Global climate change can be attributed primarily to greenhouse gas emissions, which result from the burning of fossil fuels. WPI is committed to better understanding the significant social and environmental impacts of its energy consumption. To become more sustainable, the University seeks to reduce its dependence upon non-renewable energy sources and move towards utilization of renewable sources. Members of the WPI community are responsible for fully participating in efforts to minimize the campus-wide consumption of energy.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In 2007, a team of WPI students initiated the development of a campus greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory as a first step toward understanding and targeting programs to reduce emissions. This research, Tracking and Reducing Greenhouse Gases at WPI, estimates GHG emissions based principally on energy consumption data (for electricity, heating and cooling buildings, and transportation) and "emissions factors" estimating the GHG emitted per unit of energy consumption. To facilitate cross-institutional analysis and learning, the inventory is based on protocols established by Clean Air-Cool Planet and used by over 150 campuses. The initial process established important baseline GHG estimates in the electricity and building sector, while highlighting key conceptual and boundary issues that impact GHG estimation, especially in the transportation sector, and the need to strengthen the university's underlying energy information systems. The inventory will play a critical role in measuring the climate benefits of programs to promote energy efficiency and low-carbon, renewable energy resources on campus, and its further development is a high priority of the Task Force.
The Electricity Monitoring at WPI IQP, completed in 2007, evaluates the present status of WPI's electricity monitoring system on a building-by-building basis. It includes a comprehensive report of the electricity meter functionality for several dormitories and academic buildings. Also, it presents a short and long-term plan to improve the school's ability to monitor its electricity consumption. This recommendations presented by this report are currently being evaluated by Chris Salter, Dept. of Facilities.
The following graph shows the yearly consumption of electricity at WPI. These data include both purchased electricity as well as electricity generated on campus for heating. Further data is available for WPI community members under Documents at the Sustainability Sharepoint site.