The Commitment

Rice University is a signatory of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, and has set a target to become carbon neutral as a university by the year 2038. Rice adopted its Climate Action Plan in September 2013, with fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013) serving as the baseline by which to measure progress.

Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon emissions associated with an individual, business, product, university, etc. Some aspects of a carbon footprint are easy to calculate from readily available data. Others require estimates.

The bulk of Rice’s carbon footprint comes from energy, specifically electricity and natural gas. Below is a summary of Rice’s carbon footprint, followed by more detail about the calculations.

carbon footprint graph

Scope 1 emissions account for direct emissions from sources owned by Rice. This includes natural gas combusted on-campus, as well as fuel for university-owned vehicles and equipment. The fleet vehicles total is an estimate, and the FY19 fleet vehicles estimate will be updated later in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions produced from electricity purchased by Rice.

Scope 3 emissions, not included above, include other indirect emissions such as university-sponsored air travel, commuting, and emissions from solid waste disposal. Scope 3 emissions will be published later in the 2019-2020 academic year.

An in-depth guide detailing calculations, assumptions, and emissions factors will be published later in the 2019-2020 academic year.