The Office of Sustainability just completed Colgate’s annual greenhouse gas inventory and we are happy to report that our emissions are at an all-time low. In FY 2014, our gross emissions were 13,002 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTeCO2), down from 13,391 in FY 2013. Since our baseline in 2009, we have reduced our emissions by 4,842 MTeCO2 or by 28 percent. Despite a dramatic increase in the consumption of fuel oil #2 following the heating plant upgrade and a particularly cold and long winter, 2014 marked a year of positive trends. Colgate’s continuing drop in emissions associated with our vehicle fleet, refrigerant use, fertilizer use, electricity consumption, commuting, business travel, and paper use is due to the ongoing implementation of effective behavior change programs, numerous energy conservation and efficiency projects, and meticulous implementation of the projects and policies specified in our 2011 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan (S-CAP).
Projects that have reduced our campus carbon footprint include a lighting upgrade in Sanford Field House. The installation of a solar energy array on 100 Broad Street. The replacement of all washers and dryers on campus to more water and energy efficient ENERGY STAR rated models. Trayless dining in Frank Dining Hall. We also installed alarm systems on all 112 fume hoods on campus to help prevent energy waste when sashes are left open unnecessarily. We estimate that the fume hood project has reduced energy use by 20-30% in each of our science buildings. We also purchased four new bikes for our Green Bikes Program, maintained a reduced mowing program to include over 30 acres of land, and achieved LEED certification for the Lathrop Hall renovation. These projects are part of a suite of projects that have not only reduced our campus carbon footprint but have also resulted in over $500,000 of avoided annual spending due to energy, water, and resource conservation.
In Fiscal Year 2014, Colgate also received American Tree Farm System certification for our 1,059 acres of forested land which confirms our long-term commitment to sustainable forest management. This certification coupled with a comprehensive tree survey estimated that 1,578 tons of carbon are sequestered annually by Colgate’s forested lands. This coupled with our investment in renewable energy certificates (RECs) and carbon offsets have reduced our net campus emissions to 4,634 tons. See figure below. This is one of the lowest levels of emissions of any institution in the country and puts us in excellent position to achieve our institutional goal of carbon neutrality by 2019.