Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Tavey Capps
Submission Date Feb. 25, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Duke University
OP-1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Tavey Capps
Environmental Sustainability Director
Office of the Executive Vice President
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution's GHG emissions inventory include all Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions?:

Does the institution's GHG emissions inventory include all Scope 3 GHG emissions from any of the following categories?:
Yes or No
Business travel Yes
Commuting Yes
Purchased goods and services No
Capital goods No
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 No
Waste generated in operations Yes

Does the institution's GHG emissions inventory include Scope 3 emissions from other categories?:

A brief description of the methodology and/or tool used to complete the GHG emissions inventory:

Duke University uses an internally developed spreadsheet that is based on Clean Air, Cool Planet’s spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is streamlined so that it includes only the data we need to calculate Duke’s greenhouse gas emissions.

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?:

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

Within Duke University, there are a number of organizations including the Campus Sustainability Committee (a coalition of faculty, staff, and student leaders around campus), senior leadership, and key faculty experts at Duke to accurately track and verify its emissions.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 62,759 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 98,059 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 3,871 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 3,847 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Scope 2 GHG emissions from purchased electricity 116,451 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 166,135 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Scope 2 GHG emissions from other sources 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine total carbon offsets::
Performance Year Baseline Year
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
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the institution-catalyzed carbon offsets program:

Duke University established the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative in 2009 to develop the University’s strategy for meeting its offset goals in a way that provides significant local environmental, economic, and societal co-benefits beyond the benefits of greenhouse gas emission reductions. These goals include generating approximately 180,000 metric tons of CO2e in emission reductions (approximately 55% of the University's emissions baseline) by 2024 and annually thereafter to meet the University's climate neutrality commitment, to supply the internal University community with offsets in the near term, and to serve as a resource for other universities and organizations, particularly those in the Southeast, that are interested in generating or purchasing offsets. The Initiative works both within Duke University and outside the University with other institutions and partners to build meaningful offset projects and to facilitate and catalyze the development of offset projects and offset market transactions, particularly those projects and transactions which offer innovative and cost-effective approaches.

The Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative has developed internal carbon programs and protocols, which include swine-based agricultural methane, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and urban forestry offsets. The University has focused on swine waste-to-energy first because of the large number of swine farms in the state and the opportunity they present to eliminate a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions in ways that will generate renewable energy and solve other major pollution problems, such as nutrient loading and odors. Currently, the Initiative is partnering with Duke Energy, Google Inc., and a North Carolina farm to pilot the first anaerobic-digester based innovative swine waste management system which meets stringent environmental performance standards and produces renewable energy to help Duke Energy meet its renewable energy and energy efficiency portfolio standard commitment for swine-based energy.

The innovative system controls greenhouse gas emissions from a working farm by capturing methane from the animal waste and generating renewable energy by combusting the methane in a microturbine. Use of an innovative system means that in addition to the GHG reductions and renewable energy production, the farm must meet stringent environmental performance standards that require substantial reductions in farm ammonia emissions, pathogens, nutrients, odors and metals and eliminates discharge of waste into surface and groundwater. Research is underway to analyze the system, including a mass balance of nitrogen in the swine waste as it travels through the waste management system and the minimization of the operating time of the jet aeration system, as well as alternatives to jet aeration, to achieve the same environmental results with less electricity and therefore less cost.

The University also has developed an employee-based benefit program that encourages homeowners to increase the energy efficiency of their homes. This program breaks down a number of barriers by providing information on energy efficiency retrofits though home energy audits, identifying high-quality contractors, and offering a low-interest rate loan. This project was piloted starting October 2014 and has provided home energy audits to 30 Duke employees. A majority of employees have increased their home’s energy efficiency through simple projects like changing light bulbs to larger retrofits such as re-insulation and duct sealing. Duke’s own employees are helping Duke meet its climate neutrality commitment, making it truly a Duke community effort. The University is also collecting data and conducting research on program results in order to identify and share best practices with other colleges and universities.

With respect to forestry-based offset projects, the University is evaluating opportunities to develop projects involving afforestation, avoided conversion and improved forest management. The University works with Trees Across Durham, which is a coalition of local government, non-profits, and citizens whose goal is to increase the canopy cover across the city and county of Durham. Starting this upcoming planting season, the University will be working with and providing resources to Trees Across Durham to plant more trees. Over time, these trees will sequester carbon and reduce pollutants in the air, all while providing opportunities to volunteer and build new partnerships.

A brief description of the carbon sequestration program and reporting protocol used:

A brief description of the composting and carbon storage program:

A brief description of the purchased carbon offsets, including third party verifier(s) and contract timeframes:

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 5,300 4,636
Number of residential employees 0 0
Number of in-patient hospital beds 957 957
Full-time equivalent enrollment 14,850 12,991
Full-time equivalent of employees 30,472 23,389
Full-time equivalent of distance education students 0 0

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Year July 1, 2013 June 30, 2014
Baseline Year July 1, 2006 June 30, 2007

A brief description of when and why the GHG emissions baseline was adopted:

Duke signed the ACUPCC in 2007 and adopted a Climate Action Plan, developed by the Campus Sustainability Committee, in 2009. Based on analysis during that two year period and certain factors that were required to be included by the ACUPCC, 2007 was adopted as the Duke GHG baseline.

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
14,941,809 Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 2,760,754 Square Feet
Healthcare space 0 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 0 Square Feet

Scope 3 GHG emissions, performance year::
Business travel 50,230 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Commuting 33,501 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 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Waste generated in operations 1,495 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Other categories (please specify below) 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the sources included in Scope 3 GHG emissions from "other categories":

A copy of the most recent GHG emissions inventory:
The website URL where the GHG emissions inventory is posted:
A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives, including efforts made during the previous three years:

Reduction measures such as eliminating coal use on campus, energy conservation measures, installing solar PV, providing direct financial incentives for alternative transportation and improving regional transportation are several of the actions suggested in the CAP. In addition to recommendations about energy and transportation, the CAP also makes recommendations for carbon offsets, communications and education.

Duke has achieved an 28% reduction in University emissions as of 2013, based on a 2007 baseline. This emissions reduction can be partially attributed to energy conservation measures and an elimination of coal use on campus, as well as the implementation of other Climate Action Plan measures.

-Eliminated coal use on campus in May 2011
-Through efficiency upgrades to the steam system and elimination of coal, Duke has reduced emission from campus steam plants by 36% since 2007
-Achieved 30% reduction in energy emissions in 2013 compared to 2007 baseline

-Hired Transportation Demand Management coordinator
-Launched new Bull City Connector bus
-Replaced 10 campus buses with two hybrid articulated buses and 6 ultra-low-sulfur diesel buses in fall 2011
-GoPass offers fare-free access to regional public transportation for students and low cost access for employees

-Swine waste to energy project on local farm operational May 2011
-Duke-specific offsets available for internal purchase for individuals, departments and events
-Piloted home energy efficiency project in summer 2012

-Behavior-change competitions such as the Green Devil Smackdown
-Sustainability signs installed in dorms and University academic buildings
-Over 8,000 subscriptions to Sustainable Duke listserv

-Annual faculty workshops on integrating sustainability into curriculum
-Additional factors, such as economic conditions and emissions content of purchased electricity, have also impacted the University's emissions. Some of the more recent actions are not yet reflected in emissions inventory numbers.

Duke's baseline year for the campus Climate Action Plan is 2007. This is the baseline reflected above. Duke's 2024 goal for climate neutrality does not include the health system, it is only the campus, School of Med. and School of Nursing.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.