)
The GHG inventory is updated each year (but always off by one year due to timing of when all data becomes available). Stay tuned to see how our emission story unfolds. It will be quite interesting to see what happens to our emissions once the Quad Commons project is complete. 83,000 square feet added to our footprint, yet utilizing geo-thermal energy and many energy efficient features.