SUNY Potsdam Greenhouse Gas Inventory

State University of New York at Potsdam President John F. Schwaller signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment pledging to:

  • Complete an emissions inventory
  • Set a target date and interim milestones for becoming climate neutral
  • Take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions
  • Integrate sustainability into the curriculum and make it part of the educational experience
  • Make action plans, inventories and progress reports publicly available

C&S developed a greenhouse gas inventory that segregated emission sources into the following categories:

Scope 1—direct emissions from sources owned and controlled by the university, primarily the combustion of fuels

Scope 2—indirect emissions owned and controlled by the university associated with the use of electricity

Scope 3—indirect emissions that result from the university’s activities, but are not owned and controlled by the SUNY Potsdam, such as transportation, student travel, waste disposal, and outsourced activities

Based on the analysis, electricity and utility fuel consumption have the highest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for more than 75% of the total. C&S normalized the greenhouse gas emissions on a per student and building square footage basis for comparison to other universities. Some universities did not have included potential emissions sources such as student travel. Although the emissions were slightly higher than other reported inventories, the inventory data appeared to correlate with other SUNY universities. Recommendations were provided to SUNY Potsdam to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Some of the recommendations include:

  • New or renovated buildings should be constructed to LEED Silver or higher
  • Incorporate opportunities for reduction in fuel consumption and electrical usage as part of the campus master plan
  • Research, evaluate and implement cost effective technologies to convert campus-owned vehicles to alternative fuels or hybrids
  • Expand and promote recycling programs
  • Integrate sustainability into the curriculum for students