The University of Twente strives to be CO2 neutral by 2030 and realise a 15% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2023 compared to 2020. Every year since 2014, the UT publishes a carbon footprint report. You can find the most recent report here, older reports can be found at the bottom of this page.
The CO2 footprint calculates the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the University’s activities as well as from the products and services it acquires. UT has been calculating its CO2 footprint since 2014 according to the greenhouse gas protocol which divides the emissions into three scopes, depending on the origin of the emissions. Part of the information the GHG protocol requires UT to record is published here in order to keep the CO2 report concise and readable for a broad audience.
Factors influencing the CO2 footprint
While the University of Twente's CO2-emissions fell from 28 Kton in 2019 to 19 Kton in 2020, this is not a representative footprint as the COVID measures affected the regular activities on and off campus. For example, after March 2020, fewer people commuted to work for the rest of the year and barely any work related flights were taken. This also skews the percentages of emissions compared to earlier years: for example, total electricity consumption has decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 but the percentage of electricity of the total CO2 footprint is 63% for 2020, compared to 52% for 2019.
The number of buildings in use, as a consequence of increased student and staff numbers, affects the demand for electricity, heating, cooling as well as air humidification in labs. In the first weeks of the COVID pandemic the building regulation systems were shut off but quite quickly the advice came to increase air ventilation leading to increased electricity consumption. Safety comes first.
Mobility’s share of the CO2 footprint is 15% of which 12% is commuting. The number of students and staff and the way they travel has an impact on the contribution of commuting to the CO2 footprint. The mode of travel for work trips, especially flying, normally has a large impact on the CO2 footprint, but in 2020 this was just 3%.
The percentage of the indirect CO2 emissions resulting from products and services obtained from external companies (Scope 3 emissions) has increased in 2020. This does not mean these companies have polluted more, but rather that more information has become available to use in the calculations. It is our aim to continue to obtain more and more detailed information from our contractors, even if this means the total CO2 footprint of the UT increases. Insight into the impact of all activities in UT is essential in order to take the right decisions to reduce this impact.
The CO2 footprint is divided into three scopes. This is related to the direct and indirect emissions of greenhouse gasses as a result of activities at UT.
Scope 1 2020
Scope 1: Direct emissions – These are GHG emissions due to gas consumption for air humidification and heating, fuel consumption of vehicles owned by UT and the refilling of air conditioning systems with refrigerants.
Scope 2 2020
Scope 2: Indirect emissions – These are GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity and district heating which is consumed by UT.
Scope 3 2020
Scope 3: Indirect emissions – These are GHG emissions which are indirectly emitted due to activities by UT. This includes work travel, commuting, waste, emissions of products and services bought as well as waste produced.