Fighting climate change
After years of sustained collective effort, Université Laval has achieved carbon neutrality by massively reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the source and using carbon credits to offset the rest.
A leader in sustainable development, Université Laval is the first university in Québec to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to zero, and the first in Canada to do so in the absence of any legal imperative.
|Indicator||Net tons of direct GHG emissions (in equivalent tons of CO2)|
|Target||Attain and maintain carbon neutrality for the campus’s net direct emissions|
|Result as of April 30, 2017||Université Laval is carbon-neutral with net-0 category 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions since 2014-2015|
|Key action||Campus carbon neutrality|
|How to get involved||Offset GHG emissions through the University’s voluntary offset program|
As a centre for education and research, it is incumbent upon Université Laval to meet the great challenges of our society, including climate change. The university has designed a GHG-reduction strategy with various orientations that include measuring, reducing and off-setting emissions and educating and raising awareness with respect to what is at stake.
The Plan to Fight Climate Change (PDF | version française) is part of a larger project to become a model in the area of sustainable development. By becoming a carbon-neutral campus, Université Laval wishes to inspire other organizations and communities to follow in its footsteps, while adapting the UL model to their situation. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
|in tons of CO2 equivalent|
|Scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions in 2015-2016||27,670|
Minus: Montmorency forest carbon sink
Minus: Séminaire de Québec carbon sink
Minus: purchase of carbon credits from partners
|NET scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions||0|
|What is carbon neutrality?|
|Carbon neutrality is achieved when scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions are countered equally by emission reduction efforts and emission offsetting initiatives. As a result, there is no impact on climate, since the emissions are considered neutral (net zero carbon footprint).|
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Université Laval has adopted a vision and an action plan and has implemented the Measure – Reduce – Offset process.
Emissions are divided into three categories according to the Université Laval Greenhouse Gas Protocol. An assessment of scope scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions is achieved on an annual basis and a complete assessment of all emissions every three years.
Over the years, a number of initiatives have been implemented, including the optimization of heating equipment and networks, the addition of an electric boiler heating system, the installation of the Colosse supercomputer and the completion of energy efficiency work on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in more than ten buildings.
To offset the scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions that it is unable to reduce, Université Laval can among others relies on its carbon sinks. In order to achieve campus carbon neutrality, Université Laval purchase carbon credits funded by the savings from its budgetary envelope for energy due to energy efficiency measures developed. The university plans to progressively diminish its need for carbon credits.
Why seek to achieve carbon neutrality?
- To provide a concrete solution to the problem of climate change;
- To stimulate the search for viable solutions in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on an ongoing basis;
- To take a major step toward efficient management of carbon emissions;
- To promote the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in the fight against climate change;
- To provide leadership on climate change and to be an inspiring model for other organizations.