Where to invest? Updated Greenhouse Gas Inventory Helps Prioritize Potential Investment on Campus

St. Edward’s has updated its Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the 2013-2014 academic year! Why the excitement? Well, first of all, because it takes time and hard work to get it done. But the most important reason is that this inventory serves as a tool to assess what areas can be prioritized to obtain the best return on investment (ROI) while taking our environment to heart. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are gases that absorb and trap heat in the atmosphere so as good stewards of our environment, we need to consistently check how we are doing and assess what improvements we can make to reduce green gas emissions. What are some easy ways you can help out to reduce our Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG)? Walk, bike, take the bus or carpool to school, print less paper or print double-sided, and make sure to turn off all lights when leaving a room!

So how does this inventory work? The Greenhouse Gas Inventory tracks the total annual greenhouse gas emissions at St. Edward’s University, providing Hilltoppers with a better understanding of the sources and trends in the university’s GHG in an effort to improve current sustainability practices at the university.

This inventory originally started in 2009 as an undergraduate research project. With the inception of the Professional Science Master’s in Environmental Management and Sustainability (MSEM) in 2013, graduate students took the initiative to resume collecting the data. As part of a graduate research project, students Gwendolyn Bailey MSEM ’15 and Thomas LaPoint MSEM ’15 updated and quantified the GHG data from St. Edward’s University to compare its GHG with those of other universities in Texas.

Suzie Gamboa MSEM ’16 and Christine Lacayo MSEM ’16 have continued updating the Greenhouse Gas inventory for the 2013-2014 academic year. You can compare differences in GHG emissions between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 by viewing the summaries below. As you can see, the total gross emissions from Scope 1, 2, and 3 in 2013-2014 is a little more than 5,000 metric tons of GHG emissions higher than the total in 2012-2013. Fortunately, MSEM students Suzie Gamboa, Erica Joelson, and Christina Mcglew calculated the carbon sequestration and carbon storage at Wild Basin this past year for their first-year research project. With their updated findings we were able to see the total net emissions drop to 5,637 metric tons of CO2, a little over 9,000 metric tons of GHG emissions less than last year’s data. Suzie and Park Ng will continue to track our carbon offsets by measuring the carbon sequestration at Wild Basin and on campus this summer in order to continue updating the data.

-Christine Lacayo MSEM ’16
Sustainability Graduate Assistant