Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Managing Carbon in the Higher Education Sector

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I did a Google search in preparation for a class session on IS & Sustainability for university carbon management programs. The first few pages of hits contained some useful links to university-wide programs to assess and manage carbon emissions, all of which were located in the UK. Here are some examples, with snippets on data management:

University of Sterling (Scotland)

6.3 Data Management – measuring the difference, measuring the benefit 

Data on energy performance will be coordinated and collated annually by the University Energy Management Engineer and will include energy information on buildings, street lighting, and waste. A process for collating energy information on transport will also be implemented within two years. The project team will decide on how best to communicate important information on energy/ CO2 performance to the University community e.g. information on the success of energy specific campaigns. Information on energy performance will be communicated to staff and students on a regular (quarterly) basis using the CMP web page. Specific information resulting from, for example, the student inter-hall competition, will be communicated using a poster campaign in each Hall of Residence. 

Cranfield University (UK)

6.4. Data management 

The University intends to increase the number of smart meters to allow a better understanding of energy consumption in individual buildings and over time. The University Energy Manager will take responsibility for analysing and interpreting these data in order to monitor the success or otherwise of carbon saving projects; identify new opportunities; and provide clear feedback on energy performance to the Carbon Management Board and to the wider University. The data from these monitoring programmes will be available on the intranet for all staff and students. These will have the greatest impact if the data is available at a range of temporal resolutions to allow them to be compared on hourly, daily, monthly and annual timescales.

In fairness, numerous U.S. universities produce sustainability reports, including the University of Michigan. Perhaps it is the focus on carbon emissions that distinguishes the above (or perhaps my search terms, or perhaps other unknowns).



Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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