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Carbon Footprint Report


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Carbon Footprint

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A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. The carbon footprint is a sum of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced by various campus activities through the burning of fossil fuels, electricity use, transportation, etc. and is frequently called a GHG inventory. Once the size of the carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be developed to reduce or eliminate it. These reduction strategies include improved efficiency, better technology, behavior changes, policy changes, reforestation, and incorporating renewable energy.

Carbon footprint
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The Association of College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) established protocols for emission measurement includes three “scopes” or general categories of sources. According to the ACUPCC Implementation Guide:

  • Scope 1:
    GHG emissions are "from sources that are owned or controlled by the institution, including: on-campus stationary combustion of fossil fuels; mobile combustion of fossil fuels by institution owned/controlled vehicles; and "fugitive" emissions. Fugitive emissions result from intentional or unintentional releases of GHGs, including the leakage of HFCs from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment as well as the release of CH4 from institution-owned farm animals.
  • Scope 2:
    Emissions are "indirect emissions generated in the production of electricity consumed by the institution."
  • Scope 3:
    Emissions are "a consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the institution" such as commuting, air travel for university activities, waste disposal; embodied emissions from extraction, production, and transportation of purchased goods; outsourced activities; contractor owned- vehicles; and line loss from electricity transmission and distribution."

A GHG inventory was developed for FY2005, which established a baseline year for tracking progress toward emission reduction.  The most recently published report is for FY2015.  Going forward, GHG inventories will be completed on alternating years, at a minimum. Publicly reported GHG inventories for all colleges and universities may be accessed here.

At a glance, approximately two-thirds of Salisbury University's GHG emissions result from electricity, heating and cooling buildings. Nearly one third of our emissions are associated with transportation and commuting by our students, faculty and staff.

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