The University of Georgia Campus Sustainability Plan

The University of Georgia’s 2020 Strategic Plan calls for decisive action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from university activities by 20% from a 2010 baseline. The UGA Office of Sustainability and the Georgia Initiative for Climate & Society, with input from students, faculty, staff and community members, developed a UGA Campus Sustainability Plan to document greenhouse gas emissions and provide a roadmap with goals and strategies to increase resiliency and significantly reduce the University’s emissions over time.

FY2010 Baseline Greenhouse Gas Footprint

The total gross emissions from UGA activities throughout the state of Georgia during fiscal year 2010 was 341,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). This includes all facility energy use in Athens, Tifton, Griffin and Skidaway, as well as transportation fuels in state and personal vehicles, refrigerants, agricultural activities, and landfill disposal.

The net emissions for FY2010 were 270,000 tonnes of CO2e. UGA’s 19,000 hectares of managed forest land absorbs about 70,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and offsets 21% of UGA’s gross emissions.

FY2014 Greenhouse Gas Footprint

FY14-GHG-Chart
Figure 1: Breakdown of statewide gross GHG emissions

The total gross emissions from UGA activities throughout the state of Georgia during fiscal year 2014 was 319,000 tonnes of CO2e. The emission sources are detailed in Figure 1.

Subtracting the 70,000 tonne offset from UGA’s forest land, the net emissions for FY2014 were 249,000 tonnes of CO2e. This is 8% below the FY2010 baseline and on track for the 20% reduction by 2020.

Much of the reduction in emissions was the result of major improvements to the main campus steam plant and distribution network, chilled water system upgrades, and lighting efficiency improvements.

The Transportation category (14% of gross emissions) includes faculty and staff commuting (4.9% of overall emissions), study abroad air travel (3.6%), state vehicle fuel usage including buses (2.8%), faculty and staff air travel (1.5%), student commuting (1.1%), and reimbursed personal vehicle travel (0.3%).