Towards an integrated tool to calculate institution carbon and nitrogen footprints

Allison M. Leach1, James N. Galloway2, Elizabeth Castner2, Jennifer Andrews1

1University of New Hampshire, 131 Main Street, 107 Nesmith Hall, Durham, NH, 03824 USA,
2University of Virginia, PO Box 400123, Charlottesville, VA, 22904 USA


Hundreds of institutions have calculated, tracked, and managed their carbon footprint to help improve their sustainability. Although important, greenhouse gas emissions address just one aspect of sustainability. We propose an integrated carbon and nitrogen footprint tool to allow institutions to track and manage a broader picture of their environmental impacts. This integrated tool will bring together the Campus Carbon Calculator (a tool developed in 2001 at the University of New Hampshire that is used by colleges and universities across the United States) and the Nitrogen Footprint Tool (a new tool developed in 2009 at the University of Virginia that is completing a beta testing phase with 18 institutions). We will present the methodology for this integrated tool, case study results for five universities, and management scenario analyses for a variety of reduction strategies. Preliminary analyses have found strong comparisons between the carbon and nitrogen footprint in both the food and energy sectors. In addition, we found reductions to both footprints for a variety of management strategies. This analysis holds significance for all institutions, regardless of whether they have calculated their own footprint, because it will identify the most effective footprint management strategies across institutions that could then be used in sustainability planning.

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