When Hamilton College started measuring its CO2 emissions in 2007, carbon equivalents measured 22,540 metric tons. By 2011, the College had reduced emissions to a total of 17,817 metric tons, surpassing its 2015 Climate Action Plan goal of 18,032 and achieving a 20 percent reduction four years ahead of schedule. In 2010 the College’s emissions totaled 18,323 metric tons.
The Taylor Science Center has had a 25 percent decrease in energy usage since July 2011, due primarily to facility changes such as the addition of occupancy sensors and more efficient lighting. In the past year, solid waste was also reduced on campus by 25 percent from 916 to 675 metric tons, due primarily to an increase in the recycling of cardboard and composting.
Although Hamilton’s CO2 emissions reduction is exceptional, Associate Vice President for Facilities and Planning Steve Bellona notes that achieving the next reduction goal, another 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025, will be challenging. Energy use in buildings across campus since July has risen slightly. This may have resulted from higher cooling requirements or changes in occupant use. Increases to Hamilton’s energy use from weather extremes, occupant behavior and future anticipated increases in Hamilton’s physical plant may offset future reductions that were achieved through energy improvements to current facilities.
Once having achieved all the reasonable engineering improvements, the principal options for decreasing emissions is through investment in new technologies like solar energy, purchasing more renewable energy credits and/or making more personal changes in our energy consumption patterns.
Bellona also noted that reducing our emissions the 4,300 metric tons to reach our 2025 goal is reachable with a concerted effort by the campus community.