The State of Sustainability in Higher Education 2015: Emissions Metrics, Consumption Trends & Strategies for Success

A report from Sightlines and The Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire

Over the past decade, campuses across North America have invested significant effort, attention, and money toward the key challenges of sustainability in higher education, which are embodied by the carbon management hierarchy: conservation, efficiency, fuel-switching and offsetting.

“The State of Sustainability in Higher Education 2015: Emissions Metrics, Consumption Trends & Strategies for Success” assesses the impacts of these activities by taking the first comprehensive look at emissions and energy trends from a nationally representative set of schools. It explores key questions, such as:

  • Are campus conservation, efficiency, and fuel-switching initiatives succeeding?
  • Have campuses used the “hierarchy” to guide their efforts and are its assumptions being borne out?
  • How have changes in enrollment, and a national campus building boom, impacted these efforts?
  • How much does progress depend on the amount and type of campus capital investment?
  • How can campuses be more strategic and effective in managing carbon and energy footprints?
  • How much impact do external factors (e.g. public policies, energy costs, etc.) have?
  • How complete is the available set of campus sustainability metrics? Is anything missing?

The answers to the sustainability in higher education questions are relevant for sustainability and facilities managers on campuses, their CFOs, presidents and trustees, and the students they serve.


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