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Journal of Energy in Southern Africa

On-line version ISSN 2413-3051
Print version ISSN 1021-447X

J. energy South. Afr. vol.22 n.2 Cape Town  2011


Carbon footprint of the University of Cape Town



Thapelo C M LeteteI; Nothando Wandile MungweII; Mondli GumaI; Andrew MarquardI

IEnergy Research Centre, University of Cape Town
IIAnglo Coal Global, Johannesburg




Since signing the Talloires Declaration in 1990, the University of Cape Town (UCT) has been striving to set an example of environmental responsibility by establishing environmentally sound policies and practices, and by developing curricula and research initiatives to support an environmentally sustainable future. One of the most recent efforts in this quest was the release of a Green Campus Action Plan for the University of Cape Town by the Properties and Services Department in 2008. While the Plan proposed a number of carbon emission mitigation interventions for the University, it also stressed the need to conduct a detailed and comprehensive carbon footprint analysis for the whole University.
The aim of this analysis was to determine the carbon footprint of UCT, not only to give a tangible number with which the University's carbon sustainability level can be compared with other academic institutions, but also to provide the much needed baseline against which future mitigation efforts on the university campus can be measured.
UCT's carbon footprint for the year 2007 was found to be about 83 400 tons CO2-eq, with campus energy consumption, Transportation and Goods and Services contributing about 81%, 18% and 1% the footprint respectively. Electricity consumption alone contributes about 80% of all the emissions associated with university activities. UCT's per-capita emissions for 2007 amount to about 4.0 tons CO2-eq emissions per student. For comparison only, South Africa's 2007 per capita emissions were estimated at 10.4 tons CO2-eq.
In terms of energy consumption only, UCT's footprint is about 3.2 tons CO2-eq per student, higher than the National University of Lesotho's value of 0.1 and much lower than Massachusetts Institute of Technology's value of 33.1.

Keywords: greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint, University of Cape Town



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