By 2019, develop a long-term Climate and Energy Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; decrease Scope 1/2 emissions by 17.5% by 2025
|Completed (2019)||Started (2025)|
Waterloo completed development of its Shift:Neutral climate action plan throughout 2019, which was approved in early 2020.
As implementation proceeds, progress will need to be accelerated to offset the increase of grid emission changes and a growing campus. In future reports, the indicator will pivot to the 2025 target within Shift:Neutral as well as actions completed to advance the target, some of which are already underway.
For context on the above graph, it is worthwhile to consider several points:
- Weather is a significant factor that can drive heating and cooling demand. The emissions listed above are not normalized to the difference between a colder or milder winter, which inherently requires more energy to heat buildings. The energy graph included under O2, after 2015, shows this normalization in energy intensity, but emissions are reported in absolute, unadjusted amounts here. This is a part of the reason for natural gas increases in 2018 and 2019, for example.
- As noted in the methodology below, electricity emission reductions between 2010 and 2017 were largely a result of the Provincial phase-out of coal in the electricity grid, making Waterloo's electricity use cleaner even while consumption grew. The opposite has happened since 2017 as the Province uses more natural gas in its electricity mix.
- Waterloo has expanded tracking of its Scope 3 emissions to include student and employee commuting emissions, which are generated primarily from driving and transit use. These show up as a new source of emissions in 2018’s inventory, but would be assumed to be proportionally similar for previous years when data was not yet available to the level of detail needed to complete an emissions assessment (see: Transportation).
Actions and Accomplishments
- In early 2021, Waterloo completed the campus-wide energy audit and began analysing results and prioritizing project implementation schedules
- In May 2021, Waterloo declared a Climate Emergency to further accellerate action across all campus activities.
- Approved Shift:Neutral climate action plan
- Launched campus-wide energy audit to facilitate holistic understanding of energy-savings opportunities across campus buildings
- Hosted Climate Change Town Hall in Fall 2020 to more formally launch Shift: Neutral and answer questions from the University community on Waterloo's climate action plan next steps
- Began drafting low-carbon design standards for new construction
- Released tender for campus-wide energy audit and selected preferred proponent
- Working Group held 6 public open-house drop-in sessions and attended various events to seek student and employee input on climate action plan, reaching over 200 participants
- Working Group held workshop with key staff, administration, faculty, and student stakeholders to discuss draft directions and background
- Drafted, refined, and brought forward Shift:Neutral climate action plan for approval
- University formed a Working Group of the President’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability to develop the long-term action plan.
- Working Group developed background paper on draft directions
- Working Group retained consulting firm to provide outline on feasibility studies required for development of a net-neutral strategy
- Working Group completed business-as-usual forecast, and interviews with other campuses
All campuses. Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo provide data to include in this report for purposes of transparency, but are separate from the goals and actions of the University of Waterloo.
Natural Gas, Fuel Oil, Water, Electricity, T&D Losses, Gasoline, Diesel:
Source data was taken from annual billing and calculated against relevant emissions factors.
Business Travel – Mileage:
Source data is generated through the University of Waterloo’s Concur expense claim system. Since employees are reimbursed at a flat rate per kilometer, the financial data can be converted into distance travelled. This is multiplied against a standard emissions factor for a sales-weighted average vehicle fuel efficiency and respective emission factor.
Source data is collected from the student and employee travel survey developed and hosted by the TravelWise program at the Region of Waterloo. The survey asks participants to describe the mode of travel they use to get to campus, the distance they travel, and the class of vehicle they drive, if applicable. The survey also gathers information on whether they are full or part time, and whether they are students, staff, or faculty. The distance travelled is compounded by weighting factors above to extrapolate over the course of a year, and is multiplied by NRCAN rated vehicle fuel efficiency for the class of vehicle selected. The outputs are then weighted according to each respective population (student, staff, faculty).
