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Climate & Energy

Looking west at the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences complex building with an orange and pink sunset.

The Sustainability Office completes a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory each year to track Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Scope 1
emissions

Produced directly by sources owned or controlled by an organization (natural gas boilers and diesel generators)

Scope 2 emissions

Produced indirectly by products or services purchased by an organization (electricity and district steam)

Scope 3 emissions

All other indirect emissions produced as a result of an organization's activities and operations (waste and business travel)

Annual GHG emissions inventory

The most recent GHG inventory, completed for the 2019/2020 academic year shows the following: 

  • Total GHG emissions (including all 3 scopes) for the 2019/2020 academic year was 16,057 tonnes CO2e, down 4.7% from the previous year. Note that this reduction may be attributed to the campus shutdown at the end of the winter 2020 semester as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Between 2014/2015 - 2019/2020, we’ve seen a 3.8% increase in Ryerson’s total GHG emission (including all 3 scopes).
Toronto skyline with dramatic grey clouds and a blue sky.

Ryerson’s annual GHG emissions trend

A stacked column graph showing Ryerson's greenhouse gas emissions trend from 2014-2020. Long description below.

This bar graph shows Ryerson's annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trend from 2014 to 2020 measured in tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

Scope 1
GHG Inventory Data
2014/
2015
2015/
2016
2016/
2017
2017/
2018
2018/
2019
2019/
2020
Diesel 8 11 2 9 11 18
Natural Gas 2,715 2,242 2,187 4,010 3,126 2,868
Scope 2
GHG Inventory Data
2014/
2015
2015/
2016
2016/
2017
2017/
2018
2018/
2019
2019/
2020
Electricity 2,417 2,469 2,339 1,159 1,857 1,872
Steam 9,357 8,053 7,775 8,650 8,983 8,699
Chilled Water 14 27 27 22 28 10
Scope 3
GHG Inventory Data
2014/
2015
2015/
2016
2016/
2017
2017/
2018
2018/
2019
2019/
2020
Business Air Travel 1,286 1,473 1,424 1,894 1,951 1,759
Business Travel (Mileage+Car Rental+Taxi) 328 438 489 615 582 502
Landfill 312 453 464 297 313 330
Commuting (Faculty/Staff/Students Estimates) 7,959 8,321 8,724 8,944 9,211 9,253

While over the past 5 years, many projects have been completed on campus to improve energy efficiency, reductions may have been offset by the addition of new buildings (e.g the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex (DCC) opened in August 2019) and our growing campus population. It is also important to note that our calculations did not take into account yearly GHG emissions fluctuations due to weather conditions.

This figure provides a breakdown of GHG emission sources on campus for the 2019/2020 fiscal year (excluding commuting-related emissions). As shown, steam and natural gas, which are used for heating buildings and water on campus, contribute significantly to our carbon footprint. As such, steam and natural gas consumption must be considered in our emissions reduction efforts.

The north side view of the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex framed by cherry trees.

GHG emission sources on campus - 2019/2020 fiscal year

Pie chart showing greenhouse gas emission sources on Ryerson campus 2019-2020. Long description below.

This chart compares the GHG emission sources on campus in the 2019/2020 fiscal year. 54% steam, 18% natural gas, 12% electricity, 11% business air travel, 3% business travel, 2% landfill.

GHG Emission Source on Campus Percentage of Total Emissions
Steam 54%
Electricity 12%
Natural gas 18%
Business air travel 11%
Business travel 3%
Landfill 2%

Green Will Initiative

In April 2020, Ryerson joined the Green Will Initiative, external link (GWI), a voluntary program of the City of Toronto that seeks to accelerate GHG emissions reduction in buildings across Toronto to achieve net-zero. Through its participation in the GWI, Ryerson has committed to working with the City to develop Pathway to Net Zero Plans that include establishing goals and actions to reduce the carbon footprint of its buildings. Since joining, Ryerson’s Sustainability Office has been an active member in the program and has been working with the City and other GWI members through its participation in collaborative meetings, knowledge sharing events and training.

Climate and Energy Working Group

In Fall 2020, the Sustainability Office established a Climate and Energy Working Group composed of staff, students and faculty. The goals of the working group are to develop institutional GHG emission reduction targets and a plan to achieve the recommended targets. The Working Group held its first meeting in November 2020 and has held bimonthly meetings thereafter.

UN Sustainable Development Goal related to these initiatives:

UN Sustainable Development Goals icon for climate action.