Air and Climate

In addition to actively increasing the university’s resilience to climate events such as severe storms, temperatures and water (flooding or drought), NC State is reducing its climate impact through emissions-reducing strategies that minimize energy consumption and improve air quality.

NC State aims to reach climate neutrality by 2050 — a goal that was developed following the university’s 2008 signing of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (now administered by Second Nature). Signed by more than 650 colleges and universities, this national pledge challenges campuses to recognize their climate impact and work to reduce campus emissions.

Latest Emissions Report

The 2017 Greenhouse Gas Inventory measures the university’s carbon footprint. As a large and growing university, this inventory helps identify areas where NC State can minimize its climate impact by improving sustainability and efficiency.

WHAT’S NEW
Climate impact reporting has evolved since the university’s previous greenhouse gas inventories in 2008, 2010 and 2013. NC State’s 2017 Greenhouse Gas Inventory utilized an updated scope, data collection process, emissions factors and timeline as compared to previous greenhouse gas inventories. These improvements make NC State’s 2017 Greenhouse Gas Inventory the most comprehensive emissions estimate to date. However, these significant advances and changes make it difficult to compare the 2017 inventory with previous inventories. Thus, the 2017 inventory provides a new base-line by which NC State will gauge its future climate reduction efforts.

ScopeSourcePercentageMTCDE
1Campus Generated Electricity11.80%31,920.76
1Campus Generated Steam9.02%24,400.89
1Natural Gas and Fuel Oil13.00%35,066.86
1Transportation Fuels2.17%5,855.92
1Refrigerants and Chemicals0.92%2,483.63
1Fertilizers and Animals2.08%5,617.91
2Purchase Electricity25.10%67,889.71
3Employee Commuting6.65%17,976.85
3Student Commuting5.09%13,767.51
3Air Travel15.20%41,178.15
3Other Directly Financed Travel0.65%1,765.52
3Solid Waste6.77%18,321.16
3Wastewater0.07%185.77
3Paper Purchasing0.16%442.56
3Utility Transmission and Distribution Losses1.31%3,550.58
SinkComposting1.31%-488
TOTAL99.99%269,935.78
Why Measure Climate Impact?

NC State tracks its climate impact as part of university commitments to be environmentally sound, economically responsible and socially just. Additionally, NC State has joined other colleges and universities in a nationwide pledge to reduce climate impact.

How We Reduce Our Climate Impact

Many NC State sustainability efforts improve efficiency on campus while simultaneously reducing climate impact — particularly in the areas of energy management, recycling and composting, alternative transportation and grounds management.

Emissions Reduction Strategy

The path to climate neutrality as defined in the 2010 NC State Climate Action Plan.

The 2017 Greenhouse Gas Inventory measures the university’s carbon footprint. As a large and growing university, this inventory helps identify areas where NC State can minimize its climate impact by improving sustainability and efficiency.

NC State outlined its emissions-reducing strategy in a 2010 Climate Action Plan:

  1. Avoid emissions-intensive activities
  2. Reduce emissions by increasing efficiency of campus operations
  3. Replace high-emission energy sources with reliable, cost-effective low-emission energy sources
  4. Offset emissions that cannot be eliminated

Progress is monitored through greenhouse gas inventories completed in 20082010 and 2013.

The university is also home to grant-funded climate research centers: Southeast Climate Science Center and Southeast Regional Climate Hub