Columbia University

Greenhouse Gas Accounting & Climate Strategy Development

Issue:

Gotham 360 adopted a stakeholder-driven strategic approach to assist Columbia University in the creation and deployment of a comprehensive Sustainability Plan. Our process established committees and task force groups to pursue green initiatives and collaborate on ideas – unifying the various stakeholders around the shared vision of a more sustainable campus.

Result:

Gotham 360 was responsible for the creation and maintenance of the University greenhouse gas inventory, inclusive of all Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We participated in the Greenhouse Gas task force and represented Columbia University in the groundbreaking New York City Carbon Challenge, “One City Built to Last.”

Details:

In 2017, Columbia University launched its first Sustainability Plan. This document has a three-year (2017-2020) temporal scope focused on strategies that will help advance the University toward a series of sustainability-driven goals by 2020. Where applicable, the goals of the University have been aligned to those of New York City and State policies.

Ongoing Engagement:

The carbon inventory developed by Gotham 360 informed the University’s first formalized document bringing together sustainability efforts from a myriad of departments around campus. The plan was the result of a 16-month focused collaboration with students, faculty, administrators, and scientists working across departments to create a three-year, operations-focused roadmap to create a more sustainable University. Ongoing initiatives include:

  • Baseline data gathering and analysis
  • STARS data collection and reporting
  • Sustainability review of peer institutions
  • Stakeholder mapping and engagement
  • Benchmarking and goal-setting
  • Behavior modification management strategies
  • Customized plan development, writing and editorial support

Over the past 10 years (2006 baseline), Columbia University has reduced gross energy consumption by 4 percent while growing square footage by 7 percent
Since 2006, Columbia has reduced absolute carbon emissions by 29 percent.
Through the NYC Clean Heat program, Columbia converted 113 buildings and 87 boilers from oil to gas, resulting in an annual energy reduction of 326,820 total MMBtu.

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