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UMD Sustainability Banner: Energy - Electricity and energy use account for 90% of the university's carbon footprint, making energy both an enviromental and economic concern.

As part of a commitment to reduce campus emissions, as outlined in the recent Energy Action Plan, UMD is committed to reduce its emissions 25% from 2007 levels by 2020, and become a carbon neutral institution by 2050.

UMD Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The UMD greenhouse gas inventory, also known as its carbon footprint, is a summation of the greenhouse gases emissions associated with the operation of UMD. It takes into account the natural gas burned in the heating plant, the gasoline used by the UMD vehicle fleet, air travel emissions, commuting emissions, refrigerants, emissions from the generation of the electricity purchased from Minnesota Power, and landscaping fertilizers.

As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, UMD is committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007, the Sustainability Office calculated our campus carbon footprint for the first time. The UMD carbon footprint was calculated again for 2010 to measure progress on the goals outlined in the Energy Action Plan. By using less resources and reducing emissions UMD is not only having a smaller impact on the environment, but is also more fiscally responsible.

The UMD Sustainability Office uses the Cool Air Clean Planet calculator in its greenhouse gas calculations. Emissions tracked by the calculator include CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, PFCs, and HFCs. Non-carbon dioxide compounds are entered into the inventory according to their potential to act as a greenhouse gas, or CO2-equivalent (CO2-e).


In 2007, UMD's carbon footprint was 57,561metric tons of CO2-e. By 2010, UMD was able to reduce its carbon footprint to 54,557 metric tons of CO2-e, a decrease of 3,005, representing a 5% drop in carbon emissions. However, much of the reduction of the UMD carbon footprint was realized through a change in Minnesota Power's fuel-mix, which now produces more electricity through renewable sources. A numerical comparison between the 2007 and 2010 inventories can be found here, as well as pie charts for the 2007 and 2010 data

Energy Sources

About 90% of campus emissions come from two sources: the steam plant that heats campus buildings and the electricity purchased to power them

Comparison of 2007,2010 GHG emissions

Total emissions from the UMD campus

Reducing the majority of these emissions requires planning and investment - from building efficiently to managing and retrofitting, to seeking renewable energy sources and conservation.

UMD greenhouse gas emission intensity, 2005-2010

Emissions intensity was reduced 14% from 2007 to 2010.

Since 2007, 3 new buildings have opened on the UMD campus (LSBE, Bagley Outdoor Classroom, Civil Engineering). Although overall emissions reduced from 2007 to 2010 were only 5%, the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions was reduced by 14%. While UMD is a growing campus, emissions were reduced at a rate that was much higher than the campus growth rate.

Non-Energy Sources

While non-energy sources of emissions only compose about 10% of total emissions, they are still essential to reduce and will require efforts from members across the UMD community.

Non-energy emissions at UMD

Emissions from UMD not associated with electricity or natural gas consumption

Emissions attributed to air travel saw a 47% increase, however, we believe that this increase is largely a reflection of better tracking of UMD financed air travel.

Curious about how UMD is doing in its carbon footprint reduction in relation to other institutions in the U of M system, across Minnesota or the country? Visit the ACUPCC Recording System to see goals, greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans from other signatories of the ACUPCC.

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Last modified on 02/14/13 07:32 AM
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