Posted on September 18, 2017

A team from the Environment and Sustainability Section at Qatar University’s (QU) Facilities and General Services Department has calculated the QU’s carbon footprint, covering the period from 2013 to 2015, as part of the University’s Sustainability Initiative, a strategic commitment to environmental sustainability through research, teaching, and operational activities.

The team included QU Environmental and Sustainability Specialist Eng Mays Abdalla and student from QU College of Arts and Sciences Khan Mohammed Sazzadur Rahman. It is led by QU’s Facilities and General Services Department Environmental and Sustainability Specialist Eng Husameldin Talballa. The collection of data on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on campus aims to calculate QU’s carbon footprint. It is crucial to set reduction goals and make the University more sustainable.

To define the campus carbon footprint, the team followed the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (2004) guidelines that provide standards and guidance for companies and organizations to prepare a GHG emissions inventory. It includes accounting and reporting of the six types of greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).  The amount of gases emitted was reported in carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which is the standard unit for measuring carbon footprints.

The results revealed that the average amount of emissions per person (staff and students) on QU campus was 3.33 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2015, while the total campus carbon footprint was 63732.98 metric tons of CO2e over the same time period.Eng Husameldin Talballa noted that 2015 values provide the baseline for developing sound strategies, programs and projects, and that QU is the first university in the GCC region to measure its campus carbon footprint as an operational exercise. He added that this should be followed with creating QU sustainability network, with the aim of building an expertise base that will exchange ideas on issues related to carbon emissions, and raise awareness on the importance of adopting more sustainable practices both on and outside the campus. He also noted that the team followed the internationally recognized Campus Carbon Calculator™ guide, issued by the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).

He added: “The approach defines three levels of responsibility for emissions, and suggests that an entity’s responsibility for emissions is directly related to its control over, or ownership of, the sources of those emissions. This includes accounting for direct emissions from sources that are owned and/or controlled by the institution, indirect emissions from sources that are neither owned nor operated by the institution but whose products are directly linked to on-campus energy consumption, and other emissions attributed to the institution, deemed "optional" emissions by corporate inventories.”

QU’s Facilities and General Services Department Director Eng Mohsin Al-Hajri noted that QU Campus Carbon Footprint analysis for 2013-2015 will serve to develop and implement a Climate Management Plan to reduce on-campus carbon emissions. He said: “QU continues to be a key partner in promoting sustainable development in Qatar, keeping with national development strategies to increase awareness of the need to protect Qatar’s natural environment, and its importance for the country’s growth and development.”