GHG Inventory Details

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are categorized and tracked across three different “scopes”:

Scope 1 GHG emissions are direct emissions from sources that are controlled by the institution.

Scope 2 GHG emissions are indirect emissions from sources that are controlled by the institution.

Scope 3 GHG emissions are from sources not directly controlled by the institution but related to activities necessary for the institution to function.

The following emission sources are included in UW–Madison’s GHG inventory:

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Scope 1

  • On-Campus Stationary Sources: emissions from heating & cooling plants, including the Charter Street Heating & Cooling Plant, Walnut Street Heating & Cooling Plant, and West Campus Cogeneration facility
  • Direct Transportation: emissions from fuel used in university owned vehicles including small engine equipment
  • Refrigerants & Chemicals: loss of gases with known greenhouse gas effect from campus equipment in labs or facilities, data is estimated from purchases of refrigerants and chemicals as losses are not all directly measured
  • Fertilizer & Animals: emissions from the application of fertilizer to campus landscapes and from large animals housed on-campus including Beef Cows, Dairy Cows, Goats, Poultry, and Swine

Scope 2

  • Purchased Electricity: emissions produced as a result of the use of electricity supplied by Madison Gas and Electric to the main campus

Scope 3

  • Faculty / Staff / Student Commuting: estimates of emissions resulting from travel to and from campus
  • Directly Financed Travel: emissions from air travel and personal vehicle usage funded for by the university (e.g., to travel for work related purposes)
  • Study Abroad Travel: estimates of emission from air travel to and from study abroad locations
  • Solid Waste and Wastewater: emissions from the disposal of solid waste and wastewater
  • Paper Purchases: emissions from the production of paper used on campus
  • Transmission and Distribution Loses: estimated emissions associated with the loss of energy during the transmission and distribution processes
  • Fuel- and Energy-related Activities: additional emissions associated with upstream production and processing of fuel used on campus

Organizational Boundary

The organizational boundary used to report GHG emissions is the main campus, which includes:

  • Facilities managed by UW–Madison at the campus in Madison, WI,
  • Adjacent Lakeshore Nature Preserve and UW–Madison Arboretum.

These facilities encompass almost 25,000,000 square feet of building space and 2,200 acres of land and are utilized by over 43,000 students, 18,000 staff, and 2,000 faculty.

The organizational boundary for is based on operational control, meaning that it includes the facilities which are operated by UW–Madison and located on and adjacent to the main campus, including emissions from leased facilities where UW–Madison has control over space energy use.

Facilities and equipment that are joint or wholly funded by the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration but operated by UW–Madison (e.g., heating and cooling plants, capital project development and fleet vehicles) are currently included in the organizational boundary

UW Health, which owns and operates the hospital adjacent to the UW–Madison campus, is an independent and non-profit organization, receiving no non-grant state funding. As such, it is a separate organizational entity from the UW-System. Nevertheless, research and teaching buildings that some hospital staff utilize (but which are owned and operated by UW–Madison) are included within the organizational boundary.

Finally, Scope 2 emissions are estimated using a market-based approach including actual carbon emission intensities from UW–Madison’s electricity provider for the main campus, Madison Gas and Electric.