Trips by walking, cycling, and teleworking are assumed to have zero emissions. Travel by carpooling uses the same methodology as above, but is divided by two to reflect double occupancy of a vehicle. Travel by transit uses the same methodology as above, but is multiplied against an emissions factor per passenger kilometer traveled rather than vehicle fuel efficiency.
The survey tool is released in the fall and respondents are asked to select the trips taken to campus over the previous week. It also asks respondents their primary mode of travel, and whether that mode shifts seasonally. For the purposes of emissions calculations, the seasonally-adjusted primary mode of travel is reported here. The emissions calculations based on the trips-over-past-week methodology is statistically identical (within the survey’s margin of error).
Source data comes from invoices for waste sent to landfill, and is multiplied against standardized emission factors developed by the Region of Waterloo. Diverted waste streams are not included as part of the emissions calculation.
Since the University of Waterloo collects all waste on campus in aggregate, emissions related to waste are recorded under the University’s section and omitted from the Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo, although they would be responsible for a portion of the waste generation.
In the data tables, emissions are classified based on the scopes developed in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
|Natural Gas||kgCO2-e/m3||NIR (2021)||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831||1.89831|
|Light Fuel Oil||kgCO2-e/L||NIR (2021)||2.76194||2.76194||2.76194||2.76194|
|Heavy Fuel Oil||kgCO2-e/L||EPA||2.96125||2.96125|
|Electricity (estimate)||kgCO2-e/kWh||NIR (2021b)||0.13000||0.01100||0.09600||0.06600||0.03900||0.0400||0.0370||0.01700||0.0300||0.0300||0.0300|
- Unleaded Fuel
- Diesel Fuel
(EPA) US Environmental Protection Agency guidance for emissions from combustion
(NIR 2021) From Canada’s 2021 National Inventory Report – Part 2
(NIR 2021) From Canada’s 2021 National Inventory Report – Part 3
(SWR 2013a) From Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Water Emissions Guidance Paper
(SWR 2013b) From Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Waste Emissions Guidance Paper
(SWR 2012) From Sustainable Waterloo Region's Guide to the Regional Carbon Initiative
Implement cost-effective and practical strategies to reduce or minimize growth in energy use on campus
Description: Waterloo’s overall energy consumption continues to increase in aggregate and on an intensity basis. Although some energy efficiency projects have been implemented, they are not enough to offset growth of the campus.
Actions and Accomplishments
- Plant Operations re-hired the Energy Manager position to support energy conservation projects
- The campus-wide energy audit took place
- RFP was released and a WalterFedy was selected in Dec. as the successful proponent to lead the energy audit
- Climate Action Plan was drafted in summer and brought to the President in Fall 2019 and was approved
- Lighting retrofits continued
- Plant Operations updated the Energy Conservation Demand Management Plan in June of 2019
- Plant Operations completed lighting retrofits in Davis Centre and Engineering 2 which will save approximately 198,000 kWh of electricity on an annual basis
- The Sustainability Office included a session on Energy and Climate in the newly-launched Sustainability Certificate
- Plant Operations completed lighting retrofits in PAC, DC, and MC to update to LED or high-efficiency fluorescent lighting.
All campuses. Affiliated and Federated Institutions of Waterloo provide data to include in this report for purposes of transparency, but are separate from the goals and actions of Waterloo.
All data is taken from monthly or annual billing statements for actual consumption, and converted to equivalent kilowatt hours (ekWh) using conversion tables provided by the National Energy Board. Energy intensity was calculated by dividing total energy consumption by total floor area of building space for each year.
To account for variation in weather, in particular cold weather that requires significant heating, Waterloo normalized energy intensity to the number of heating degree days, relative to 2015, for the reporting years beginning in 2015. Prior to 2015, these are reported in raw (not normalized) intensity.
Read alongside total metered usage, this can help understand the energy intensity of the campus while accounting for weather conditions that are outside of the University’s control.