Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 73.13
Liaison Bridget Flynn
Submission Date March 9, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oberlin College
OP-1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.74 / 10.00 Meghan Riesterer
Assistant Vice President of Energy Management and Sustainability
Office of Environmental Sustainability
"---" 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 No
Purchased goods and services No
Capital goods No
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 Yes
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:

Regarding business travel scope 3, Oberlin College considers all approved travel, including personal car mileage reimbursement.

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:

Oberlin College's greenhouse gas inventory is verified by Oberlin Municipal Light and Power Services (OMLPS), our municipal electricity provider.

Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 22,471 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 20,086.34 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 307 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 3,114 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Scope 2 GHG emissions from purchased electricity 15,371 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 24,332.32 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 2,171 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 116.14 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon sequestration due to land that the institution manages specifically for sequestration 440 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from on-site composting 74 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 6,135 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 7,988.92 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

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

The college has 4 solar array on campus directly offsetting electric consumption, the largest of which is 2.27MW PV array. In FY 14 we generated 3088844 kWh of renewable sources. In the GHGI this is accounted for within scope 1 generation.

The Carbon Management Fund, a student-run initiative to generate local carbon offsets was initiated in 2013. The effort has planted trees in two locations on campus and is working on funding local sequestration and offsetting projects. This effort led to the creation of campus protocol with the Climate Leadership Network.

Providing Oberlin With Efficiency Responsibly (POWER) reduces carbon emissions by increasing the efficiency of low-income housing in Oberlin. The Office of Environmental Sustainability offers "carbon offsets" in the form of donations to POWER during Commencement/Reunion Weekend and POWER is working with students to enable student organizations to purchase local offsets.

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

On 20 acres of land located north of campus and the 2.27 MW Solar Array, the Oberlin College Carbon Management Fund has planted Maples, Oaks, Nyssas, and Sycamores to encourage faster succession of woodland and increase biodiversity on otherwise mowed land. These 20 acres are anticipated to sequester ~440 tons of CO2 each year (averaged over 55 years of growth). This project is done in conjunction with Oberlin College’s Green Ecological Design and General Efficiency (EDGE) Fund, a student-led organization that supports college and community projects, as well as the Oberlin Rotary Club and Oberlin College’s Bonner Center for Service and Learning.

In addition, the Office of Environmental Sustainability encourages and supports offsetting emissions associated with business travel, for example: purchasing an offset for airfare.

A brief description of the composting and carbon storage program:

The College composts pre- and post-consumer organics from the largest dining hall on campus, as well as all of the co-op kitchens. This includes a great deal of organic material that is taken to a commercial facility nearby. The student-run Resource Conservation Team (RCT) manages compost programs for residence halls at a campus garden. All yard waste is composted by the Grounds Department.

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

The College offsets 10% of natural gas purchases and sale of C-Neutrals as defined in Carbon Neutral Green-e Certified product agreement.

In addition, over 50% of Oberlin College’s electric consumption is offset from renewable resources purchases from our municipal utility electric grid. Our purchased offsets comes from a variety of Ohio sources, including the Blue Creek Wind Farm and AMP Hydro Water Plants. All carbon offsets purchases are a collaborative effort with the local municipal utility, and that desire to work with the municipal utility has the added community benefit of creating a green energy portfolio for the City.

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”::
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of residential students 2,920 2,171
Number of residential employees 23 30
Number of in-patient hospital beds 0 0
Full-time equivalent enrollment 2,920 2,799
Full-time equivalent of employees 1,182 960
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, 2014 June 30, 2015
Baseline Year July 1, 2006 June 30, 2007

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

We signed the ACUPCC in 2006; and began GHGI in FY 2007 as our baseline year. This baseline year is also consistent with other reporting metrics.

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
2,670,000 Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 56,287 Square Feet
Healthcare space 3,140 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 76,920 Square Feet

Scope 3 GHG emissions, performance year::
Business travel 276 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 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Waste generated in operations 1,515 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":

There are no known "other categories" tracked. Regarding business travel scope 3, Oberlin College considers all approved travel, including winter term projects that occur throughout the nation and world as well as students traveling abroad during the full semester term.

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:

We continue to make advancements and progress in campus energy efficiency, advanced energy solutions, and behavior change modifications. Some of the recent forward movement in the past few years include:

o The From Coal to Carbon Neutrality campus-wide dialogue series began in fall 2012. Office of Environmental Sustainability hosted events to understand and open discussion on ways the college can best mobilize towards carbon neutrality. Oberlin College has since become a coal-free institution, with FY 15 beginning the first heating season to see the effects of the almost 50 % reduction in Metric Tons of CO2.

o A year long Retro-Commissioning (RCx) project kicked-off at the Science Center, our largest energy user in our campus building inventory, in Fall 2015 with the targeted effort for holistic building energy savings.

o The campus is actively advancing our resource, including water, metering and monitoring system to provide real-time consumption data information for building operations as well as education purposes. For the first time, this work includes steam and chilled water meter design and implementation across our academic and administration buildings. We are currently in the third phase of the expansion.

o General Faculty approved the Oberlin College Environmental Policy Implementation Plan.

o Oberlin College Office of Environmental Sustainability is currently celebrating their 10-year anniversary. 2016 is also the 10-year anniversary year for our partnership with EPA Green Power Program.

o The third phase of our campus lighting retrofit project totaling approximately 2.1 million square feet in addition to outdoor lighting was completed in late summer 2015 and included LED pedestrian lighting in Tappan Square. This phase will help to reduce energy needs and improve our environment by saving an estimated 45,437 kWh of electricity per year, an annual savings to Oberlin College of $4,356. At this point approximately 80% of all buildings on campus have been retrofitted with more efficient light options. Over 35,000 lamps and ballasts have been replaced across campus with low-wattage florescent lamps and LEDs.

o The College continues to purchase Energy Star appliances and water-saving sink aerators and shower heads, use cleaning solutions that are Green Seal-certified hydrogen peroxide based and are biodegradable, and primarily use paper products made of 100% recycled materials.

o Approximately 95% of the computers and monitors purchased by the College are rated EPEAT Gold, which certifies energy efficiency features and avoidance of harmful materials. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) utilized by Oberlin College was originally created by an EPA grant and is now run by the Green Electronics Council to evaluate and promote the environmental friendliness of electronics.

o The Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) project, advised by Cindy Frantz in Psychology and OES, focuses on comprehensive research and implementation of campaigns to reduce energy consumption. Nearly a dozen student researchers have already been involved in the project and campaigns have been initiated, like using cold water for washing laundry.

o The Office of Environmental Sustainability developed the Oberlin College Eco Tour mobile application that allows people to view and visit sustainability-related locations of interest on campus. This is the first official Oberlin College app. The map is available online on the OES website in any browser.

We are currently updating our Green House Gas Inventory Report due to the ACUPCC (American College and University President's Climate Commitment). During Spring 2015 semester students were involved in the data collection and reporting process as a learning opportunity during the inventory update. The greenhouse gas inventory is a great opportunity for some of our students to better understand the metrics and impacts associated with our campus sustainability programs and initiatives as well as the immense undertaking of this type of inventory.

We anticipate the 2015 inventory to display great progress. We anticipate source emissions to decrease by approximately half since our benchmark year as we have transitioned to a coal-free campus. March 2014 was the final shipment of coal to the campus central heating plant! A major milestone for our GHG inventory.

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.