Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.20
Liaison Kimberly Williams
Submission Date May 14, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

George Washington University
OP-T2-2: Local Offsets Program

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 Mark Ellis
Sustainability Project Facilitator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a local offsets program through which the institution seeks to offset its greenhouse gas emissions by implementing projects that reduce GHG emissions in the local community?:

A brief description of the program:

GW has committed through its Ecosystems Enhancement Strategy to enhance tree canopy and green cover to help increase sequestration potential and outdoor air filtration capacity. In the near term, the university commits to offset the square foot loss of existing tree canopy and green cover from natural causes of campus development with new plantings. GW will do so by factoring green cover into campus development and conducting annual campus tree surveys to measure progress.

Casey Trees, a non-profit organization, performed GW's initial tree inventory. The inventory occurred in two parts, the first was in spring 2009 and covered only the Foggy Bottom Campus. The second occurred in late 2009 and covered the Mount Vernon Campus. Casey Trees surveyed both campus and street trees (city-owned) and gathered information about tree species, size, and location. This information was input into the Forest Service's Street Tree Management Tool for Urban Forest Managers (STRATUM) model and yielded 196 metric tons of carbon dioxide benefit, net of decomposition and maintenance losses.

STRATUM was developed by researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research. This model quantifies the structure, function, and value of a city's street trees. This run of the model was calibrated for trees in the Piedmont Climate Zone which includes Washington, DC and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states.

One of the tenets of GW's Climate Action Plan is to identify credible local offset programs to offset emissions the university cannot reduce (i.e. air travel for faculty to conferences). As GW works towards its carbon neutrality goals, the university will continue to seek projects to invest in to identify ways to reduce its carbon footprint through local measures.

The website URL where information about the program is available:

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