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Class Project Report Sustainable Air Quality, EECE 449/549, Spring 2008 Washington University, St. Louis, MO The Carbon Footprint of Danforth Campus and its Causality Drivers. Instructors: Professor Rudolf B. Husar, Erin M. Robinson. Students: Devki Desai Martin Groenewegen Tyler Nading

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Instructors professor rudolf b husar erin m robinson l.jpg

Class Project ReportSustainable Air Quality, EECE 449/549, Spring 2008Washington University, St. Louis, MOThe Carbon Footprint of Danforth Campusand its Causality Drivers

Instructors: Professor Rudolf B. Husar, Erin M. Robinson


Devki Desai

Martin Groenewegen

Tyler Nading

Kate Nelson

Matt Sculnick

Alyssa Smith

Varun Yadav

See also a 5 min screencast and more details on the class wiki

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Main Components of WU Carbon Emissions: On Campus Energy Use in Buildings and Transportation

On Campus Energy Use Carbon Impact

The impact on carbon arises from on-campus energy use and from transportation




Transportation Carbon Impact


Air Travel


University Fleet


Transportation l.jpg


Devki Desai

Tyler Nading

Varun Yadav

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Washington University Transportation Emission

  • Commuter Travel

    • Faculty/Staff

    • Students

  • University Fleet

  • Air Travel

    • Athletic Meets

    • Study Abroad

    • Faculty Air Travels

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Annual Commuter Emission Calculation

2,421 grams of Carbon/Gallon as given by the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR 600.113)

44 gm CO2



0.99 % fuel oxidized




12 gm C



# people





  • Factors effecting the emission:

    • # of people commuting to WashU

    • miles driven per year

    • gallons of fuel required

    • amount of Carbon or Carbon Dioxide produced by the fuel

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Data Collected

Student Parking Permit Data: Only 2007-08.

Student Local Address Data

Student Home Address Data

Faculty/Staff Parking Permit Data: Only 2007-08.

Faculty/Staff Local Address Zip code: Only 2007-08.

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Issues with Data

Some students provide their permanent home address zip code instead of local address zip code

Each year over 3000-4000 students do not provide zip code.

Historic faculty/staff local zip code not available.

Historic parking permit data not available.

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2007-08 Data on Google Earth

Distance within 150 miles to WashU considered for analysis.

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Distance Calculation

Zip code converted to latitude and longitude based on U.S. Gazetteer and zipinfo.

For WashU, coordinates of Brookings Hall (38.648N, 90.305W) considered.

Distance from zip code coordinates to WashU coordinates calculated using the reference formula:

Δx = 69.1*(lat1-lat2); Δy = 53.0*(lon1-lon2),

Distance (in miles) = (Δx2+Δy2) 1/2.

Calculates straight line distance between WashU and centroid of zip code

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Fudge factors required for calculated distance

Highways and road directions

Bridges on East and North St. Louis

18% for Students

40% for Faculty/Staff

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Annual Distance Traveled

Assume every person makes 1 round trip (2 trips) to school per working day of the year

Faculty/Staff - 225 working days per year

Students - 165 working days (excluding vacations)

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Faculty Commuter Contribution

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Student Commuters

The number of students living within 150 miles of the Danforth Campus have not lead to an increase in the amount of parking permits issued as our data implied.

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Annual miles driven per student decreased most dramatically from 2002-2007.

This is explained in part by the shift in student residences from 2001-2007.



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Student Commuter Carbon Emissions

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University Fleet Contribution

The University fleet grew and contribution steadily increased despite improvements in fuel economy, yet is minimal in comparison to student commuter carbon emissions.

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Air Travel Emissions

  • General areas of air travel

    • Faculty

    • Study abroad

    • Athletics

  • Methodology

    • Faculty air travel not considered

    • Study abroad data was provided for the past 6 years

    • Athletic air travel data provided for the past 3 years

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Air travel emissions have increased by 30%

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Study abroad emissions are the driver in this study

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Washington University Transportation Emission

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On Campus Energy Use

Kate Nelson

Alyssa Smith

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Building Use by Category

Instruction and Departmental Research

Organized Research


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1990 vs. 2006 Main Campus Site Map

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Area Growth through Buildings

Instruction and Departmental Research: 1%

Organized Research: -40%

Other: 43%

Total: 35%

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Monthly Total Electricity Use

  • Monthly data for Danforth campus electricity use

  • Data for 1996-2000 is incomplete and not shown above

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Seasonal Electricity Use

  • Electricity use peaks in the summer

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Electricity Yearly Increase



Baseline electricity use has increased ~60% since 1990

Cooling electricity use has increased ~40% since 1990

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Electricity Use Compared to Building Area

