Group 3: Net-Zero Scope 3

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Scope 3

What is scope three?

  • Business Travel (Plane & Car; Foreign & Domestic)
  • Commuting
  • Construction
  • Waste Management
  • Water Treatment
  • Paper Use
  • Any carbon a third party emits as a direct result of Rubenstein

General Info

  • Below is a link to the first Scope 3 group's presentation (includes discussions and results of the semester's work, also mentioned below):
  • Below is a link to the online calculator the first Scope 3 group used to calculate carbon emissions from personal vehicle commuting:
  • Below is a link to the EPA's conversion factor for metric tons of CO2 emitted into kWh. For reference, the factor used was 7.07 x 10^-4 metric ton CO2 per kWh
  • For more reference, converting kWh into kW (the unit of energy produced by solar technology) is accomplished by dividing kWh by the number of hours in a year. For the purpose of our work, we used 31 weeks (5208 hours) because that is the amount of weeks that comprise the fall and the spring semester. We decided that because of the lack of data for the summer and break periods, we would not count those times in our overall calculations. We also discluded weekends because the majority of responses indicated that they did not commute to UVM on weekends.
  • According to the Solar Energy Group of Spring 2019, we had 59.71 kW of solar energy available in excess to offset Scope 3

Survey for Scope 3

Net-Zero: Undergraduate Emissions Survey

Survey Quantifying Scope 3 (Indirect Emissions) for Rubenstein Graduate, Faculty and Staff

  • These surveys are currently active
  • Jake Gess is the current Owner of the surveys, but he can assign future individuals as Administrators to access the survey and its data/results, please email him at in order for that to occur
    • TIP: You can view statistics of the data on LimeSurvey very easily, however, if you want to get the full range of results, you can download the data as an excel sheet (which is highly recommended)

Enhancing Business Travel Filing

Currently the only way to get accurate data is through the UVM system that files for the expenses covered for airfare and car rental, however to actually get mileage to figure out carbon emission is inredibly difficult, therefore the filing system must be improved to accomodate for Scope 3 emissions. We have emailed the dean of Rubenstein, Nancy Matthews, and she was willing to work with future Scope 3 groups on this issue.

  • Shown below is the email chain
    • What we sent: "Hello, We are undergraduate students working with professor Gary Hawley trying to bring the Rubenstein School to Net Zero energy consumption. One of many parts to this process is quantifying something called scope three emissions. Scope three emissions include indirect energy use by the college. In particular, we were hoping to be able to quantify carbon emissions from commuting, as well as faculty and staff business travel. We would like to thank Kathleen Wells for meeting with us earlier this semester, and walking us through how the Purcard data is currently organized through PeopleSoft. After reviewing the data, we realized that the way the system is currently organized, based off of monetary transactions instead of individual air flights, bus trips, etc., would be an insurmountable task. In 2007, UVM committed to the Climate Action Plan, an ambitious undertaking, whose deadlines are approaching as soon as 2020. In order to meet the 2025 goal of 100% renewable energy, the data for business travel, food and water waste, etc., needs to be made more accessible. Currently the Purcard information is split into accounts individually, and organized based on cost. When we were looking at travel, we found it difficult to differentiate costs (such as luggage and other expenses) from plane tickets. Additionally, it was difficult and time consuming to try to access information like miles traveled and to where. The accuracy and scope of our data, and that of future groups working on this continuous project, is critical if we hope to meet our climate commitments. We hope that there is a simpler way to make this data more accessible to future students. A potential solution could be to mandate that faculty/staff record specific mileage of individual travel that is not simply based off the receipt from the different transactions. Thank you for considering our suggestions, we look forward to hearing from you. Best, Siobhan Stimpson, Jake Gess, and Matt Rourke"
    • Response from Dean Matthews: "Dear Siobhan, Jake and Matt, Thank you very much for your email and I wanted to congratulate you on your presentation tonight. You did a great job presenting difficult data and problem solving to suggest alternatives that would make it more straight forward to calculate carbon production from air travel. I will follow up with our business services team to explore ways that we might collect data - possibly determine a sampling scheme that captures the variability of the travelers. Perhaps one of the next classes could pick up where you left off and help us refine the system. Thank you again for your hard work and for reaching out with a suggestion for us to consider. Best, Nancy"


Commuting Data:

  • Undergraduate commuting
    • 19 metric tons of CO2 emitted per year
    • 5 kW to offset
  • Graduate commuting
    • 15 metric tons of CO2 emitted per year
    • 4 kW to offset
  • Faculty & Staff commuting
    • 106 metric tons of CO2 emitted per year
    • 29 kW to offset

Exact total to offset: 38.017 kW

Previous vehicle data for Net-Zero energy audit: Vehicle energy Audit