Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Aug. 29, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Columbia University
OP-1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.46 / 10.00 Allie Schwartz
Assistant Director, Planning and Outreach
Environmental Stewardship, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution conducted a GHG emissions inventory that includes all Scope 1 and 2 emissions? :
Yes

Does the institution’s GHG emissions inventory include all, some or none of its Scope 3 GHG emissions from the following categories?:
All, Some, or None
Business travel None
Commuting None
Purchased goods and services None
Capital goods None
Waste generated in operations None
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 Some
Other categories None

A copy of the most recent GHG emissions inventory:
A brief description of the methodology and/or tool used to complete the GHG emissions inventory, including how the institution accounted for each category of Scope 3 emissions reported above:

Beginning in 2018 and as stated in our 2017 sustainability plan, Columbia will now also report comprehensive absolute Greenhouse Gas (GHG) information to The Climate Registry (TCR), an internationally accepted and rigorous GHG-reporting protocol, used as a best practice by peer institutions. Columbia is in the process of submitting it's first inventory to TCR for Calendar Year 2017. The 2017 inventory includes some Scope 3 emissions, as per the TCR market-based method, from line-losses. This submission will be verified by an external third-party, and beginning in 2018, will include additional scope 3 emissions. Columbia will also continue to participate in the Mayoral NYC Carbon Challenge under the City initiative, One City Built To Last which requires reporting through designated tools in terms of carbon intensity.


Has the GHG emissions inventory been validated internally by personnel who are independent of the GHG accounting and reporting process and/or verified by an independent, external third party?:
Yes

A brief description of the internal and/or external verification process:

The GHG inventory is managed by Allie Schwartz, Assistant Director for Planning and Outreach in the Environmental Stewardship office. The GHG emissions inventory is updated once utility information becomes available via Con Edison's customer portal. This inventory is submitted annually to The Climate Registry, and is first internally verified by members of leadership from Columbia's Senior Sustainability Advisory Committee.
Additionally, starting with the submission of our 2017 inventory to The Climate Registry, the University will undergo a rigorous external third-party verification process to verify submitted data.


Documentation to support the internal and/or external verification process:
Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 and Part 3 of this credit? (reductions in Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions):
Yes

Gross Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 65134 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 85592 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from purchased electricity 26485 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 50705 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from other sources 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Total 91619 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 136297 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year Jan. 1, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017
Baseline Year Jan. 1, 2006 Dec. 1, 2006

A brief description of when and why the GHG emissions baseline was adopted (e.g. in sustainability plans and policies or in the context of other reporting obligations):

Columbia set its baseline in 2007, when the NYC Carbon Challenge for Universities began. Columbia University along with 16 other universities joined the mayor in this initiative to reduce NYC’s carbon footprint 30% by 2017. This program required Columbia University to choose a baseline year. Columbia University chose 2006 since the program began in 2007.


Figures needed to determine total carbon offsets:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased (exclude purchased RECs/GOs) 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets generated 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon sequestration due to land that the institution manages specifically for sequestration 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from on-site composting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon offsets included above for which the emissions reductions have been sold or transferred by the institution 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Net carbon offsets 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the offsets in each category reported above, including vendor, project source, verification program and contract timeframes (as applicable):

n/a


Emissions reductions attributable to Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) or Guarantee of Origin (GO) purchases:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Emissions reductions attributable to REC/GO purchases 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the purchased RECs/GOs including vendor, project source and verification program:
---

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 91619 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 136297 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 11341 10510
Number of employees resident on-site 1559 1450
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 23716 19331
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 11756 18379
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 287 793
Weighted campus users 29613.75 30677.75

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user 3.09 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 4.44 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:
30.36

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
13082585 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 316354 Square Feet
Healthcare space 0 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 0 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
13715293 Gross Square Feet

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per unit of EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
0.01 MtCO2e / GSF

Scope 3 GHG emissions, performance year:
Emissions
Business travel 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Commuting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Purchased goods and services 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Capital goods 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 874 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Waste generated in operations 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Other categories 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives, including efforts made during the previous three years:

Environmental Stewardship built the University’s first centralized GHG inventory tool, which will ultimately capture and report emissions from Scopes 1, 2 and 3, and all Kyoto gases. For calendar year (CY) 2017, the University will report Scope 1 from stationary combustion of fuels, Scope 2 from purchased electricity, and all six Kyoto gases for the Morningside campus.
A series of 47 ECM (Energy Conservation Measures) / RCM (Retro Commissioning Measures) projects have been identified that will enable the University to achieve its goal of 35 percent reduction in absolute emissions by 2020, set forth in the Sustainability Plan. Additionally, Columbia has identified a series of ECMs and RCMs to implement over the coming three years. In 2017, Columbia began to implement a high-impact ECM/RCM “simultaneous heating and cooling” project that will replace 92 leaking steam control valves across campus. The result of this project will prevent unintentional heating of air that needs to be cooled during the non-heating seasons. An additional 210 ECMs/RCMs are estimated to be completed by the close of CY2018.
Columbia's campus-wide building utility metering process is 75 percent complete as of December 2017. When complete, the project will enable Facilities to benchmark building energy usage in compliance with Local Law 84, which requires annual benchmarking data to be submitted by owners of buildings more than 50,000 square feet. Once user-facing web platforms are
developed, this information can ultimately be shared with building owners and tenants, bringing transparency to energy and water usage.
Lastly, the University created a Green Revolving Fund (GRF) in 2017 to supporting funding energy conservation projects. Facilities Utilities Reserves will contribute $3 million over three years to the GRF ($1 million per year). From fiscal year (FY) 2018 to FY2020, the GRF will support the completion of all ECMs with average simple payback periods of under seven years. Savings generated on an annual basis net of GRF operating expenses will be reinvested in the fund, for the average annual payback period plus two years. These savings will be funded from Central Utilities. After that period, they revert to the central University.  Savings for small projects will be calculated via the Engineering Methodology. For larger projects where savings can be measured, the savings will be retroactively calculated based on actual performance. A Green Revolving Fund Management Committee, with representation from Facilities Finance, Facilities Operations, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Environmental Stewardship, will select the projects.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Gross Mtons reported for 2017 performance year in GHG inventory includes reductions from purchase of Clean Source US Wind 2017e, from Renewable Choice on 7/27/2017. (5,263 Mton CO2e)

Additional Notes on Columbia's GHG reduction:
113 buildings within the Residential Operations portfolio were converted from distillate fuel oil to natural gas achieving GHG reduction of 7,238 metric tons. Columbia's Chiller plant optimization project improved efficiency and reduced GHG emissions by 2,594 metric tons. Chiller plant upgrade, replacement of aging equipment & distribution infrastructure reduced 2,634 metric tons of GHG emissions reduced.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.