Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.00
Liaison Micah Kenfield
Submission Date March 15, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Vassar College
OP-1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 6.48 / 10.00 Alistair Hall
Sustainability Assistant
Dean of Strategic Planning
"---" 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 All
Commuting All
Purchased goods and services Some
Capital goods None
Waste generated in operations All
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 All
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:

Vassar utilizes the SIMAP Platform run by the UNH Sustainability Institute.

Scope 1 and 2 data is compiled by Facilities Operations from utility bills.

For Scope 3:
Commuting emissions were calculated based on an analysis of of the home zipcodes of employees and assigning a variety of commuting practices and schedules for faculty, administrators, and staff.
Business travel and student study abroad travel emissions are calculated by reviewing college credit card reports and running an airplane miles calculation based on the coordinates of Vassar and the destination.
Paper usage is gathered from annual purchasing reports from our vendors.
Waste, recycle and compost numbers are tracked annually through our vendors.


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 Sustainability Office leads the regular updating of the college's Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory. Once the calculator has been updated, faculty and administrators from the Sustainability Committee volunteer to provide an independent review of the numbers.


Documentation to support the internal and/or external verification process:
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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 11125.88 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 16140.91 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 202.53 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 201.80 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from purchased electricity 3262.03 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 9066.40 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 14590.44 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 25409.11 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 July 1, 2016 June 30, 2017
Baseline Year July 1, 2004 June 30, 2005

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):

The 2005 baseline is used across the college.


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):
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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:
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Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 14590.44 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 25409.11 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 2409 2411
Number of employees resident on-site 200 200
Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 2409 2434
Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty) 999.10 1047
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 0 0
Weighted campus users 3208.33 3263.50

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 4.55 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 7.79 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:
41.59

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
2480000 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor Area
Laboratory space 77309 Square Feet
Healthcare space 1523 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 10150 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
2647814 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 2978.30 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Commuting 1249.80 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Purchased goods and services 30.87 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Capital goods ---
Fuel- and energy-related activities not included in Scope 1 or Scope 2 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Waste generated in operations 0.04 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Other categories ---

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

In 2016, Vassar wrote and signed onto our Climate Action Plan, pledging our goal to attain carbon neutrality by 2030. Since the adoption of the 2005 baseline, progress in reducing the College’s footprint has included: 1. on-going efficiency measures, 2. the transition of the central heating plant from fuel oil to natural gas, 3. PPA’s and 4. improvements to the regional energy grid.
1. The LED parking lot lighting projects completed in Fall 2015 and the LED lighting initiatives in Walker, the Athletic and Fitness Center, Rockefeller Hall, Ely Hall, and Buildings and Grounds completed in Summer 2016 reduced campus electricity consumption by 1.5 million kWh and result in a 2.5% reduction of college emissions. As part of LED certification for 3 newly renovated and built buildings, green energy RECs are covering 70% of electricity usage for these buildings.
2. In 2008/2009 the primary central heating plant shifted from #2 heating oil to natural gas causing a significant decrease in carbon emissions. Similarly in 2013, the college transitioned a number of faculty housing units on #6 fuel oil to natural gas, reducing overall #6 oil usage on campus by 50%.
3. The college now purchases about 9% of our electricity from a small run-of-river hydro dam in Beacon, NY, leading to a 2-4% reduction in our carbon footprint.
4. In New York State, the REV initiative has also led to overall improvements in the local utility grid. Hydro power from Canada is now a larger portion of our utility mix and coal usage has diminished.

Though less quantifiable, the College installed building electricity metering across all the dorms in 2016 and 2017 and developed engagement activities around energy reduction opportunities.


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