by Amanda Carpenter, Program Associate, Second Nature

Within the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment network, we like to highlight institutions that are making outstanding progress towards their carbon neutrality goals. Two of the metrics that we use to normalize the data are emissions per Full Time Equivalent, and emissions per 1000 square feet. These data points are taken from the self-reported values in the Greenhouse Gas and Progress Reports that are submitted by signatory institutions.

EMISSIONS PER FULL TIME EQUIVALENT

FTE

The school that had the lowest gross emissions per Full Time Equivalent was the American Public University System at about 0.1 metric tons of CO2e, rounded up in our system to the nearest tenth. For their 2015 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the American Public University System reported a Full Time Equivalent of 42136.0 students.

In the narrative section of the 2014 Progress Report, the American Public University System points to its high density and online learning

programs as being a contributor for their success.

  • “APUS supports 22,050 people per 100,000 square feet of space when its 100,000+ remote students are included in the calculation. This efficient use of physical space represents outstanding density and minimal GHGs per student and would be impossible without its scalable online platform.
  • Even just counting on-site employees, with students excluded, APUS still has an outstanding density ratio, supporting approximately 447 people per 100,000 square feet of space, aligning it with average small liberal arts colleges.
  • APUS emits well below one ton of GHGs per student, while many other universities register between 6 ½ and 7 tons of carbon dioxide emitted per student.”

You can view the American Public University System’s reports online on their Reporting System page.

LOWEST EMISSIONS PER 1000 SQUARE FEET OF BUILDING SPACE

Middlebury-path-to-neutrality

The school that had the lowest emissions per 1000 square feet was Middlebury College at about 0.9 metric tons of CO2e, rounded up in our system to the nearest 10th. For their 2014 Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Middlebury College reported 2,564,867.0 sq ft of building space.

In the narrative section of Middlebury College’s Progress Report they state that the reductions in gross emissions per 1000 square feet are “Primarily due to installation of biomass gasification system in 2009 and increasingly efficient use of the system which uses woodchips. This switch allowed the displacement of 1.3 million gallons of #6 fuel oil in 2014 with 25,000 tons of woodchips.”

Middlebury College’s total gross emissions have been declining since their first reporting year, even when the square footage of the campus has increased by 64867 square feet.

To assist with carbon neutrality goals, Middlebury College has an interactive, real-timedashboard that shows energy use and solar production for the Franklin Environmental Center. You can view Middlebury College’s reports online on their Reporting System page.

Photo credits:
1. Ribbon Cutting from Energy-Efficient Finance Center (Source: http://www.apus.edu/news-events/news/2012/9-18-2012-APUS-Finance-Center-Grand-Opening.hml)
2. Middlebury College’s Path to Carbon Neutrality (http://www.middlebury.edu/sustainability/carbon-neutrality/projects-progress/timeline)