Sustainability Office

Sustainable Queen's
Sustainable Queen's

Queen's Carbon Footprint

The campus carbon footprint or GHG inventory includes emission sources attributable to the university and follows established reporting protocols.  

The inventory includes all scope 1 (direct) and scope 2 (indirect) emission sources.  Additionally, the emission sources included cover all facilities that are either owned or operationally controlled by the university within Ontario.

The campus inventory includes two final emission values.  The total emissions represent the 'all-in'  carbon emissions for Queen's and its central heating plant. Our adjusted total reflects the campus emissions attributable directly to university operations. It is necessary to track two values because a portion of the steam generated by the campus central heating plant also supplies three hospital buildings: St. Mary's of the Lake, Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospital. The hospital consumption accounts for roughly 30% of the steam production.  As the hospitals are outside of the university's operational control, the adjusted campus value is the basis for which reduction targets are set.

GHG Inventory Protocols

A GHG inventory is a tally and calculation of the emissions and removals that occur within a specific area.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) established reporting protocols to help ensure consistency in emission reporting.  These protocols lay the groundwork by providing common definitions, defining scope and outlining calculation methodology.  

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions typically refer to the six gases identified by the IPCC and used in the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); nitrous oxide (N2O); hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Scientists have determined that these gases have the greatest impact on climate change.

The calculation results are expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). This is a universal unit of measure that indicates the global warming potential (GWP) of each of the six greenhouse gases, expressed in terms of the GWP of one unit of carbon dioxide. Inventory results are often referred to as a carbon footprint.

Within inventories the IPCC has defined three categories of emission sources, including; 

  • Scope 1 emissions are direct source emissions owned or controlled by institutions and miscellaneous leaks like fuel burning in heating plants and potential chemical seepage from a fire suppression system
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased utilities like electricity
  • Scope 3 emissions are all other indirect emissions like those associated with supply chain, employee travel, waste etc.