  • Electricity used per unit area for cooling has not increased significantly

  • Baseline electricity use has increased 15% more than building area

  • Increase in baseline electricity use per unit area due to increased computer and electronics use

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Electricity Use Distribution

Electronic devices account for ~25% of 2007 electricity use

Lighting and electronics account for a large portion of electricity use and reductions can easily be made in this area

Reductions in cooling are more difficult to implement

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Monthly Total Fuel Use

  • Monthly natural gas use on Danforth campus from 1997 to 2007

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Seasonal Fuel Use

  • Fuel use peaks in the winter

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Fuel Yearly Increase



  • Heating fuel use has decreased ~10% since 1997

Baseline fuel use has increased ~65% since 1997

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Fuel Use Compared to Building Area

  • Fuel used per unit area for heating has decreased, ~30% less fuel is used per unit area

  • Baseline fuel use has increased 25% more than building area

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Fuel Use Distribution

Residential area built in 2001

Hot water heating requirements can easily be reduced

Heating needs are major use of fuel and not easily reduced

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Linear Causality Model for Campus Carbon Emissions


  • The carbon impact of on-campus energy is due to direct fuel consumption and indirectly from electricity use

  • The overall carbon impact for on campus energy consumption has increased 50% from 1990-2007

  • Electricity use contributed about 80 percent to the on-campus carbon impact

Fuel Cons.BTU/yr

C EmissionTon C/yr


Sq. Ft./$



Activities$ Expend./yr

Buildings Sq. Ft


Electr. ConsKw-Hr/yr

Fuel Cons. BTU/yr

C Emission Ton C/yr



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  • The student population increased only by 10% since 1990

  • However, the expenditures/student have increased by 60 percent

  • The buildings/expenditure has barely changed and the increased expenditures were matched by 60% growth in campus building area

  • Neither the energy use/sq ft nor the C emission/energy use has changed much

  • Hence, the key driver for the 60% carbon emission growth were the increased expenditures (prosperity) and the associated growth in the physical campus expansion.

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WU Comparison with Other Universities

Martin Groenewegen

Tyler Nading

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What is in this analysis:

Carbon assessments from other schools

Use to make sense of WU's report

Different data

Purchased electricity

Stationery sources (labs, steam generation, etc)

Transportation (University fleet, Commuting students, Commuting Faculty and Staff)

Ag Wastes

Solid Wastes

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Colleges and Universities

  • Carleton College

  • Harvard

  • Tufts University

  • University of New Hampshire

  • Smith College

  • Lewis and Clark

  • Middlebury College

  • University of Central Florida

  • Penn State University Park

  • Tulane University

  • Utah State University

  • Oberlin College

  • Duke University

  • University of Pennsylvania

  • Colby College

  • Wellesley College

  • Rice University

  • University of Illinois at Chicago

  • Penn State

  • College of Charleston

  • Yale

  • University of California, Santa Barbara

  • California State Polytechnic University

  • University of Connecticut

  • University of California, Berkeley

  • Amherst College

  • College of William and Mary

  • UT, Knoxville

  • Connecticut College

  • Occidental College

  • Colorado State University

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Why analyze the others

Determining scope of emission

Finding new ways to handle a lack of data/estimations with limited details

Method validation

Structuring of the Wash U report

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Tr-CSt=Transportation Commuting Students

PE=purchased electricity

Tr-CSF=Transportation Commuting Fac. Staff

ST=Stationery sources

Tr-A=Transportation Air


SW=Solid Wastes

Tr-UF=Transportation University Fleet

Ag=Agriculture Wastes

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Wash U

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And the Study Shows:

Wash U is average

Overall correlation between size and emission

Some out liars do exist


  • Do this study for a longer period of time using interim reports

  • Check the units

  • Comprise more comparisons for the given student body populations

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Analysis of Transportation Sector From Other Schools’ Inventories

  • Purpose

    • Examine methodology used by other schools to account for transportation emissions

    • Determine trends/drivers for transportation emissions

    • Use findings as measuring stick for WU

  • Methodology observed

  • Error observed

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  • Linear trend observed

  • Variance observed and expected

  • Duke and Penn outliers

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  • Population is a definite driver of transportation emissions

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WU and the Chicago Climate Exchange

Matt Sculnick

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Pollution Prevention

  • There are 2 main types of pollution prevention methods: Cap-and-Trade and BACT

  • The Best Available Technology Method requires certain pollution control methods to be put in place at specific facilities

