American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment


In the fall of 2007, Massachusetts College of Art and Design became one of the charter signatories of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).  The goal of the commitment is to achieve a neutral carbon footprint via the elimination of carbon emissions from higher education campuses.

In accordance with the commitment, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) listed three action steps aimed at reducing emissions as part of the two month reporting criteria. Also as part of the commitment, MassArt agreed to generate a comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Inventory to be completed by September 2008.  This inventory is to be used to develop a carbon neutral plan by September 2009.

Green House Gas (GHG) Inventory

The inventory has been a cumulative effort of college staff, faculty, and students. Data collection was obtained through collaboration with Institutional Research, Human Resources, Residential Life, the Registrars Office, Purchasing, Facilities, and the Sustainability/ Environmental Health and Safety Office.

Based on the information entered into the Clean Air Cool Planet Calculator, we have been able to ascertain that MassArt generates approximately 10226 metric tons of CO2 per year, which is broken down as follows:


Tons Per Year

% of Total

Purchased Electricity



Purchased Fuels (Natural Gas)










The solid waste generated by MassArt is handled by B-P Trucking. It was confirmed that all materials are incinerated and not entered into landfills.


Upon completion of the GHG inventory, we now have a benchmarked baseline for which to better comprehend the scale of our campus emissions. Our immediate goals for the future include:

  • Interpretation of the inventory
  • Audit of campus for further energy saving opportunities
  • Develop a comprehensive plan for reducing our emissions


As recommended by the ACUPCC and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MassArt chose to use the Clean Air Cool Planet Campus Carbon Calculator.

The MassArt contributions to greenhouse gases are:

  1. Stationary combustion such the use of natural gas
  2. Purchased electricity
  3. Transportation, including college vehicles, business travel, commuting by students and faculty and staff to and from campus
  4. Waste going to incineration
  5. Refrigerants

All of the data collected, was done for each subsection of the Clean Air Cool Planet Calculator. The following is a summary of collections for each of those elements.

The Institutional Research department was used as a source of institutional data, including numbers of students, faculty, and staff; operating budget; and total building square footage. The information was then broken down into the Clean Air Cool Planet categories, such as full-time, part-time, summer students, faculty, staff, etc.

Faculty commuting information and staff commuting information was not obtained separately, so the total number of faculty and staff were entered in the “Staff” column.

Purchased Electricity and Fuels information was obtained through the reported State Tracking forms which are required to be submitted annually. All this data was confirmed for accuracy through the Purchasing Department.

Fuel for the vehicles and equipment was also obtained through the records of the Purchasing Department.

Air Travel was determined by summarizing all travel procurement purchases and/or Purchase Orders. By these means we were able to quantify the total amount spent on air travel for faculty/staff and students. We then reviewed documentation obtained from the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Based on this information we determined an average cost per mile. An average cost per mile was calculated using the twelve most common airlines. As of the summer of 2008, the average cost to travel by air was 13.6 cents per mile.

Due to constantly changing fuel costs, this method requires the use of averages and estimations. It was not the desirable process, but was a necessary one.

Solid Waste from the campus is picked up and sent off for incineration. All the tonnages are tracked by the Purchasing Department and the Sustainability/ Environmental Health and Safety Office.


In order to determine the GHG produced by commuting of students, faculty, and staff, the following estimations needed to be made:

  • The number of times each group commutes on average to and from campus each week, taking into account the populations of students who are residents vs. commuters.
  • The distance each group commutes on average each week.
  • The distance of public transportation routes.

By combining the information obtained through our Registrar’s Office, the parking lot registrations, an e-mail survey, and Human Resources, we were able to assemble a list of students, faculty, and staff. This lists detailed such information as, distances traveled, means of commuting, and trips per week. The e-mail commuting survey showed the following:

Of those students that responded, 71% are within 5 miles, of which the majority either walk or bike to campus.

Most students average 4 trips a week to campus 

Notes: Semester = 14.5 weeks (per Registrar)

§ 14.5 x 2 semesters = 29 weeks

§ 29 weeks x (average)4 times a week = 116 days per year

The information that was gathered and reported in the commuting section of Clean Air Cool Planet inventory is based on surveys conducted. In some instances, estimations were necessary.


The inventory has shown us that the majority of our emissions are derived from the use of stationary fuels. It is through this inventory that we now have a means by which to relay to our community our benchmarks, our contributions, and our progress.