By 2019, develop a long-term Climate and Energy Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with interim milestones for 2025 and 2035
Progress: Somewhat complete
Description: Waterloo continues to develop an integrated Climate and Energy Action Plan, and expects completion in early 2020.
While Waterloo has seen important historical emissions decreases on an intensity basis, this has largely been reflective of provincial changes to the electricity grid. The underlying drivers of Waterloo’s emissions will continue to increase based on campus growth. New data has made it possible to collect information on emissions from business travel and commuting, which is why there was an increase in Scope 3 emissions in 2018.
Weather was a significant factor accounting for increased heating demand on the campus during 2018. However, there were some changes to electricity emission factors from the Province of Ontario that impacted historical emissions, and Waterloo has adjusted its inventory accordingly. 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
- 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
- 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.
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 the growth of the campus or the increase in other energy-intensive areas, such as in labs and computing equipment.
Actions and Accomplishments
- 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. To account for variation in weather, energy intensity was normalized by calculating the energy use in gigajoules per degree day for each year using conversion tables provided by the National Energy Board. The resulting annual statistic was multiplied by the average degree days from 2010-2018 and divided by the gross floor area of building space for each year. 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.