By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer
The university’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued their downward trend, despite an uptick in 2012, according to the latest greenhouse gas inventory prepared by the Sustainability Office.
The emissions report, which covers both 2011 and 2012, shows Queen’s emissions are 10 per cent lower than 2010 and 20 per cent lower than 2008, when the university began preparing GHG inventories.
“When Principal Woolf signed the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, he committed Queen’s to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions,” says Donna Janiec, Acting Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities). “The GHG inventory allows us to track and report publicly on our progress in support of that commitment.”
When Principal Woolf signed the University and College Presidents’ Climate Change Statement of Action for Canada, he committed Queen’s to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions,”
- Donna Janiec, Acting Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities)
The inventory accounts for both direct emissions, such as those associated with the central steam plant and university-owned vehicles, as well as indirect emissions, principally those caused by the electricity that Queen’s purchases from the power grid. In total, Queen’s had 45,382 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) emissions in 2012 and 43,931 MTCO2e in 2011.
Queen’s Sustainability Manager Aaron Ball, who compiled the greenhouse gas inventory, says the decrease in emissions from 2010 to 2011 is largely due to a cleaner electricity supply in Ontario, while the uptick in 2012 is attributable to the weather.
“The electricity supply in Ontario was cleaner in 2011 than 2010 because of increased renewables and lower demand for electricity, which means Queen’s counted fewer emissions for the electricity it purchased,” says Mr. Ball. “Those gains continued in 2012 but the modest increase over 2011 was due to the additional number of heating and cooling days.”
Queen’s is currently undertaking a variety of initiatives to help reduce emissions, including a campus-wide energy audit, the first part of a larger energy savings project called Energy Matters. The university also recently undertook a lighting retrofit program which will save 520,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually and participates in a provincial demand response program designed to reduce consumption during peak summer periods.
The university is developing a Climate Action Plan which will include emissions reduction targets over the short and long terms.