Environmental Sustainability

Carbon Footprint

In order to better manage energy and as part of the American College and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment, SUNY Empire State College has developed a carbon action plan to reduce emissions by 10 percent by 2023. This plan was written by the Office of Sustainability in conjunction with the Office of Administration. It lays out specific processes by which the college can save energy, reduce emissions and incorporate sustainability programs into academics so the college is not only an example of an environmentally responsible institution, but also committed to making a difference in the habits of students. 

Carbon Action Plan (PDF  702kB)

What Is the Carbon Footprint of Empire State College?

In 2009, the president of the college made a strong commitment to environmental responsibility by signing the American College and Universities Presidents' Climate Commitment, a partnership of 677 colleges across the nation, including 22 other SUNY institutions, that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral campus.

As part of this commitment, a baseline measurement of current carbon emissions had to be calculated. 

  • In 2010, the college measured 5,200 metric tons of CO2e*. This is a normalized rate of .50 metric tons per full-time equivalent student and 14.1 metric tons per 1,000 square feet of building space.
  • In 2011, the college measured 4,944 metric tons of CO2e. This is due, in part, to a decrease in electricity use.

How Is the Carbon Footprint Calculated?

To determine how much carbon the college is responsible for emitting, data was collected from all areas of the college and entered into a carbon calculator.

*CO2 equivalents: A metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based on their global-warming potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as "metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCDE)." The carbon dioxide equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tons of the gas by the associated GWP. [MTCDE = (million metric tons of a gas) * (GWP of the gas)].