Measuring & Reporting Dickinson's Emissions
Dickinson measures and reports its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually to Second Nature’s President’s Climate Leadership Commitments (formally the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)) and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Reporting System (STARS). We measure and report our GHG emissions in order to prioritize our Climate Action Plan projects and meet our Climate Neutral by 2020 commitment.
Dickinson categorizes greenhouse gas emissions into six major categories, Scopes 1, 2, and 3, gross emissions, offsets, and net emissions. Scope 1 emissions are those associated with activities the institution directly controls and manages (e.g., fuel consumption in the Central Energy Plant (CEP)), Scope 2 emissions are those associated with purchasing electricity from the grid, and Scope 3 emissions are those associated with College activities that produce emissions, but that the College does not directly control emissions reductions efforts (e.g., employee commuting and air travel). Gross emissions are the sum of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Offsets are reductions in emissions by others that are enabled by actions of the College, e.g., purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates. Offsets are subtracted from gross emissions to calculate our net emissions.
We improved our greenhouse gas accounting methods to include previously excluded emissions and to estimate emissions from employee commuting and college travel more accurately. The new methods were used to calculate 2016 emissions and have been applied to all previous years to revise emission estimates for 2008 through 2015. The revised estimates presented in this report supersede all previously reported emissions. We report all emissions data by fiscal year in this report (e.g., 2016 refers to the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016) and in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (MT eCO2). Carbon dioxide equivalent units incorporate emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases into one value.
Dickinson College’s 2016 greenhouse gas emissions were 17,165 MT eCO2 gross and 9,601 MT eCO2 net (Fig. 1). Dickinson’s 2016 gross and net emissions were 611 MT eCO2 (3 %) and 988 MT eCO2 (9 %) less than 2015 gross and net emissions. Dickinson’s 2016 gross and net emissions were 1,729 MT eCO2 (9 %) and 5,321 MT eCO2 (36 %) less than 2008 gross and net emissions, our baseline year.
Figure 1. Summary of Dickinson's greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2016.
Emission reductions in 2015 and 2016 have moved us toward our climate change commitment, which calls for a 25% reduction in gross emissions from our 2008 baseline by the year 2020. A variety of projects are in process or planned to meet our commitment, including replacing nearly all of the College’s lights with LEDs and the development of a 2.9 MW solar electricity facility that will supply approximately 25% of Dickinson's electricity consumption beginning in early 2018.
Dickinson’s 2016 gross emissions were split among the three emissions scopes in the same order as in 2015: Scope 2 accounted for the largest percentage, followed by Scope 1 then Scope 3 (Fig. 2). Dickinson’s 2016 Scope 2 emissions accounted for 7,323 MTeCO2, or 43 % of gross emissions, Scope 1 emissions accounted for 5,002 MT eCO2, or 29 % of gross emissions, and Scope 3 emissions accounted for 4,840 MT eCO2, or 28 % of gross emissions.
Figure 2. Dickinson College's greenhouse gas emissions by scope from 2008 to 2016.
More information is available by downloading Dickinson’s 2016 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, viewing our Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Campus Energy Use dashboard, or viewing our publically available reports from Second Nature and STARS.