GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY SUMMARY REPORT ... 2013-14 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Key...

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Transcript of GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY SUMMARY REPORT ... 2013-14 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Key...




  • Introduction Climate change is one of the most serious challenges of our time and higher education institutions have a critical role to play in addressing this challenge. California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is committed to leading in the fight against climate change by doing all we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, encourage and support sustainable transportation options, and educate and empower our students and campus community to be part of the solution.

    Our Commitment CSULB formalized its commitment to climate action in 2010 when then President Alexander signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), now known as the Carbon Commitment. As a Carbon Commitment signatory, CSULB is responsible for conducting regular greenhouse emissions inventories, creating and regularly updating our own Climate Action Plan (CAP), and setting a date by which the university will achieve climate neutrality. In addition to identifying strategies for reducing our carbon footprint, the CAP must also describe how climate change-related research will be supported by the university and how sustainability and climate literacy will be prioritized in the curriculum.

    In 2010, the Campus Sustainability Task Force (STF) was established by the Academic Senate to ensure successful fulfillment of the Carbon Commitment. The STF works in collaboration with a variety of campus departments and stakeholders to ensure that key Carbon Commitment targets and deliverables are met.

    Progress to date:

    CSULB Joined Carbon Commitment

    Completed 1st GHG Emissions

    Inventory (of 2009-10


    Created Climate Action


    Created 2nd GHG Emissions

    Inventory (of 2013-14 emissions)

    Climate Neutrality


    2010 2013 2014 2016 2030

  • Inventory Process This is the second inventory of CSULB’s greenhouse gas emissions completed to date. This inventory, like the one completed in 2013, relied heavily on CSULB students to collect, analyze, and compile the data used to calculate the university’s emissions. Five student volunteers, who were drawn from five different majors, were trained and supervised by the Energy and Sustainability Manager and Sustainability Coordinator. The students attended meetings to learn about the emissions sources to be analyzed, the step-by-step process for collecting the data, and the methods and tools used to calculate emissions. Each student was then assigned a set of data that they were responsible for collecting and analyzing.

    Once all of the data was collected and compiled (more on that below), the Energy and Sustainability Manager and Sustainability Coordinator input the data into the Carbon Management and Analysis Platform (Carbon MAP) calculator in order to arrive at the total metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the university during the 2013-14 fiscal year.

    Data Collection and Sources The students gathered data related to campus operations, including fuel used by campus vehicles, natural gas and electricity use, fertilizer and refrigerant use, and solid waste generation. The Facilities Management Department oversees and tracks campus utilities and waste operations, while the Foundation manages and tracks its natural gas and refrigerant use and waste operations separately.

    Data on university funded travel (air, bus, and personal vehicle mile reimbursements) were provided to the student researchers by the University’s Accounts Payable Office and the Athletics Department.

    Collecting data related to faculty, staff, and student transportation habits, which are needed to calculate emissions generated by vehicle commutes to campus, was a multi-step process. Transportation habits of faculty and staff were identified through a survey distributed to employees via email by the Parking and Transportation Office, which is responsible for collecting the data for an annual report to the Southern California Air Quality Management District.

    Student commuting data were collected through an email survey as well as paper surveys distributed at outreach events during Earth Week.

    Both sets of data collected through the surveys were shared with a transportation planning consulting firm, who calculated the final mode split ratios, vehicle miles traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions totals.

  • 2013-14 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Key Findings Table 1 below lists each of the emissions sources that were included in the inventory along with the respective metric tons of greenhouse gases produced by each source. The total emissions generated during the 2013-2014 fiscal year totaled approximately 62,000 metric tons.

    Table 1.

    Scope # Emmissions Source MTCO2e


    Stationary Combustion 6,176

    Mobile Combustion/Fleet Fuels 373

    Fugitive Emmissions 716

    2 Purchased Electricity 16,763


    Student Commuting 28,036 Faculty/Staff Commuting 4,487 Air Travel 1,251 Solid Waste 4,337 Total GHG Emmissions 62,139

    (In Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent)

    Consistent with the findings of the 2009-2010 emissions inventory, Figure 1 illustrates that in 2013- 2014 the largest proportion of CSULB’s greenhouse gas emissions continue to be generated by student, faculty and staff vehicle commuting and purchased electricity.

    Figure 1.

    Stationary Combustion


    Mobile Combustion/Fleet Fuels 1%

    Fugitive Emissions 1%

    Purchased Electricity 27%

    Student/Faculty/Staff Commuting


    Air Travel 2%

    Solid Waste 7%

  • The current inventory also reveals that, overall, CSULB’s 2013-2014 greenhouse gas emission levels were slightly higher than 2009-2010 emissions. As figure 2 shows, emissions levels from solid waste and purchased electricity increased, while emissions from student commuting and fugitive emissions decreased. Emissions from university funded air travel, faculty and staff commuting, mobile fuel combustion and stationary combustion remained relatively static. Overall, CSULB’s total emissions increased by 4% (see Interpreting the Findings section for further explanation).

    Figure 2.

    CSULB GHG Emissions by Source (metric tons CO2e)

  • Interpreting the Findings Given that CSULB has only 14 years to reduce our emissions to zero if we want to achieve our 2030 climate neutrality goal, it is somewhat concerning that our overall emissions appear to be on the incline. However, the data indicates that this slight uptick actually represents a peak in our emissions from which the university could expect to see a steady decline.

    Purchased Electricity The nearly 21% increase in emissions from purchased electricity can be partly attributed to construction of new buildings on campus as well as the fact that our campus population, (and therefore the number of people utilizing energy), was higher in 2013-14 than it was in 2009-10. However, ongoing and planned efforts to increase energy efficiency and expand on-campus renewable energy generation are expected to steadily reduce the amount of purchased electricity that will be needed to power the campus.

    Solid Waste One of the most significant increases in emissions between the previous and current inventories were those associated with solid waste. Although our total tons of solid waste increased by 13% (163 tons) since our previous GHG inventory, the associated emissions increased by a disproportionate 66%. This can be explained by the fact that the emissions factors1 for solid waste were updated to reflect the most current scientific knowledge in the latest version of the calculator tool used to produce the inventory. The emissions factors used in the version of the tool used to complete the previous inventory substantially underestimated the global warming potential of solid waste.

    It is anticipated that this will be a one-time correction to the emissions factors that, unfortunately, gives the misleading impression that our generation of solid waste increased much more than it did. Regardless, the trajectory for solid waste emissions is expected to begin a sharp decline in the very near future. The Sustainability Task Force’s Zero Waste Working Group is currently developing a Zero Waste Campus Plan, which when fully implemented, will significantly increase our waste diversion rates and decrease solid waste emissions.

    Student, Faculty and Staff Commuter Emissions According to the transportation planning consultants who analyzed the transportation survey responses, the slight increase in emissions from faculty and staff commuting can be attributed to an increase in the number of individuals driving alone to campus as well as longer average distances traveled by those driving alone.

    The consultants also concluded that the decrease in emissions attributed to student commuters was more a result of improved vehicle emissions (fuel efficiency standards) rather than an increase in the proportion of students walking, biking, carpooling, or riding transit to campus.

    1 An emissions factor is a representative value that attempts to relate the quantity of a pollutant released to the atmosphere with an activity associated with the release of that pollutant (EPA,

  • Next Steps To ensure that our greenhouse gas emissions will decline at the rate necessary to meet our 2030 climate