Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 72.78
Liaison Dennis Cochrane
Submission Date Feb. 18, 2021

STARS v2.2

Virginia Tech
OP-2: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.66 / 8.00 Sean McGinnis
Director, Green Engineering Program
College of Engineering
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Gross Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from stationary combustion 78,332 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 109,397 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions from other sources 17,010 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 4,420 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported electricity 124,166 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 155,608 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions from imported thermal energy 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Total 219,508 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 269,425 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Figures needed to determine net carbon sinks:
Performance year Baseline year
Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased 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 storage from on-site composting 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Carbon storage from non-additional sequestration 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent ---
Carbon sold or transferred 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent
Net carbon sinks 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 0 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

A brief description of the carbon sinks, including vendor, project source, verification program and contract timeframes (as applicable):
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Adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions:
Performance year Baseline year
Adjusted net GHG emissions 219,508 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 269,425 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Performance year Baseline year
Start date Jan. 1, 2019 Jan. 1, 2016
End date Dec. 31, 2019 Dec. 31, 2016

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

Note: The STARS Program Management Team allows each institution to select the baseline year, and recommends selecting a performance year that has the most current year data.

For our 2017 STARS submission (using STARS version 2.1), we selected 2013 as the baseline year and 2016 as the performance year. The 2013 baseline year was selected for it occurred at the time the university began to convert its primary fuel source from coal to natural gas at the Virginia Tech Power Plant, and that year would represent a logical benchmark. The STARS Rating is good for 3 years. We selected 2016 as the performance year for it was 3 years beyond 2013, and it allowed us to use the most current year prior to our targeted submission date on December 19, 2020. In addition, 2016 was the first year of the implementation of our Five-Year Energy Action Plan (EAP). The Office of Energy Management conducted an energy benchmarking audit of existing buildings on the main campus and identified the top 50 “energy hogs.” These 50 buildings consume 70 percent of the overall university energy costs. This discovery led to the development of the Five-Year EAP which is a comprehensive blueprint to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs for the period 2016 to 2020.

For our 2020 STARS submission (using STARS version 2.2), we selected 2016 as the baseline year (the performance year for our 2017 submission), and 2019 as the performance year. With our 2017 STARS submission good for 3 years, our intent was to launch our 2020 STARS submission in December 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we found we needed some additional time. The launch date was moved to early 2021.

We selected 2016 as the baseline year for GHG Emissions and many of the other credits to include OP 5 Building Energy Efficiency and OP 21 Water Usage. In 2016 our primary fuel source at the Virginia Tech Power Plant was equal with 50% coal and 50% natural gas, and Phase 1 of our Five-Year Energy Action Plan implementation was completed. Phase 1 focused on our top 10 “energy hogs.” By 2019 our primary fuel source at the Virginia Tech Power Plant was reversed to 80% natural gas and 20% coal.

Reference: The 2019-2020 Virginia Tech Sustainability Annual Report. https://www.facilities.vt.edu/content/dam/facilities_vt_edu/sustainability/annual-reports/2019-20%20Sustainability%20Annual%20Report%20-%20FINAL.pdf.


Figures needed to determine “Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance year Baseline year
Number of students resident on-site 9,236 9,433
Number of employees resident on-site 2 2
Number of other individuals resident on-site 0 0
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 35,796 33,223
Full-time equivalent of employees 8,282 7,678
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 1,168 1,010
Weighted Campus Users 34,492 32,277

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 6.36 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent 8.35 Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent

Percentage reduction in adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user from baseline:
23.76

Gross floor area of building space, performance year:
11,646,003 Gross Square Feet

Floor area of energy intensive building space, performance year:
Floor area
Laboratory space 613,316 Square Feet
Healthcare space 101,144 Square Feet
Other energy intensive space 252,751 Square Feet

EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year:
13,327,674 Gross Square Feet

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

A brief description of the institution’s GHG emissions reduction initiatives:

- The conversion from coal to natural gas as the primary fuel source in the Virginia Tech Power Plant. For FY 2020 we are burning 90% natural gas and 10% coal. New highly efficient natural gas burner installed in 2020.

- Major upgrades to our underground infrastructure to include upgrades to the chilled water lines.

- The Office of Energy Management within the Division of the Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities guides the operations of the university to achieve tangible reductions in energy consumption on campus through the development of various Demand Side Management (DSM) policies, initiatives and projects. DSM promotes energy efficiency by means of upgrading, retrofitting, and commissioning mechanical, lighting, building automations and electrical systems in university buildings.

- The Five –Year Energy Action Plan developed in 2015-2016 addresses the energy efficiency improvements with the 50 most energy-intensive buildings on campus (“Energy Hogs”).

- The Virginia Tech Climate Action Commitment requires all new construction projects and major renovations project pursue LEED Silver Certification or better.

- Virginia Tech has 36 buildings LEED Registered or Pending Registration totaling over 3.1 million GSF (represents) one-third of our built environment.
o 17 buildings completed, occupied and LEED Certified
o 7 buildings completed, occupied with LEED Certification Pending
o 4 buildings LEED Registered and under construction
o 4 buildings LEED Registered and in design
o 4 buildings Pending LEED Registration

- Smart meter and solar energy projects underway through Virginia Tech Electrical Service (VTES)


Website URL where information about the institution's GHG emissions is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:

GHG data comes from SIMAP report.

When viewing the attached GHG Assessment and Inventory, a difference in total mt CO2e may be noticed. This is due to the fact that our GHG Assessment and Inventory includes Scope 3 emissions while this STARS credit does not. See table 13 on page 16 of the report. If you remove the 61,273 mt CO2e Scope 3 emissions from the total emissions of 280,781 mt CO2e, you get our reported value as seen in this credit of 219,508 mt CO2e.

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.