UNH Lowers Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 26 Percent

UNH Lowers Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 26 Percent

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The University of New Hampshire lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 26 percent compared to a 2001 baseline, it reported in its latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory, released today. Based on current emissions reduction goals set forth in UNH’s Climate Action Plan, called “WildCAP”, the university is well on the way to achieving its goal of reducing emissions 50 percent by 2020.

The latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory public report and a longer technical report can be downloaded at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/ghginventory.

UNH has steadily reduced its carbon footprint, primarily because of its cogeneration heat and power plant, the EcoLine landfill gas project, and a revolving energy efficiency fund (EEF) that invests in on-campus energy efficiency projects. UNH sells the renewable energy certificates (RECs) associated with EcoLine’s electricity generation and uses the funds generated toward repayment of the EcoLine project cost and investment in the EEF, which in turn is lowering total campus emissions.

Emissions are expected to continue their downward trajectory in coming years as more efficiency projects on campus -- such as a solar pre-heat ventilation project at Kingsbury Hall -- are completed, new policies and practices are considered, and the university’s transportation demand management and outreach and behavioral programs continue to expand.

UNH’s latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory report extends UNH inventory records from 1990 through June 30, 2011. For this most recent update, UNH’s main source of emissions on campus include fuels used to produce steam and electricity through the on-campus cogeneration plant (42 percent of net emissions once the sale of RECs are accounted for), student and employee commuting in single-occupancy vehicles (25 percent), air travel (14 percent), fuel sources for buildings not connected to the cogeneration plant (10 percent), purchased electricity (6 percent), and fuel for the UNH mobile fleet (3 percent). The university also has two sources of emissions offsets: composting and carbon uptake by university-owned woodlands and farms.

“The climate challenge we face today demands the kind of large, multi-faceted response that UNH is undertaking,” says Tom Kelly, UNH chief sustainability officer.  “We combine our leading edge operational best practices with teaching, research and engagement in climate and energy to be a model climate protection campus.”

UNH adopted its first climate action plan in September 2009, the result of a two-year process coordinated by the campus-wide Energy Task Force (ETF). WildCAP calls for greenhouse gas reductions of 50 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The ETF will be updating WildCAP in 2013.

Responding to climate change is a key component of the work of the Sustainability Institute at UNH. Sustainability is a core value of UNH, shaping its culture, informing behavior, and guiding its work. As a nationally recognized leader, UNH calls on its Sustainability Institute to act as convener, cultivator and champion of sustainability on campus, in the state and region, and around the world. Learn more at www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.