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Smaller footprint leads to great strides in going green

Posted in NEWS on Thursday, November 10th, 2011

By Lauren Koenig

[Article originally published on InsideVandy]

Vanderbilt’s plant operations have set some big shoes to fill by substantially reducing the university’s carbon footprint this past year. According to a report released by Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Management Office, overall emissions have been reduced by 10 percent since 2008. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions per square foot have decreased by 18 percent since 2005.

The report is intended to enable SEMO to recognize and improve methods for upgrading Vanderbilt’s energy efficiency.

“Using this information, we can identify our most significant opportunities for improving our carbon footprint such as reducing electricity consumption and using mass transit, carpooling or vanpooling,” said Andrea George, director of SEMO.

The GHGs designated by the report are those emitted through building energy consumption, fuel used by university-owned vehicles, commuting patterns and waste disposal.

According to Judson Newborn, deputy vice chancellor for Facilities and Environmental Affairs, Vanderbilt’s report is more comprehensive than other universities’ reports because it includes research and patient care activity. This allows for a more accurate representation of Vanderbilt’s actual energy use.

Vanderbilt’s progress in GHG reduction is another step in a series of efforts to make the University more sustainable and to make this information available to the community. Earlier in 2011, Vanderbilt was awarded an “A” rating by Claremont McKenna College and ranked as one of the top five universities for its environmental and social sustainability transparency.

All GHG inventory reports are available at the Sustain VU website.

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