Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory, FY 2006 through FY 2010
The university's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and emissions estimate calculates annual emissions beginning in fiscal year 2006 (FY 2006). Also known as a "carbon footprint" assessment, this estimate includes an initial baseline (in our case FY 2006) from which to measure progress, and provides annual updates as we track our progress toward our university-wide climate goals.
In 2008, Georgetown's President, John DeGioia, pledged to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% per square foot by the year 2020. Read more about the university's sustainability commitments here.
In the most recent fiscal year, the university made continued progress on our path toward meeting this pledge. Our FY 2010 inventory shows that the university has achieved a 19.8 percent reduction in emissions over FY 2006 GHG levels. The report, below, describes our inventory process, total emissions and subsets by building type, major energy conservation measures, and more for FY 2010. (Prior years' inventories are available at right.)
There are a variety of models available for estimating greenhouse gas emissions. The methodology adopted by Georgetown University is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.
The inventory includes emissions from Georgetown's Main Campus and Medical Center [Note 1] in Northwest DC, and our Law Center near Capitol Hill. Emissions relating to Georgetown University Hospital are not included, as these facilities have been operated independently by MedStar Health since July 2000. Emissions relating to Georgetown's off-campus townhouses, rental properties and leased spaces are also excluded at this time.
The current inventory calculates annual emissions from our energy use data for FY 2006- FY 2010. FY 2006 is used as a baseline from which to measure annual progress toward our emissions reduction targets. The inventory is updated each year.
Georgetown's GHG inventory currently includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 of the WRI's model. Scope 1 includes direct emissions from sources owned by the University, including fuel burned by the on-site heating and cooling plant, buildings, and vehicles. Scope 2 includes indirect emissions from purchased electricity. Scope 3, not included at this time, includes other emissions related to the institution by sources not owned by the institution, such as those from commuting and business travel.
In all cases, emissions are evaluated in terms of Metric Tons of Carbon-Dioxide Equivalents (MTCDE). The inventory includes gross emissions as well as emissions per square foot. Between FY 2006 and FY 2009, there was no change in square footage. In FY 2010, the new building for our Business School came into operation as did additional athletics facilities, adding about 265,100 square feet.
Georgetown University's GHG emissions in FY 2010 totaled 91,250 MTCDEs. Of this amount, 89.97% (82,101 MTCDE) was associated with main campus activities and 10.03% (9,149 MTCDE) with the Law Center. Scope 1 emissions accounted for about one third of the total (30,831 MTCDE) while Scope 2 emissions made up the remaining two thirds (60,419 MTCDE).
Figure 1: MTCDEs per Square Foot for FY 2006-FY 2010
As shown in Figure 1, above, Georgetown's emissions per square foot have fallen by 19.8% since FY 2006, or about 4% per year. This long term trend is due to a variety of factors including:
- Improved efficiency at the central heating and cooling plant.
- Energy conservation initiatives in buildings.
- Behavior-change and awareness efforts, such as the Switch It Off energy saving competition between residence halls.
- Changes in the energy mix of electricity, as local energy companies increase their use of green energy.
- Demand and energy management programs.
- The addition of the university's first LEED-certified, energy-efficient building.
- Strong design and energy standards for all newer construction.
Emissions by Source
Figure 2 below shows the sources of Georgetown's emissions by type of fuel for FY 2010. Electricity accounts for nearly two-thirds of total emissions (all Scope 2 emissions) with natural gas accounting for almost all of the remaining third (29,468 MTCDE). Less than 2 percent of Georgetown's emissions are due to other sources.
Figure 2: MTCDE Emissions by Source, FY 2010
With the majority of Georgetown's Scope 1 and 2 emissions coming from electricity and natural gas consumption, efforts to reduce our carbon footprint must significantly focus on reducing the use of these two resources. Thus a major focus must be on reducing cooling needs (the major component of electric use) and heating needs (the major component of natural gas use), through increases in operational efficiency and building efficiency.
Emissions by Type of Building
Table 1, below, compares the emissions that are related to each of five groups of buildings: residence halls, administrative/academic, research (primarily laboratories), athletic/fitness facilities, and the Law Center.
Research labs, such as those on the Medical Campus, contribute the largest amount to total emissions and also have the highest emissions per-square-foot, as a function of the energy-intensive equipment used to support a variety of medical and science research. Residential facilities account for the second-largest share of the University's carbon foot print. Combined, these two types of facilities contribute over two thirds of the University's Scope 1 and 2 emissions and thus should have the highest priority in terms of conservation programs.
Table 1: Emissions by Type of Building Total, and per 1,000 sq. ft., FY 2010
|Building Type||Emissions (MTCDEs)||Percent of Total Emissions||Sq. Footage||Emissions per Square Foot (MTCDE per 1,000 sq ft)|
Use of Solar Energy at Georgetown
Bunn Intercultural Center (ICC) Solar Array
The Bunn Intercultural Center solar array was installed in 1984 and is the longest running installation of its scale in the country. The array currently supplies 6 percent of the energy for the ICC, a major academic building on the main campus. While this facility supplies only a tiny fraction (0.18%) of the overall demand for energy at Georgetown's main campus, it plays an important teaching and educational role, and stands as a symbol of Georgetown's long-standing support for forward-looking energy technologies.
The photovoltaic array comprises 3318 square meters of active area serving as a roof for the seven-story Intercultural Center in the heart of the University campus. The array consists of ten panels or sub-arrays distributed on four south-facing planes forming a weather-tight roof sloped at 35 degrees above horizontal. The system was designed to produce 300 kilowatts under standard test conditions (1,000W / m2, 28°C).
Since its installation, the array has generated 5.8 million kWh. The early years saw peak generations as high as 300 kW and 360,000 kWh per year, but deterioration within the modules and from accumulation of baked on grime on the module surfaces has caused production to decrease over time. The array's surface was scrubbed in 1993, and production recovered to about 240 kW peak and 300,000 kWh per year. Due to both aging and a reduced number of functional cells, the array's production declined by nearly half - to about 160 kW peak and 100,000 kWh per year in 2007. Recent repairs returned the array's capacity to approximately 200,000 kWhs.
[Note 1] Georgetown University's main campus on Reservoir Road, including both the Main Campus and the Medical Center, is serviced by a central heating and cooling plant. The plant uses electricity, fuel oil and natural gas to generate steam that is used for heating, hot water, autoclaves, humidification and cleaning. While the central plant also services Georgetown/MedStar Hospital, this facility is separately metered so that emissions relating to hospital use can be excluded from Georgetown University's figures. The chillers use electricity to generate chilled water for air conditioning and refrigeration. Heating and cooling at the Law Center campus is based on heating and chilling units in each building. The boilers use natural gas while the chillers use electricity.