Project 16: Reducing our Carbon Footprint

Department: MassArt Group
Title: Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint:

In 2007, recognizing the critical importance of environmental stewardship, President Kay Sloan joined education leaders around the country in support of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In the years since, MassArt has made considerable progress on many fronts, garnering recognition for its efforts here in Massachusetts and beyond.

In order to meet the needs of the future, the MassArt community seeks solutions to environmental problems by fostering working relationships among faculty, staff, students, and alumni; embedding principles of sustainability into the curriculum; and collaborating with government agencies on all levels. As a result of these efforts, the college will raise awareness among the members of its community, upgrade technologies, and expand capabilities to achieve a more sustainable future.

A reduction in our carbon footprint is consistent with our long-standing commitment to building a sustainable future. To measure our progress, we look to targets set forth in Governor Deval Patrick’s Executive Order 484 (EO484) and the ACUPCC, which effectively stipulate a gradual progression toward carbon neutrality. Both aim for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050; EO484 also includes interim milestones and other energy-use targets, such as use of renewable electricity and other energy-use targets, such as use of renewable electricity and a reduction of total energy consumption.

The Campus Carbon Calculator, a system developed by Clean Air-Cool Planet, assesses the full range of greenhouse gas emissions on college campuses and is the method recommended by both the ACUPCC and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. It currently is in use at more than 1,200 campuses around the country.

MassArt engaged students, faculty, and staff to participate in the process; the inventory is a cumulative effort of the entire MassArt community.

The chart above is based on the results of this assignment. Based on the college’s total emissions, it demonstrates the specific reductions necessary to meet our goals through 2020. Data was obtained with the help of Institutional Research, Human Resources, Residence Life, the Registrar’s Office, Purchasing, Facilities, and the Office of Sustainability, Environmental Health and Safety.

As defined by the target goals of EO484 and the ACUPCC, the graph below represents MassArt’s current carbon footprint as calculated by the Clean Air-Cool Planet Campus Carbon Calculator. This represents the baseline data for measuring our progress.


Based on these reports and a comprehensive audit of our energy usage, we have concluded that combined heat and power (CHP) along with green energy purchases will result in both cost savings and a reduction in carbon emissions.

Our baseline energy costs for the year of study are $1,362,959. The total CO2 emissions from natural gas (Scope 1) and electricity (Scope 2) were 5,520 metric tons. Based on market costs and equipment specifications, the calculations show that installing a CHP turbine and purchasing green energy, MassArt, will save an estimated $6,562 a year, while at the same time reduce total CO2 levels by 35%.

Installation of a CHP system at MassArt will produce savings in the cost of heat and electricity. These savings will enable the college to purchase green electricity, resulting in a net savings given current prices for gas and electricity.

Another option, second only to the CHP alternative in its cost-effectiveness, is the purchase of half of MassArt’s electricity through NSTAR’s green energy program. This alternative is relatively inexpensive and satisfies the requirements of EO484 and the ACUPCC without changes to the college’s infrastructure.