UofL Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 25% since 2006
From 2006 to 2016, we estimate that UofL’s net carbon emissions have dropped nearly 25% from 236,101 to 177,704 metric tons.
We have also documented that UofL is well on its way to achieving our first milestone goal of a 20% reduction in emissions from our 2008 baseline by 2020. In 2016, we stood at an 18.69% reduction from the 2008 baseline. UofL decreased emissions by 40,836 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year since 2008. According to the EPA's greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, this translates to:
- Taking 8,262 cars off the road, or 97,869,829 miles of driving, or 4,595,026 gallons of gasoline burned;
- 12,960 tons (or 1,851 garbage trucks) of waste recycled instead of landfilled;
- Emission from 4,312 average U.S. homes’ annual energy use;
- 217 rail cars worth of coal burned;
- 1,447,572 incandescent lamps switched to LEDs; or the
- Carbon sequestered by 38,656 acres of U.S. forests in one year (or 1,058,312 tree seedlings grown for 10 years).
While this reduction is important and laudable, we certainly cannot rest on our laurels. We must remain vigilant, committed, and willing to invest resources in order maintain our progress and to ensure a sustained effort toward our ultimate goal of climate neutrality by 2050. We must continue to invest in emissions reduction, to innovate solutions that work in our unique urban setting, and to prioritize efficiency, behavior change, transportation alternatives and renewable energy.
The most important steps that UofL needs to take in the near-term are:
- Reduce driving through a Transportation Demand Management Plan that invests in and incentivizes alternatives, caps parking, & transitions UofL from highly subsidized annual permits to market-rate, pay-per-use parking.
- Invest in large-scale renewable energy, behavior change, and energy efficiency measures beyond the scope of the existing performance contract.
- Explore carbon offsetting and sequestration solutions that would benefit our campus, community, and region.
The reductions we’ve been able to achieve over the years have occurred in spite of the continued growth of our university in terms of budget, employees, students, land, and building space. We've documented reductions across the board in terms of emissions per student, per capita, per square foot of building space, and per dollar of operating budget.