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Institutions have mapped the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the activities of the university community as a key part of achieving their goal to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Two universities in Tampere in southern Finland have announced the completion of their carbon footprint calculation for the first time.
The carbon footprint accounts for all the emissions generated by the activities of Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences, including work-related travel, building maintenance and laboratory activities.
Both institutions are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and identification of their carbon emission sources is an important step towards achieving this goal.
The overall carbon footprint of the universities is 29,000 tCO2eqv (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents). Tampere University’s share is approximately 25,000 tons. In 2019, the largest sources of carbon dioxide emissions were travel (41 per cent), buildings (27 per cent) and research infrastructures (23 per cent).
Heating accounts for the majority of building-related carbon emissions, although a significant share of district heating in Tampere is already produced using renewable energy sources and their share continues to climb.
The carbon footprint was calculated by the multidisciplinary Carbon Group made up of representatives of both Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences (Tamk).
“The calculation of our carbon footprint marks an important milestone in our journey towards a more sustainable university community and carbon neutrality,” said Kirsi Viskari, vice president of Tamk, who co-chairs the Carbon Group with Marja Sutela.
“When we consider potential measures to reduce emissions, it is also important to take into account the positive impacts of our activities.”
Work-related travel and buildings generate the majority of emissions at both Tampere University and Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
“The calculation of our carbon footprint marks an important milestone in our journey towards a more sustainable university community and carbon neutrality”
At Tampere University, the share of emissions from travel (42 per cent) exceeds that of Tampere University of Applied Sciences, where work-related travel accounts for 34 per cent of the carbon footprint. At Tamk, the share of building-related emissions exceeds that of Tampere University (Tamk 43 per cent; Tampere University 25 per cent).
The differences are attributed, among other things, to the number of properties and staffing levels at the institutions.
The Tampere universities are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Achieving this goal requires a substantial reduction of carbon emissions. Accordingly, the universities intend to prepare a roadmap that outlines the steps to be taken towards carbon neutrality.
The process will begin this spring by identifying ways for the community to cut emissions without it affecting education, research and societal impact and thereby promoting sustainable development. In addition, we will map out suitable measures for offsetting carbon emissions and fostering a culture of sustainability across the Tampere Universities community
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