CARBON NEUTRALITY: achieving no net greenhouse (GHG)
emissions by both minimizing emissions though energy conservation measures and
renewable energy use and offsetting remaining emissions through the purchase and
retirement of carbon credits.
CARBON FOOTPRINT: the amount of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases associated with a particular activity, institution or
individual, often expressed as tons of carbon emitted annually.
GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG): the primary gases (both naturally
existing and human-made) that contribute to global warming by trapping more
energy in the earth`s atmosphere than would be present otherwise. GHGs include
carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and others.
GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY: an accounting of the amounts and
sources of emissions of GHGs attributed to the operations of an institution; an
inventory is a detailed means of determining one`s "carbon footprint." Major
on-campus emission sources are energy production, purchased electricity,
transportation, waste, agriculture and refrigerants.
OFFSETTING: use of market-based credits (e.g., from carbon
emitting facilities that have reduced their emissions) to counterbalance
emissions from another location. Offsets can be purchased for emissions that are
difficult to reduce such as those created by air travel.
SUSTAINABILITY (UNIVERSITY): process or management system
that helps to create a vibrant campus economy and high quality of life while
respecting the need to maintain natural resources and protect the environment.
(Vanderbilt University, 2007)
SUSTAINABILITY (SOCIETY): meeting the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.