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How Institutional Factors are Related to Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Cynthia Klein-Banai, Ph.D. Associate Chancellor for Sustainability. Outline. Background Methods used Results Implications. Background. ACUPCC reporting tool (>450 schools)

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how institutional factors are related to greenhouse gas emissions

How Institutional Factors are Related to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cynthia Klein-Banai, Ph.D.

Associate Chancellor for Sustainability

  • Background
  • Methods used
  • Results
  • Implications
  • ACUPCC reporting tool (>450 schools)
  • Colleges and universities are 1.6% of US GHG emissions
  • Depending on the year of construction, inpatient health care, education, lodging, public assembly, and other building types are approximately 1.5-3 X more energy intensive than an office building
ACUPCC requires reporting using WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Most campuses use the Campus Carbon Calculator

Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, including components of each such as air travel and commuting are to be reported

contextual data from the acupcc
Reporting year and start date of year


Carnegie class

FTE enrollment

FT faculty, FT staff, FT students

PT faculty, PT staff, PT students

Residential students

Gross square feet

Health care space, laboratory space, residential space

Red = mandatory

Contextual data from the ACUPCC
data from other sources
Heating and cooling degree days (National Weather Service)

Carnegie Foundation


Size and setting classification (residential nature)


Medical school

Land-grant institution

Data from other sources
data analysis
Most recent year for schools reporting

Small data set with all of above information (n=52)

Principal factor analysis to tease out most significant factors

Population showed a lot of colinearity, as did square footage although to a lesser extent

HDD and CDD explained less of the variance than the other independent variables

Data analysis
final data set n 135
Used only FT enrollment for population factor

Created new variable

ONSF = GSF – LSF – HCSF – RSF where

LSF = square feet of laboratory facilities

HCSF = square feet of health care facilities

RSF = square feet of residential facilities

Final data set (n=135)
scope 1 and 2 vs gross emissions
log (S12) = -2.433 + 1.027 log (GSF) + 0.000129 CDD + 0.000032 HDD


S12 = Scope 1 and 2 emissions

GSF = Gross square feet

CDD = total cooling degree days/yr

HDD = total heating degree days/yr

log (S123) = -1.25 + 0.92 log (GSF)

p<0.0001; R2=0.795

Scope 1 and 2 vs. Gross Emissions
gross emissions model n 135
S123 = -10489 + 0.007 ONSF + 0.085 LSF + 0.019 RSF + 38100 M + 1.406 CE + 1.369 FTE

p<0.0001; R2=0.954

CE = calculated greenhouse gas emissions from commuting to campus (metric tons CO2-e)

M = medical school (0=no; 1=yes)

FTE = full-time equivalent enrollment as calculated by the institution

Gross emissions model n=135
gross emissions 50 000 metric tons co2e n 107
S123<50,000 = 3654 + 0.001 ONSF +

0.015 LSF + 0.019 RSF + 0.627 CE +

1.08 FTE

p<0.0001; R2=0.642

Took out medical school since only 1

Gross emissions < 50,000 metric tons CO2e (n=107)
For gross emissions CDD and HDD are not important parameters.

The parameter estimate for LSF is more than 10X than for ONSF in both models and the parameter estimate for RSF is at least 2X ONSF. This shows a greater influence on emissions from these types of uses.

Smaller schools less influenced by student population and building space than larger schools.

Find a contextual predictor for commuting emissions, such as number of parking spaces or permits, to improve the simplicity of this model.

Conduct an in-depth examination of the institutional factors that influence emissions.

beyond technical solutions
Examine necessity of building space and use. Is it essential to mission?

Do we need multiple and/or large offices for faculty and staff, especially when we can telecommute?

Is space fully utilized for intended function?

Is it necessary that the institution support activities such as facility- (and energy-) intensive research?

Has vacated space been fully decommissioned and how can it be renovated and reassigned?

Beyond technical solutions
Cynthia Klein-Banai