Engineering and Computer Science Faculty Publications


An Energy Use and Emissions Inventory

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Journal Title

Annual Conference & Exposition of the American Society for Engineering Education


Maintaining a 400-acre campus which supports the education of 3000 students requires energy. Data were gathered from across campus as part of a faculty research project and in conjunction with an undergraduate course. The project was initiated in order to develop an energy usage and emissions inventory for the University while at the same offering students exposure to the process. Inventory inputs included stationary consumption (burning of natural gas to supply heat), electricity purchased, campus vehicle usage (gasoline consumption), commuter vehicle usage (faculty and staff only), and transportation and distribution (T&D) expenses. Whereas the student population has increased by only 8% since 2000, the dollar amount budgeted for energy expenses on campus has risen by 50% over the same time period.

Emissions from the various energy inputs were analyzed. In 2007, electricity purchased from the local utility company accounted for 74% of the campus energy usage. Since the university does not have direct control over which fuel is being used to provide this needed electricity and since Congress is currently debating “Cap and Trade” legislation, it behooves the university to take a serious look at its energy conservation practices.

Recommendations to the university administration include the following: (1) line-item the energy cost to students as a part of their bills, (2) increase the rate of replacing older equipment with high-efficiency units, (3) develop a plan for becoming carbon-neutral by a specified date in the future, and (4) sponsor a project which integrates environmental, business, engineering, and technical writing majors to produce a “Green Guide” for the campus.


Energy and emissions inventory, emission of greenhouse gases, energy use