ACUPCC Reporting System

GHG Report for University of Colorado at Boulder

Submitted on January 15, 2013; last updated on January 15, 2013

Summary Statistics

Making fair comparisons between higher education institutions is always challenging due to the rich diversity of higher education. The unverified nature of the information in this database and unavailability of unbiased normalization metrics means such comparisons are even more difficult. Users should therefore approach direct institution to institution comparisons with caution and recognize that all comparisons between institutions are inherently biased.
Total Per Full-Time Enrollment Per 1000 Square Feet % Offset
Gross emissions (Scopes 1 + 2) 149,050 metric tons of CO2e 4.6 metric tons of CO2e 13.9 metric tons of CO2e 8%
Gross emissions (Scopes 1 + 2 + 3) 192,328 metric tons of CO2e 5.9 metric tons of CO2e 17.9 metric tons of CO2e 6%
Net emissions 180,328 metric tons of CO2e 5.5 metric tons of CO2e 16.8 metric tons of CO2e N/A

Emissions Inventory Methodology and Boundaries

Start date of the 12-month period covered in this report January 1, 2011
Consolidation methodology used to determine organizational boundaries Operational control approach
If any institution-owned, leased, or operated buildings or other holdings that should fall within the organizational boundaries are omitted, briefly explain why.


Emissions calculation tool used Custom tool
Please describe why this tool was selected.

No information provided

Please describe the source(s) of the emissions coefficients used.

Xcel Energy

Which version of IPCC's list of global warming potentials did you use? Third Assessment Report
Who primarily conducted this emissions inventory? Staff from engineering, sustainability, purchasing, the Environmental Center, and transportation.
Please describe the process of conducting the inventory.

Collection of data from Engineering, the power house, transportation surveys, purchasing, and offset purchases was reviewed by all involved, analyzed, tweaked, and approved.

Please describe any emissions sources that were classified as de minimis and explain how a determination of the significance of these emissions was made.

Refrigerants were estimated at less than 1%. CH4 and N2O from natural gas and electricity production were estimated at less that 1% data are still reported but clearly insignificant.

Please describe any data limitations related to this submission and any major assumptions made in response to these limitations.

No information provided

Emissions Data

Emissions from the following sources (in metric tons of CO2e)

Scope 1 Emissions
Stationary Combustion 48,437.0 metric tons of CO2e
Mobile Combustion 1,392.0 metric tons of CO2e
Process Emissions 0.0 metric tons of CO2e
Fugitive Emissions 0.0 metric tons of CO2e
Total Scope 1 emissions 49,829.0 metric tons of CO2e
Scope 2 Emissions
Purchased Electricity 99,221.0 metric tons of CO2e
Purchased Heating 0.0 metric tons of CO2e
Purchased Cooling 0.0 metric tons of CO2e
Purchased Steam 0.0 metric tons of CO2e
Total Scope 2 emissions 99,221.0 metric tons of CO2e
Scope 3 Emissions
Commuting 10,254.0 metric tons of CO2e
Air Travel 32,176.0 metric tons of CO2e
Solid Waste 848.0 metric tons of CO2e
Total Scope 3 emissions 43,278.0 metric tons of CO2e
Biogenic Emissions
Biogenic Emissions from Stationary Combustion No information provided
Biogenic Emissions from Mobile Combustion No information provided

Mitigation Data

Carbon Offsets
Carbon offsets purchased 8,000.0 metric tons of CO2e
Offset verification program(s) Gold Standard
Description of offsets purchased (including vendor, project source, etc.)

Native Energy, Inc. Landfill methan to brick kiln project on Oklahoma.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
Total RECs purchased None kWh
Percent of total electricity consumption mitigated through the purchase of RECs 1.08 %
Emissions reductions due to the purchase of RECs 4,000.0 metric tons of CO2e
REC verification program(s) Green-e
Description of RECs purchased (including vendor, project source, etc.)

Community Energy, Inc. RECs

Sequestration and Carbon Storage
Sequestration due to land owned by the institution No information provided
Description of how sequestration was calculated

No information provided

Carbon storage due to composting No information provided

Normalization and Contextual Data

Building Space
Gross square feet of building space 10,722,555.0 sq ft
Net assignable square feet of laboratory space No information provided
Net assignable square feet of health care space No information provided
Net assignable square feet of residential space No information provided
Total Student Enrollment (FTE) 32558.0
Residential Students No information provided
Full-time Commuter Students No information provided
Part-time Commuter Students No information provided
Non-Credit Students No information provided
Full-time Faculty No information provided
Part-time Faculty No information provided
Full-time Staff No information provided
Part-time Staff No information provided
Other Contextual Data
Endowment Size No information provided
Heating Degree Days No information provided
Cooling Degree Days No information provided
Please describe any circumstances specific to your institution that provide context for understanding your greenhouse gas emissions this year.

Notice: Material change from previous report
The University of Colorado Boulder’s (UCB) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data reported in this inventory are materially if slightly different from those reported in UCB’s previous inventory filed on September 15, 2010. We use a custom GHG emissions factor developed by our electrical utility, Xcel Energy. According to Xcel Energy:
“There were two events that caused us to adjust our emissions factors. Methods of carbon accounting are somewhat emerging and do change from time to time.
1. We recently received third party verification of carbon emissions numbers, and as we went through that process, we revisited the methodology to collect, align, and report purchased power. This in particular caused some changes with our numbers.
2. We adjusted our methodology based on recently issued EPA mandatory carbon reporting guidelines.”

Previously, we confirmed Xcel’s custom factor with the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office and Xcel’s regulatory filings. The custom factor better quantifies the actual carbon profile in the grid from which we purchase electricity. Likewise, this factor is current through the end of 2011. The only other emissions factor available would come from the eGrid emissions factor published by EPA. That factor generally runs 4-5 years behind current generation. Applying a 2007 emissions factor to 2011 energy consumption data does not produce an accurate analysis of current emissions. Using the custom emissions factors provided by Xcel, we are able to report a contemporary and accurate emissions trend.

Supporting Documentation

Completed inventory narrative No information provided
Completed inventory calculator No information provided

Auditing and Verification

These emissions data have not been audited, verified, or peer-reviewed.