Greenhouse Gas Emissions Audit

Update on President’s Climate Commitment Letter

by Troy Hansgen
Senior Director of Facilities
Office of Facilities and Maintenance

As you may recall, in February 2008, President Klawe joined college and university presidents across the country by signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), an action that followed on the Board of Trustees’ adoption of a new Sustainability Policy Statement.

Acting in coordination with the ACUPCC plan, Harvey Mudd College has completed the following steps in pursuit of climate neutrality:

1) Created institutional structures to guide the development and implementation of the plan when the president and chair of the Board of Trustees appointed a Sustainability Committee composed of representatives of all stakeholder groups in the College community. The charge of the Harvey Mudd College Sustainability Committee is to set goals for the College’s sustainability program and provide oversight of that program. The Committee membership consists of one representative appointed from each of the following groups:

  • Faculty
  • ASHMC (the ASHMC Council will take the lead in identifying this student)
  • ESW/MOSS (an appointed position from ESW/MOSS)
  • The Office of Business Affairs
  • The Office of Facilities and Maintenance

2) Initiated the following tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed:

  • Established a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent.
  • Adopted an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist whenever possible.
  • Encourage use of public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution.

3) Completed a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating, commuting and air travel).

In late 2008, an audit was undertaken with the intention of providing baseline figures of past emissions estimates for which data was available and to serve as a reference for future analysis. This was the second sustainability audit to include the College. In 2007, a team of 15 students and five faculty members undertook a sustainability audit of the entire Claremont Consortium. The 2008 audit is the first to focus solely on Harvey Mudd College. The 2008 audit was conducted over several months between 2008 and 2009, using the 2007 audit as a point of reference. The audit was conducted by staff of the Facilities and Maintenance office with additional support from students, faculty and alumni.

Harvey Mudd College used the ACUPCC implementation guide as a reference while completing its emissions assessment. The ACUPCC recommends using Clean Air Cool Planet’s (CA-CP) Campus Carbon Calculator to perform inventories as it complies with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The results of the 2008 audit project a modestly positive trend for the College. Although the College continues to grow in size, it has benefited from a decrease in average emissions in proportion to building space and community size over the past few years. The 2008 audit found Harvey Mudd generates the equivalent of approximately 7,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year with roughly a 2 percent reduction per year since 2005. These results provide some hope of significantly reducing the College’s contribution to climate change in the near future.

The next step for Harvey Mudd is to devise a plan and set a target date to become climate neutral.

The 2012 audit report is being finalized and will be uploaded soon.