2012 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Update, Published October 2013
Vanderbilt’s Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) released an updated inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inclusive for the calendar years 2005 through 2012 in recognition of Campus Sustainability Day, observed on October 23, 2013. Vanderbilt’s GHG emissions inventory illustrates Vanderbilt’s current carbon footprint and provides trending information over the past eight years. Overall GHG emissions from the campus and medical center decreased by 19 percent from the all-time high reached in 2008 and by 14 percent from 2005 to 2012, even though VU has seen significant growth in square footage, staff, students and research dollars since 2008. When growth is taken into account, GHG reductions are down more than 25%.
Quantifying GHG emissions over time allows the Vanderbilt community to better understand its own unique impact on the environment now and in the past and determine the most effective improvement strategies to implement in the future.
Vanderbilt emits GHGs primarily through building utility consumption, but also by the commuting behaviors of the university’s faculty, staff and students, and the disposal of waste generated by Vanderbilt. The 60% increase in VU’s recycling volume in 2012 resulted in a significant improvement on GHG emissions associated with waste disposal – a drop of 66 percent in academic and research areas and 31 percent in patient care areas.