Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Annual inventory of the greenhouse gas footprint from buildings, operations, and travel.  The inventory tracks progress towards our goal of carbon neutrality - data is shared publicly here and via the Carbon Commitment for comparison with peer institutions.

Inventory Charts and Data

The GHG inventory is calculated using the SIMAP® calculator, which uses an accounting protocol based on the World Resources Institute GHG Protocol. The GHG Protocol is the world's most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standard and is used by campuses in the Carbon Commitment to ensure consistency and rigor in reporting.  Explore the data to see our progress to date. 

Depiction of the three types of greenhouse gases according to organizational responsibility for accounting.  Scope 1 direct emissions including energy produced and used by company vehicles and buildings are primary, scope 2 indirect emissions from purchased electricity are secondary, and over fifteen additional measurement areas such as upstream disposal of goods comprise tertiary or Scope 3 emissions.
Scopes allow institutions to measure greenhouse gases according to the level of direct control and oversight.  To learn more about scopes and accounting protocol visit the Greenhouse Gas Protocol FAQs on "what is the difference between direct and indirect emissions?"



Emissions are measured for the Ithaca campus only.  Emissions from various greenhouse gases are inventoried and translated into carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. The University uses the operational control approach. The Carbon Commitment requires a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory of the following emission sources:

  • Scope 1: On-site combustion of fossil fuels

  • Scope 2: Purchased electricity consumption

  • Scope 3: Institution-funded business air travel and student, faculty, and staff commuting

Additional Scope 3 Accounting

In 2016, Cornell adopted the use of an additional scope 3 inventory for the measurement of new, emerging, or additional areas of Scope 3 greenhouse gas measurement beyond the original baseline.  Currently the secondary inventory includes  methane leakage from natural gas use. View additional inventory on methane leakage from natural gas use,

Accessible Text Descriptions of GHG Inventory

Tabs by Year

2017 GHG Inventory

The fiscal year 2017 carbon footprint for the Ithaca Campus is 204,200 metric tons of CO2-equivalent (MTCO2e), a reduction of 114,800 MTCO2e from the 2008 baseline. This is equivalent to a 36% reduction in baseline emissions. 


This significant reduction is the result of many initiatives and the work of hundreds of people across campus to create a culture of sustainability. Some key initiatives include continued utilization of the combined heat and power plant, our Beyond Coal initiative (which eliminated coal as a fuel source used to heat and power the campus), the building energy conservation initiative, a significantly lower grid electric emission factor, and increased use of renewable energy.

2017 Data Table 

Table shows the change in emissions since Cornell's baseline GHG measurement year of 2008. All units: Metric Tons CO2 equivalent (MTCO2e).  Cornell measures on the fiscal year, July 1 to June 30th.




Change in Emissions

Co-gen steam



(2,400) not edited yet

Co-gen electricity




Other on-campus stationary




Fleet Vehicles




Purchased Electricity




Business Air Travel




Staff Commuting



 (114,800) decrease

Faculty Commuting



 (114,800) decrease

Student Commuting



 (114,800) decrease

Total Scope 1



 (114,800) decrease

Total Scope 2



 (114,800) decrease

Total Scope 3



 (114,800) decrease

Carbon Sinks



 (114,800) decrease

Net Emissions



 (114,800) decrease