Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
Owning Our Impact
In Fall 2010, President Warrick Carter signed the College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).
With a mission to “educate students, create solutions, and provide leadership by example for the rest of society,” the ACUPCC puts schools on a path to measure, report, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by way of energy efficiency, waste reduction, sustainable purchasing, and transportation methods. A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory was completed in June 2011. The results show total CO2 equivalent emissions of 19,381.1 metric tonnes for the baseline year of 2010. The sources for these emissions are shown in the pie graph below.
While the college does have a long-term goal of eventual carbon neutrality, it is not feasible at this time for Columbia to generate its own “green” power via solar panels or wind turbines. Right now, the focus is on near-term, financially viable, high-impact solutions like the ECMs recommended by the Buildings and Energy Green Team. But to help offset our impact on the environment, Columbia will support renewable energy through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). While RECs are positive, they reduce neither the amount of energy we consume nor the related GHG emissions, but they do offset the emissions produced from energy within the grid we pull electricity from with a purchase of clean renewable energy produced outside our grid.