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Climate Action

The American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment

As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Bentley University has acknowledged that global warming is taking place on an unprecedented scale and the scientific consensus is that contemporary climate change is caused in large part by human activity.  The ACUPCC recognizes that institutions of higher education have a unique role in society as both role models in their communities and as hubs of research and innovation.  As such, Bentley and other signatory institutions are committed to achieving carbon neutrality on their campuses. 

Climate Action Plan

Bentley University has made a commitment to analyze its annual carbon footprint and to become carbon-neutral by the year 2030.  On January 15, 2010 Bentley finalized its Climate Action Plan, Bentley University: A Plan for Carbon Neutrality, which serves as a written roadmap to reach this carbon-neutrality goal with interim targets along the way. 

While ambitious, these targets are achievable. Bentley’s emissions reduction goals will be achieved via a multi-pronged approach which includes:

  • Implementing a building retro-commissioning and energy efficiency upgrade program;
  • Continuously upgrading building controls for more efficient operation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems;
  • Educating and engaging students, faculty, and staff in energy conservation and sustainability efforts; and
  • Purchasing renewable energy via Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

It is Bentley’s goal to examine campus operations and invest in making the university’s buildings and operations as energy efficient as possible.  The  purchase of RECs has allowed Bentley to effectively offset the remaining greenhouse gas emissions and invest in the U.S. renewable energy market. If you would like to learn more about Bentley's Carbon Footprint and RECs click here. 

What is a Carbon Footprint

“Carbon footprint” is another term for greenhouse gas inventory, which is the total amount of greenhouse gases produced to support human activities. It is the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions which were created as a result of an entity’s activities during a given time frame. Below are the principal greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere because of human activities. Click on each of them to find out more about where they come from and their impact on the environment.

When reporting a carbon footprint, the above-listed greenhouse gases are reported as metric tonnes of "carbon dioxide". The Greenhouse gases are converted using a conversion factor called a Global Warming Potential (GWP). A GWP is a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming.

Bentley’s carbon footprint accounts for greenhouse gas emissions from a number of different sources associated with the institution’s operations.  For the purposes of Sightlines' carbon footprint audit, these sources are categorized as "Scope 1", "Scope 2" and "Scope 3" emissions.  The World Resources Institute (WRI) defines Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in their Greenhouse Gas Protocol as the “direct” and “indirect” Greenhouse gas emissions from an institution’s operations.  Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions as defined by the WRI are detailed in the diagram below. Respectively, Bentley's scopes are explained in the pictures below.