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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 50.89
Liaison Nicholas Kordesch
Submission Date Feb. 15, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

San Francisco State University
OP-1: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 5.62 / 10.00 Nick Kordesch
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability

Criteria

Part 1

Institution has conducted a publicly available greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory that includes, at minimum, Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions and may also include Scope 3 GHG emissions.

The inventory may also be verified by an independent, external third party and/or validated internally by campus personnel who are independent of the GHG accounting and reporting process.

Part 2

Institution reduced its adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user compared to a baseline.

Part 3

Institution’s annual adjusted net Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions are less than the minimum performance threshold of 0.02 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) per gross square foot (0.215 MtCO2e per gross square metre) of floor area.

Performance for Part 3 of this credit is assessed using EUI-adjusted floor area, a figure that accounts for significant differences in energy use intensity (EUI) between types of building space (see G. Standards and Terms).

For this credit, the following carbon offsets may be counted:

  • Third-party verified purchased carbon offsets
  • Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets (popularly known as “local offsets”)
  • Carbon sequestration due to land that the institution manages specifically for sequestration (as documented in policies, land management plans or the equivalent)
  • Carbon storage from on-site composting

Purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or Guarantees of Origin (GOs) may not be counted as carbon offsets. Emissions reductions attributable to RECs and GOs that are either Green-e Energy certified or meet Green-e Energy’s technical requirements and are verified as such by a third party are reported separately (see E. Reporting Fields). Purchased carbon offsets and RECs/GOs that have not been third-party verified do not count.

Institution-catalyzed offsets, on-site composting, and carbon sequestration projects (on and off campus) that are to be counted as offsets must be third party verified or, at minimum, quantified using a method that addresses all of the following accounting issues:

  • Selection of a baseline scenario (i.e. what would have happened in the absence of the project?);
  • Demonstration of additionality (i.e. the project has resulted in emission reductions or removals in addition to what would have happened in the absence of the project);
  • Identification and quantification of relevant secondary effects (i.e. small, unintended GHG consequences of a project, include leakage and changes in GHG emissions up- and downstream of the project);
  • Consideration of reversibility (i.e. assessing the risk of reversibility, together with any mitigation or compensation measures included in the project design);                
  • Avoidance of double-counting (i.e. the reductions giving rise to the offset must occur at sources or sinks not included in the target or cap for which the offset is used).

Institutions that have sold or transferred emissions reductions, e.g. in the form of verified emissions reductions (VERs), may not count those reductions toward this credit. Those transactions are reported separately and net GHG emissions are automatically adjusted upward to reflect the sale or transfer of any institution-generated offsets that have been included as carbon offsets (see D. Scoring).


Applicability

This credit applies to all institutions.


Scoring

Each part is scored independently. Points earned are calculated according to the formulas below. Please note that users do not have to calculate the number of points earned themselves; points will be calculated automatically when the data listed under E. Reporting Fields is entered in the online Reporting Tool.

Scoring for Part 2 and Part 3 of this credit are based on adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, a measure of an institution’s overall climate impact (emissions minus carbon offsets generated and emissions reductions from REC/GO purchases). STARS calculates the figure according to the following formula:

Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions = { [A + (B – C) ] – (D + E+ F+ G - H) }

A = Gross Scope 1 GHG emissions (MtCO2e)

B = Gross Scope 2 GHG emissions (MtCO2e)

C = Emissions reductions from REC/GO purchases (MtCO2e)

D = Institution-catalyzed carbon offsets generated (MtCO2e)

E = Carbon sequestration (MtCO2e)

F = Carbon storage from on-site composting (MtCO2e)

G =  Third-party verified carbon offsets purchased (MtCO2e)

H = Carbon offsets for which emissions reductions have been sold or transferred (MtCO2e)

Part 1

An institution earns the maximum of 2 points available for Part 1 of this credit when its publicly available GHG emissions inventory has been validated or verified (internally or by a third party), covers all Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions, and includes emissions from six categories of Scope 3 GHG emissions Partial points are available based on the categories of emissions included in the inventory and whether or not the inventory has been verified. points are awarded as follows:

 

Components of the GHG Inventory

Points available

Points earned

Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions

 1.0

 

Scope 3 GHG emissions from:

  • Business travel
  • Commuting
  • Purchased goods and services
  • Capital goods
  • Fuel- and energy-related activities
  • Waste generated in operations
  • Other sources
 0.083 each

Up to 0.5

Validation or verification (internal and/or third party)

 0.05

 

Total points earned for Part 1 ->

Up to 2

Part 2

Institutions earn the maximum of 4 points available for Part 2 of this credit by achieving zero adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions. Incremental points are awarded for reducing adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions per weighted campus user compared to a baseline. For example, an institution that reduced its adjusted net GHG emissions per weighted campus user by 50 percent would earn 2 points (half of the points available for Part 2).

