SUNY Fredonia revealed a sharp drop in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to its latest Greenhouse Gas Audit.
In 2011, its greenhouse gas emissions were 37,985 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, an average of 7.2 metric tons per full-time equivalent campus community member (i.e., students and employees). In 2013, emissions decreased more than 29 percent to 26,950 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, an average of 5.3 metric tons per FTE campus member.
The campus achieved reductions in all categories, but the greatest improvements were seen in emissions that include commuting, air travel, and solid waste. These were attributable to a variety of things, such as running fewer campus-owned vehicles, managing refrigeration leaks, installing motion light sensors, and reducing the amount of air travel sponsored by the campus.
SUNY Fredonia committed to becoming "carbon neutral" in 2008, signing the American College and University President's Climate Commitment. To be considered carbon neutral, the campus is required to either emit zero greenhouse gases, or offset emitted gases through activities or the purchase of offsets, such as planting trees. Fredonia, thus far, has been successful at meeting incremental goals toward carbon neutrality.
"The campus has deemed sustainability and the impact our campus has on the environment to be important, and we are working toward reducing our impact," Environmental Safety and Sustainability Specialist Sarah Laurie said.
When asked if she was surprised by the significant drop, Laurie said, "I expected an overall reduction in emissions, but I was surprised by how large it was. The campus community has made a bold commitment to reduce its emissions. I work with numerous individuals who spend large portions of their time on projects that help our campus to reach this commitment."
Laurie also explained that faculty members, students and staff can help reduce greenhouses gases on a personal level by turning off lights and electronics when not in use; carpooling, biking or using public transportation; wasting less food; and recycling more.
"Our personal choices play a large role in how many resources are used and wasted, and what kind of impact that has on the world around us," she said.