Clemson's Carbon Footprint

We're Accountable 

Clemson is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by decreasing its electrical consumption and actively pursuing renewable energy sources. The Clemson main campus consumes a significant amount of energy to power campus operations. The East Campus Substation receives electricity from our sole electrical provider, Duke Energy.  In 2009, Clemson purchased approximately 133,410,000 kWH from Duke for a cost of $7.16 million. In 2011, even though purchased consumption from Duke decreased to 122,127,434 kWH, rising energy prices yielded a higher bill of $10.2 million. As carbon footprints become more central stage, and electricity prices continue to rise every year it becomes both environmentally and economically critical to reduce our carbon footprint. Understanding our own carbon footprint as both individuals and as a university is an important first step to changing for the better. Our electrical consumption produces the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Duke Energy, claiming to be the 3rd largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the U.S., has committed to significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Duke's 2008-2009 Sustainability Report details how  they intend to cut their carbon dioxide emissions in half — by 50 million tons per year — by 2030. Their recent report for 2011-2012 outlines their milestones and success towards reaching this goal. Another important aspect they focus on is accountability. Stressing accountability is inate in the concept of a carbon footprint. We all need to recognize and act today to keep our better tomorrow. 

To view Duke-Energy's page listing all of Duke's Sustainability Reports, click here.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment.  Each of us contributes to GHG emissions which are causing climate change.  Our carbon footprint relates to the amount of GHG produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation. A carbon footprint can be measured for an individual or an organization and is typically given in tons of carbon dioxide-equivalents (CO2-eq) per year.

You can calculate your carbon footprint by using the Carbon Footprint Calculator.  As you become more aware of how your daily activities influence our climate, you can be more educated as to how you can make effective changes to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also refer to Energy Tips to see a list of general guidelines to follow. 

Some other great links:

The Encyclopedia of Earth (for graphical images, and charts showing typical carbon footprints) (with everything from a carbon footprint calculator to tracking software to continually monitor your carbon footprint)

The Department of Energy (for large scale carbon footprints such as the one we produce as a large university)

Be Accountable...reduce