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In 2008, UT Arlington conducted its first GHG emissions inventory using ICELI’s Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP) software, a tool intended for local government entities that calculates emissions associated with electricity, fuel use, and waste disposal. In 2010, UT Arlington conducted a second GHG analysis using the Clean Air-Cool Planet calculator which offers a Campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Calculator.
The 2010 inventory covered:
• Scope 1 – Direct GHG emissions for natural gas, University fleet fuel, and fertilizers
• Scope 2 – Indirect GHG emissions from purchased electricity
• Scope 3 – Indirect GHG emissions from student and faculty daily commutes and waste sent to landfills
The findings of the 2010 GHG emissions inventory reveal that energy usage accounted for approximately 75% of the University’s GHG emissions with 56% from purchased electricity used to operate buildings and chill water; approximately 18% from natural gas used primarily to generate steam heat for the on-campus thermal energy plant; and a small portion from fuel for University fleet vehicles. Vehicle emissions from commuting by student, faculty, and staff accounted for 14% of the University’s GHG emissions, prompting us to find more ways to encourage walking, biking, and use of public transit on campus and in the downtown community. Since then we have implemented car sharing, ride sharing, and bike sharing program on campus. In the first year of the GHG emissions reduction goal period (2010- 2011), emissions declined by 5.6% from 2005 levels. The most significant reduction was from refrigerants, which declined by 68%. This decrease was due to the replacement of the chiller in the on campus thermal plant, which occurred through the energy performance contract work. Waste-related emissions declined by 28% due to increased recycling. Although these decreases are impressive, refrigerants and waste accounted for only 9% of the University’s total GHG footprint.
In 2012, UT Arlington adopted a series of environmental performance targets as part of the development of a broader Campus Master Plan. Using the 2010 GHG analysis, we developed environmental performance goals in five goal areas: energy, buildings, transportation, waste, and water. Each goal was established with a 2005 base year and a target year of 2020.
By 2020, UT Arlington has committed to reduce:
• Energy consumption by 20%
• Fleet fuel consumption by 20%
• Municipal waste by 20%
• Municipal water use by 20%
In 2016, UTA conducted a Scope 1 and 2 GHG inventory consistent with The GHG Protocol, Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. This standard represents the best practice in GHG accounting for corporations, government entities, and universities. The Scope 1 emissions data collected included the quantity of natural gas used in university’s 109 buildings, the quantity of fuel used in university vehicles, and refrigerant purchased by the university, and Scope 2 was from purchased electricity.
In fiscal year 2016, total Scope 1 and 2 emissions for UT Arlington were 81,111.3 metric tons CO2e as shown in the table. This represents a 6.9% increase in emissions compared with 2010 and a 3.5% decrease in total Scope 1 and 2 emissions compared with 2005. The main drivers in the emissions increase was a 12.5% increase in natural gas consumption and an approximately 15% increase in electricity consumption on the campus. The increase in GHG emissions associated with the increased electricity usage was lessoned due to changes in electricity emissions factors used in the analysis to reflect an overall cleaner electric grid. At the same time, UT Arlington reduced emissions from both refrigerant usage and its vehicle fleet between 2010 and 2016, as HCFC – 22 emissions decreased by 90% and vehicle fleet emissions decreased by roughly 60%.
Scope 1 and 2 emissions increased by approximately 7% between 2010 and 2016 despite an approximately 20% increase in the square footage of buildings on campus during the same time period (Figure 2). As the vast majority of UT Arlington’s emissions are produced by electricity and natural gas consumed in building, square footage is likely the major driver of emissions at the university. Given the large increase in building square footage between 2010 and 2016, facility emissions from natural gas and electricity per building square foot decreased by 12% between 2010 and 2016, as shown in Figure 1.