Measuring & Reporting Dickinson's Emissions
Dickinson measures and reports its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In 2014, our emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases were equivalent to 19,952 metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTeCO2). This works out to 10.2 MTeCO2 per 1000 square feet of building space, or 8.5 MTeCO2 per full-time student. Offsetting 42% of these emissions are purchases of Renewable Energy Certificates that help finance wind-generated electricity and reduce emissions from the electric utility sector by 8,404 MTeCO2. Subtracting this offset from our total GHG emissions yields net emissions 11,548 MTeCO2.
These figures compare favorably to the average of 4-year undergraduate colleges that report GHG emissions to the ACUPCC. But we have a lot of work ahead of us to meet our commitment to reach zero net emissions.
Our largest source of emissions is purchases of electricity. The electricity we purchase from our local utility is generated mostly by coal-fired power plants, which release carbon dioxide when the coal is burned. In 2014, we purchased 20,013,835 kWh of electricity, which resulted in emissions equivalent to 9,107 MTeCO2. This represents 46% of our total GHG emissions. Our next largest sources of emissions are on campus combustion of natural gas and oil (26%), air travel including study abroad and faculty and staff work trips (13%) and employee commuting (9%). With this information we can better target our emission reduction efforts for 2020.