The OSU Sustainability Office measures OSU's greenhouse gas emissions annually through a very detailed inventory process and issues a public report that illustrates emissions by source. FY16 emissions from major sources and updated trends since FY07 are shown below.

FY16 Carbon Pie

 

Gross GHG Emissions

GHG Emissions Normalized

 

Updated net emissions since FY07 are shown below. Net emissions include purchases of carbon offsets or renewable energy certificates (RECs), and can vary greatly from year to year since offsets and RECs can be purchased sporatically and in very small or very large amounts. Gross emissions above, on the other hand, are more stable and more accurately reflect on-site emissions from university activities.

Net GHG Emissions

A Goal of Climate Neutrality

A central tenet of the American College and University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is the "pursuit of climate neutrality."  Climate neutrality is defined as having no net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This is to be achieved by minimizing emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions. This applies to all Scope 1 and 2 emissions (defined below), as well as those Scope 3 emissions from commuting and from air travel paid for by or through the institution.

  • Scope 1: direct GHG emissions from sources owned or controlled by the institution such as combustion of natural gas, gasoline, propane and diesel, and other sources
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased electricity

Measuring GHG Emissions

Scope and Boundaries

Identifying scope and boundaries issues is a critical step in emissions reporting.  In an effort to measure all emissions resulting from OSU activity, the boundaries were drawn to be fairly broad: any emissions from an entity over which OSU has financial and/or operational control were included.

Some emissions sources are intentionally omitted due to unavailable data, poor data quality or the inability to properly calculate emissions, mainly as a result of uncertain emissions calculation methodology.  Omitted sources include

  • Miscellaneous directly-financed travel
  • Water treatment and distribution
  • Long-distance student travel
  • Lifecycle/embodied emissions
  • Off-campus vehicle use and solid waste

Peer institution comparison

For context, OSU emissions are compared with that of peer institutions in the figure below. All ACUPCC signatories are required to submit emissions reports to the ACUPCC Reporting System.

Institutional Comparison

Emissions Reports

Report Period Report Title Author or Source Notes
FY16 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2017
FY15 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2016
FY14 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed April 2015
FY13 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed June 2014
FY12 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed April 2013
FY11 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed January 2012
FY10 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2011. More comprehensive than past reports, includes for the first time emissions from non-contract car rentals, non-TRES reimbursed travel, and more. This is also the first year of operations for the the new Energy Center cogeneration facililty.
FY09 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2010
FY08 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed March 2009. The Sustainability Office implemented major changes relative to FY07 in the FY08 scope and boundaries, and updated processes based on internationally-recognized updates in greenhouse gas reporting.
FY08 Lifecycle and Embodied Emissions Analysis Good Company In summer 2009, the Oregon University System (OUS) contracted with Good Company to provide an analysis of the embodied emissions (emissions produced during the lifecycle of a product) of goods and services purchased by the seven OUS institutions.  These emissions, which include emissions from construction, food, paper, equipment and furniture, were calculated based on expenditures incurred during FY08 and totaled nearly 85,000 t CO2e for OSU.
FY07 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report OSU Sustainability Office Completed June 2008. This was the first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory completed by OSU. It attempts apples-to-apples comparisons with the CY04 report and elaborates about methodology and its then new, radically expanded scope.
CY04 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report Good Company In 2006 and 2007, OUS hired Good Company to create the first greenhouse gas inventory for the seven OUS campuses. As part of that work, Good Company created profiles for each institution based on available data, which varied from campus to campus.
CY90 Greenhouse Gas Baseline for Building Energy Use Good Company In 2009, OUS hired Good Company to estimate 1990 emissions from buildings for all seven OUS campuses. The emissions estimate was calculated using campus building square footage and a study on average building energy use for the western United States.