  • There are different requirements for both new and existing sources; the new generally being stricter

  • Cap-and-Trade systems require that each facility only emit a certain amount a certain pollution (by weight) and if they come in under they are allowed to sell their remaining permits

  • This requires specific monitoring in order to verify the pollution levels

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Chicago Climate Exchange

  • The CCX was founded in 2003 and is the only trading platform of its kind in North America

  • All members of the exchange, currently approximately 350, agree to certain CO2 reductions each year

  • The members join voluntarily, but the reductions which they agree to are legally binding

  • The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has three component parts: The CCX Registry, The CCX Trading Platform, and The Clearing Settlement Platform; which provide real-time information to the traders

  • There are two different kinds of members: Phase I and Phase II, which joined the exchange in 2003 and 2007 respectively

  • Both types of members have agreed to overall reductions of 6% of their baseline by 2010

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Trading on the Exchange

  • Members on the exchange are trading CCX Carbon Financial Instruments (CFI) Contracts which correspond to 100 metric tons of CO2 emissions

  • The contracts that are being traded also correspond to the specific year in which they were issued and when companies fail to meet their reductions they purchase contracts from that year

  • In addition to companies trading contracts which the receive for any reductions below their specified levels, they also may receive reductions for any offset projects which they are able to complete and have verified by a third party

  • There are standardized rules set out by the exchange which define how CFI contracts are issued for Agricultural methane, Coal mine methane, Landfill methane, Agricultural soil carbon, Rangeland soil carbon management, Forestry, Renewable energy, and depleting substance destruction. These projects must also go through a 4 set verification procedure.

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University Involvement

  • There are 8 current University members of the Chicago Climate Exchange

  • Tufts has been a member of the exchange since 2003 and the others have subsequently joined later as Phase II members

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Actual vs. Allowed CO2 Emissions

  • Differential between actual emissions and allowed emissions not only is positive, but is actually increasing every year

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CCX CFI Contracts Purchased Per Year

  • In each year the number or CCX CFI contracts that would need to be purchased by the University in order to overcome its pollution is increasing

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Excess Polluting Costs to the University

  • As a Phase I member of the exchange the University would have contracted total costs of $20,816

  • As a point of reference it would cost $150,000 to buy all of the contracts on the European Climate Exchange

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Working Toward a Transition to Sustainability

Alyssa Smith

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Working Toward a Sustainable Carbon Footprint

  • What is to be sustained?

  • What is to be developed?

  • The links between the entities to be sustained and the entities to be developed

  • The extent of the future

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Sustainable Transition

  • Sustained

    • Energy

      • Development of efficient harnessing of non-polluting energy, reduction in energy loss due to transmission

    • Water

      • Harvesting rain water, water treatment, recycling

    • Material

      • Recycling

    • Construction

      • energy efficient buildings and upgrade of old building

    • Transportation

      • Development of high performance engines using renewable energy, converting to energy efficient vehicles

  • Developed

    • Campaigns directed towards reduction of energy demand

    • Programs for water conservation, reuse, and recycling

    • Raise awareness of waste reduction and recycling programs

    • Promote consumption of organic and local food products

    • Encouraging use of public and non-polluting modes of transportation

    • Organization of social events to raise environmental awareness

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Reporting the Transition

Transportation Indicators:

Building Indicators:

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Exploring the Future

  • Trial and error process

  • Must consider

    • scientific credibility

    • political legitimacy

    • practical utility

    • effectiveness of the system on trial

  • Regional Information Systems (RIS) are often used

  • Analysis of the future is a prediction, not factual

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Carbon Emission Model: Neutral Case

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Energy Alternatives

  • Coal:

    • 68,000 metric tons

  • Wind:

    • 56 turbines, diameter 71 m

  • Solar:

    • PV Panel Area: 556,000 sq m

  • Hydro:

    • Dam = 64 ft

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Wash U.'s goals are to address the issues of environment, energy and sustainability through education, research and out reach projects. More over, Wash U. will seek and define its best operation practices, and aspire to be a model of energy conservation for other institutions.

- Mark S Wrighton, Chancellor EES, WashU

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Links to Class Wiki and Documents

  • Class Project: Carbon Footprint of Danforth Campus

    • On Campus Energy Use

    • Transportation

    • Other University Comparison

    • Washington University and the Chicago Climate Exchange

    • Working Toward a Sustainable Transition

  • Related Links

    • Clean Air/Cool Planet

    • Other University Inventories

    • National Academy of Science Report: Our Common Journey

    • All class contributed links

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