Campus greenhouse gas emissions drop slightly
Provincial grid factors, seasonal temperatures and changes in the number of operational buildings on campus kept Queen’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relatively stable in 2010, compared with the year previous.
The 2010 GHG inventory shows campus emissions dropped by just over one per cent, from 47,191 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2009 to 46,586 tonnes of CO2e in 2010.
“It is still very positive because at the provincial level there is a push toward clean, renewable energies and that’s driving emissions down across the board,” says Aaron Ball, Sustainability Manager.
Overall, Queen’s energy consumption increased because two new buildings – the Queen’s Centre and the School of Kinesiology – became fully operational. The effect of that additionalenergy use, however, was diminished by the provincial shift away from coal-fired plants to cleaner sources, , which reduced emissions for both the province and the university.
Seasonal temperatures – a colder winter and hotter summer in 2010/11 compared to 2009/10 – also drove up energy use at Queen’s, but using a new, more energy-efficient boiler at the Central Power Plant helped reduce emissions.
Last year, the Queen’s Sustainability Office reported a 9 per cent drop in emissions from 2008 to 2009. Those figures have since been adjusted because of new data released by Environment Canada that details grid factors by province and results in more accurate calculations. The 2009 inventory now shows a more significant 18 per cent drop in GHG emissions, a decrease of 10,525 tonnes of CO2e.
The 2010 inventory accounts for GHG emissions during the 2010 fiscal year, May 1, 2010 to April 30, 2011. Tracking yearly emissions reflects Queen’s commitment to establish benchmarks for GHG emissions under the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, which Principal Daniel Woolf signed in 2010.This pledge provided the springboard for the Queen’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). A draft of the CAP will be presented at a community forum in the fall.