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Carbon Footprint

What Is a Carbon Footprint?

An institution's carbon footprint is a measure of the global amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted by a particular human activity.

The life cycle concept of the carbon footprint means that it is all encompassing taking into account all direct (what happens locally) and indirect (what happens elsewhere both before and after its local use) emissions need to be taken into account.

Normally, a carbon footprint is expressed as a CO2 equivalent (usually in kilograms), which accounts for the same global warming effects of different greenhouse gases. The charts on this page are restricted to the immediately attributable emissions from energy use of fossil fuels. They show both the amount of emissions generated through the actions of people and how the energy was produced in the first place (e.g. from fossil fuels or renewable resources).

Upstate's Carbon Footprint

Upstate computed its first carbon footprint in 2012 using the best available data at the time. As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), we are obliged to update our footprint every two years. While not yet published, we are pleased to say that our footprint has been reduced by over 50% (78,597 MT to 38,036 MT). While we have made significant progress in our sustainability program, this reduction came from a more accurate accounting of the actual electrical energy sources supplied to this region by National Grid. In reality, over 70% of our electrical energy already comes from carbon free sources.