Colgate has completed two greenhouse gas emissions inventories. In 2009, the campus carbon footprint measured 17,353 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTeCO2) and in 2010 our footprint dropped to 14,505 MTeCO2.  See the bar chart below for a comparison between the two years.

Compared to some other colleges and universities, Colgate's overall emissions are low. Since 1981, Colgate's primary source of on-campus energy comes from the wood chip boiler which--according to international protocol and the guidelines established by the ACUPCC--does not contribute to the campus carbon footprint.

Likewise, Colgate's emissions associated with purchased electricity through its agreement with the Village of Hamilton municipal electric utility--totaled 1,885 MTeCO2 in 2009. These emissions are also low compared with the national and New York averages, because 84% of the electrical mix comes from non-carbon emitting hydroelectric power.

The two greatest contributors to Colgate's overall emissions across all scopes were “Fuel Oil” and “Air Travel.”  See the pie chart below.  Colgate consumes fuel oil, as the existing wood boiler does not have enough capacity to provide heat to all buildings connected on the steam line during the winter months.  Colgate also burns fuel oil #2 in buildings not connected to the main steam line.

According to Colgate’s baseline greenhouse gas inventory for 2009, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with Colgate's secondary fuels (fuel oil #6 and fuel oil #2) combined for a total 6,232 MTeCO2 or 35% of our total emissions.

Colgate, like other higher education institutions, follows an international protocol for measuring and reporting our emissions.  The protocol--established by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI)--ensures that there is consistency between institutions. Under these protocols, sources of greenhouse gas emissions are divided into three categories or “scopes.” These are:
  • Scope 1 Emissions.  Scope 1 refers to direct GHG emissions occurring from sources that are owned or controlled by the institution.  For Colgate this includes on-site combustion of fuel oil, vehicle fleet emissions, fugitive refrigerant chemicals, and emissions associated with grounds maintenance.
  • Scope 2 Emissions.  Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions generated in the production of electricity consumed by the institution.  To caluculate these emissions we have to determine how our electricity is produced and calculate the rate of greenhouse gas emissions associated with each source.
  • Scope 3 Emissions.  Scope 3 refers to all other indirect emissions - those that are a consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the institution. Colgate's Scope 3 emissions include faculty and staff commuting, bus commuting, air travel paid for by or through the university, paper use, and solid waste.
Operational Boundary: As an ACUPCC signatory, Colgate is expected to be consistent with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and track and report on each of the six greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).  Colgate is also required to account for and report all Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.  In addition, Colgate is required to report Scope 3 emissions from air travel paid for by or through the university and employee commuting to and from campus.

Colgate's business-as-usual scenario (BAU) forecasts campus emissions if we do not take any measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  We based our BAU scenario on future enrollment and emissions per full-time equivalent student (FTE).  Colgate's emissions dropped from 17,353 MTeCO2 in 2009 to 14,505 MTeCO2 in 2010.  We averaged 5.74 MTeCO2 of emissions per FTE for the two years we completed our inventory.  Colgate plans to marginally increase enrollment in the years ahead from 2,784 FTE in 2009 to stabilize at 2,830 FTE by 2015 and beyond.  Other key assumptions specific to Colgate's business-as-usual scenario include:
  • A slight increase in fuel oil #6 and electricity emissions due to the addition of Colgate's new 15,000 square-foot fitness center that came online in January 2011. We assumed that the building would be 15% more energy efficient than our average building due to sustainable design.
  • No new construction after 2011.
  • Major renovations do not meet LEED Silver rating or better, resulting in buildings that use the same rate of energy in the future as today.
  • An increase in enrollment from 2,784 FTE in 2009 to 2,830 by 2015 (Table 5).
  • No change in electricity mix.  We assume that hydroelectric will continue to provide 84% of our electricity with coal, nuclear, wind, and others rounding out our mix.
  • Corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) improves by 42% by 2016 as specified under the new EPA mandate passed in 2010.  We assume this improvement in gas mileage will result in a 3.81% per year improvement in fuel efficiency associated with Colgate's vehicle fleet and employee commuting until 2021.
Based on these assumptions, we estimate that Colgate's emissions will stabilize at 14,501 MTeCO2 by 2022 under a business-as-usual scenario (see figure below).

The 2009 Greenhouse Gas Inventory can be downloaded and read in its entirety by clicking here