According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gases that trap heat in the atmosphere are called greenhouse gases. These gases include Carbon dioxide (CO2),
For additional information and definitions, visit the EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions site.
A greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory catalogues and calculates the greenhouse gases that are emitted as a result of institutional activities.
GHG emissions are divided into 3 scopes:
- Scope 1 emissions, or direct emissions, include those from stationary and mobile combustion sources owned by IU. In addition, emissions from other sources such as fertilizer, animals, refrigerants, and chemicals are included in this category.
- Scope 2 emissions, or indirect emissions, include those from purchased electricity.
- Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions (not included in Scope 2) that are indirectly impacted by IU, though they are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by IU. Examples include commuting, business travel, food purchased by the university, etc.
Each fuel / activity has an emissions factor associated with it. An emissions factor is a unique value for scaling emissions to activity data in terms of a standard rate of emissions per unit of activity (e.g., grams of carbon dioxide emitted per barrel of fossil fuel consumed).
A standardized protocol was developed in 2020* to ensure that the methods for calculating GHG emissions are defined and consistent across IU campuses.
*Emissions from years prior to FY19 were calculated a using a slightly different method, but the effect on results is marginal.
MTCDE is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases based upon their global warming potential (GWP). Carbon dioxide equivalents are commonly expressed as "metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCDE)." The carbon dioxide equivalent for a gas is derived by multiplying the tons of the gas by the associated GWP. (MTCDE = (million metric tons of a gas) * (GWP of the gas)).
Source: SIMAP Glossary
IU is setting consistent target temperatures (set points) for heating and cooling equipment in all campus buildings to help increase efficiency and lower carbon emissions.
View an infographic about temperature set points and how you can help
IU is expanding support of several energy-savings methods already in use, including:
- Establishing consistent temperature set points across buildings and campuses to improve overall efficiency: All IU campuses will use consistent indoor heating and cooling temperatures in buildings, with some exceptions for academic and research activities and compatibility with individual building systems.
- Replacing traditional fixtures with LED lighting: LED lighting provides the same brightness as traditional bulbs, but it uses 90% less energy, lasts 15 times longer and produces very little heat, according to energystar.gov.
- Installing lighting motion sensors: Motion sensors increase efficiency and save energy by turning off lights in unoccupied spaces and not relying on occupants for operation.
- Installing utilities meters at individual buildings: Through IU’s energy management software, individual meters report utility use at the building level, enabling analysis of utility usage data over time. This analysis can detect anomalies that may be the result of systems needing adjustment or repair/replacement and facilitate timely response.
- Building retro-commissioning: Retro-commissioning corrects the inevitable energy drift from original design that occurs as buildings age. Common corrections include optimizing air handling and distribution, recalibrating sensors, and adjusting temperature settings. Retro-commissioning of IUPUI’s Neurosciences Research Building resulted in an electricity savings of nearly 119,000 kWh, equivalent to 10.5 residential homes’ energy use for one year.
- Electrifying grounds maintenance equipment: IUPUI’s Campus Facility Services Grounds Department has introduced fully electric grounds maintenance equipment on campus. The university will continue to test this equipment and explore opportunities to convert grounds maintenance equipment on other campuses to fully electric.
Read the announcement
At the direction of President Pamela Whitten, Indiana University established a Climate Action Planning Committee to develop comprehensive recommendations to identify short- and long-term opportunities to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from its various campuses and units. The committee was announced on April 7, 2022.
The Climate Action Planning Committee is charged with developing comprehensive recommendations to identify short- and long-term opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly from IU’s various campuses and units.
The committee's goal and guiding principles are:
- Develop recommendations for short and long term opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on all IU campuses
- Complete, comprehensive and scientifically sound
- Immediate implementation where possible
- Financial resources required
- Funding sources and savings identified
- Broad input from students, faculty and staff on all campuses
- Benchmarks, dashboards and transparency of process and progress
- Carbon neutrality by 2040
The committee’s recommendations were submitted to IU President Pamela Whitten on April 30, 2023.
Forums will be held during fall semester 2022 and spring semester 2023 on each IU campus. Students, faculty and staff will be able to provide their input and ideas to the committee during these forums. Dates and locations are being solidified and will be shared with each campus.
Input may also be provided to: email@example.com
The committee submitted its recommendations to President Whitten on April 30, 2023.
Check the News page for updates.
View recent committee meeting presentations.
The Climate Action Plan Recommendations have been approved.