Mitigating Climate Change 

Abatement Curve 2019

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In July 2014 Boston University reached its 2020 goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25%, six years ahead of schedule. We’ve cut our emissions in three ways:

  1. The electrical grid in the Northeast has become significantly greener as electrical generation moves from coal to natural gas and renewable energy grows as a percentage of production.
  2. We have converted to cleaner burning fuels for heating and cooling our buildings. In FY 2006 24% of our energy was generated by burning heating oil, now only 2% is.
  3. Most importantly, we’ve reduced our energy consumption.

According to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, since 2006 the greenhouse gas intensity of the electrical grid in Massachusetts has been reduced by 33%. This has contributed significantly, not only to Boston University’s greenhouse gas reductions, but to the greenhouse gas reductions for the Commonwealth as a whole. Much of these reductions are due to the transition from coal to natural gas for power generation in the region and from the growth of renewable energy production.

At its December 2017 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a bold Climate Action Plan to prepare the campuses for the impacts from climate change and sets a goal to reduce emissions from operations to net zero by 2040. The first major step to achieve this goal is BU Wind, a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to match this University’s electricity demand with 100% renewable energy. This project, when complete in 2020 will reduce the University’s emissions by 53%.