District Campus News
HCC’s NEW and BIGGER Carbon Footprint

In the summer 2010 edition of Inside@HCC, we reported our college’s first findings (2008-2009 baseline year data) of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory. This report summarizes results of HCC’s second green house gas emissions inventory for the year 2009-2010. Results of this GHG inventory were submitted as our continued commitment to the American College and President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and towards quantifying the environmental impact of the college’s operations relative to greenhouse gas emissions.

HCC’s total carbon emission is at 55, 541 MTCDE’s (Metric Tons Carbon Dioxide Equivalents). To put things in perspective, 55,541 MTCDE’s is equivalent to CO2 emissions from consumption of 20.7 million gallons of gasoline, electricity used in 23, 036 U.S. homes per year, and carbon sequestered by over 4.7 million tree seedlings over a period of ten years.

Various sources of carbon emissions considered for this inventory include commute (faculty, staff, and students), travel (faculty and staff), and energy consumption (electricity, gasoline, diesel, etc). Data on waste management and offsets was not used for calculating the carbon footprint.

Our greatest challenge continues to be carbon emissions generated due to student commute. With over 47,000 unduplicated student headcount in 2009-2010, student commute accounted for over 91 million miles traveled during the current inventory year.

Compared with the baseline year (2008-2009) data, we are encouraged to report that the faculty and staff commute has decreased by 27%, while the total # of faculty and staff remained fairly similar over the two periods of the inventories.

In terms of energy consumption data, HCC has successfully demonstrated reduction in the energy costs in 2009-2010 while additional square footage was added to the college’s physical facilities, as compared with the 2008-2009 data. This is a significant institutional achievement, and ongoing efforts will continue this effort to meet the goals of our climate action plan.

Since the first inventory, HCC introduced Zimride®, a rideshare program offered to HCC students, staff, and faculty as an alternative transportation option. In less than one year, over 1,000 HCC community members have registered in the Zimride® program, and HCC Sustainability Council, in conjunction with the college’s Marketing and PR Department, continues to promote this option.

Please help us to achieve the goals of our climate action plan and to reduce the growing carbon footprint. For more information, please contact Dr. Sudeep Vyapari (svyapari@hccfl.edu) or Ms. Amber C. Lee (alee6@hccfl.edu).

Article written by: GWSC Staff