STARS awards only positive points; points will not be deducted if adjusted net GHG emissions per weighted campus user increased rather than decreased during the time period. Points for Part 2 of this credit are earned according to the following formula:

Points Earned = 4 × { [ (A/B) - (C/D) ] / (A/B) }

A = Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, baseline year (MtCO2e)

B = Weighted campus users,baseline year

C = Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, performance year (MtCO2e)

D = Weighted campus users, performance year

Part 3

Institutions earn the maximum of 4 points available for Part 3 of this credit by achieving zero adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions. Incremental points are awarded based on an institution’s performance between the minimum performance threshold of 0.02 MtCO2e per gross square foot (0.215 MtCO2e per gross square metre) of floor area and zero. For example, an institution with annual adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions of 0.01 MtCO2e per gross square foot of floor area would earn 2 points (half of the points available for Part 3).

Scoring for Part 3 of this credit is based on an EUI-adjusted floor area figure that accounts for significant differences in energy use intensity (EUI) between types of building space. Points for Part 3 of this credit are earned according to the following formula: 

Points Earned = 4 × { [ A - (B/C) ] / A}

A = Minimum performance threshold (MtCO2e per gross square foot/metre)

B = Adjusted net Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions, performance year (MtCO2e)

C = EUI-adjusted floor area, performance year (square feet/metres)


Measurement

Timeframe

Performance Year

Report the most recent data available from the three years prior to the anticipated date of submission. Institutions may use the most recent single year for which data is available or an average from throughout the period. Institutions may choose the annual start and end dates that work best with the data they have (e.g. fiscal or calendar year), as long as data are reported from a consecutive 12-month (or 3-year) period.

Report building space and population figures from the same time period as that from which GHG emissions data are drawn (e.g. the consecutive 12-month or 3-year period that most closely overlaps with the emissions performance period). Institutions may report building space using an average from throughout the period or a snapshot at a single representative point during the period.

Baseline Year

Report data from the baseline year, which may be:

  • Any year from 2005 to the present
  • A baseline year, 1990 to 2004, that the institution has adopted as part of its sustainability plans or policies or in the context of other reporting obligations 

Recommended best practices for defining a baseline include:

  • Using the average of three consecutive years to reduce the impact of outliers.
  • Using the same baseline year for multiple credits to reduce reporting requirements. For example, institutions using 2005 for all STARS credits that are baseline-based would only have to calculate baseline weighted campus user data once.
  • Ensuring that baseline and performance year data are valid and reliable (e.g. that the data were gathered in the same manner).

Institutions without valid and reliable historical data should use performance year data for both the baseline and performance year. Following this approach, an institution would not be able to claim points for reductions during its first STARS submission, but would be able to use its newly established baseline for subsequent submissions. Institutions without valid and reliable historical data should use performance year data for both the baseline and performance year.

Institutions may choose the start and end dates that work best with the data they have (e.g. fiscal or calendar year), as long as data are reported from a consecutive 12-month (or 3-year) period.

Report building space and population figures from the same period as that from which GHG emissions data are drawn (e.g. the consecutive 12-month or 3-year period that most closely overlaps with the emissions baseline period). Institutions may report building space using an average from throughout the period or a snapshot at a single representative point during the period. 

Sampling and Data Standards

To conduct a GHG emissions inventory, campuses may use the Campus Carbon Calculator/CarbonMAP, the Scope 3 Evaluator tool, and/or any methodology or calculator that is consistent with the World Resources Institute (WRI) Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard and the Scope 3 calculation guidance provided by WRI.

To account for Institution-catalyzed offsets, on-site composting, and carbon sequestration projects, institutions may pursue third party verification or else use a credible methodology that addresses all of the accounting issues outlined in B. Criteria. Examples include:

Reductions should only be counted as offsets once, i.e. toward no more than one of the offset categories outlined in the credit criteria.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.