Sunday, January 13, 2008

Reposting Results from Fall's GHG Inventory Seminar

Greetings, GHG-Inventory-Minded Students-

Here at the start of Winter 2008 quarter - I'd like to repost the Wiki webpage where the data from the Fall ES692 Seminar Course "OU's Greenhouse Gas Inventory" are archived:

At this site you will find the results of teams of students in the following categories:





Population Data_ohioghgseminar


-- Dr. Kim Brown

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Green office

Here's a good article I just found on energy efficiency in the office. It has lots of stuff on Energy Star and how to reduce your computer's carbon footprint.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Air Travel Findings

After going through the flights for 1998 I was able to average the number of miles flown per flight (2478 mi). Using this number I estimated the number of miles flown for the remaining years based on the number of flights. Here were my findings:

Year .........No. Flights................Miles Flown

2000 2773

2001 3937

2002 3775

2003 4356

2004 4783

2005 4938

2006 4975


The University of New Hampshire (UNH) did not have access to the information that we did, and when they did their final report they did not include specific air travel numbers but came up with an estimation using a hypothetical scenario: If every faculty and staff member flew to Los Angeles, round trip, once a year.

I think that it is important that we take advantage of the data that we do have, albeit strenuous and stressful, to come up with more accurate estimates.

Data quality

I'm never sure how much estimating to do. This morning Ed Newman gave me tons of landfill trash projected from refuse contracts going back to 1973. The data points are for years the contracts were started, and do not include minor re-negotiations in the intervening years. For the Calculator I will place any missing years as the average of the years on either side. Landfill tonnage numbers since 2003 have been going up a lot, and Ed tells me that "around then" they started weighing the trash rather than estimating from volume.

There are dozens of different things that Campus Recycling collects and keeps out of the landfill (fluorescent bulbs, CFC gas, construction and development scrap, motor oil, toner cartridges, campus envelopes, etc) and they add more categories to that list each year. But what notes there are on quantities are in different units for each item (boxes of envelopes, crates of styrofoam, pickup trucks of reuseables) that I don't know how to convert to tons or cubic yards for comparison to trash. Ed showed me a conversion chart for items I'm willing to estimate. Still, data collection on that has been a lower priority than ITEM collection, and I'm missing data most years for everything not picked up by Athens Recycling. For the report I'll highlight a subset of years with relatively complete data and explain that there are probably similar numbers for other years. Doesn't change the Calculator tallies any, just how good we look.

Looking further into the calculator I found a column for Compost in the Offsets category! Compost just got much higher on my priority list, and will be a bigger part of my presentation.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Calculations on out of state commuting, and international student air miles

Matt - That is amazing. Good job!

RE: out of state students:
For states adjacent to Ohio, I think it is fair to assume these student will be driving back and forth. I would pick a major/central city in each state and estimate drive miles * the number of students from that state. Then apply the same assumption (4 trips home/year)

eg INDIANA = RT Indianapolis miles to Athens* 4*# of students from IN
PENN = RT Pittsburgh miles to Athens* 4* # students from PA
KY = RT Lexington miles to Athens* 4* # students from KY

RE: Foreign students.
My gut feeling here is that these international student numbers should be given to Samantha Williams from our class ( I am cc-ing her here.

We have a lot of students from Africa, East Asia, India [in addition to a lot of other places]. For many of these students - they come here and *might* be able to visit home once or twice during the course of their studies.

What I would recommend is to estimate that each international student will fly the equivalent of a RT to Paris every year. That will over estimate for some, and wildly underestimate for others (China, Japan, African continent, etc). It's a start.

Using this URL =
. . . ROUND TRIP Air Miles . . .
CMH - JFK = 962 miles (1548 km)
JFK = CDG (Paris) = 8060 miles (12980 km)

So these data would be plugged into the student air travel part of the Carbon Campus Calculator (via Samantha's section).

Just to be consistent I am going to paste this email into the blog, so that we can have a record of this collaboration.



> Hi Dr. Brown,
> I got the In-state stuff typed into a spreadsheet and calculated the
> distance that everyone(from Ohio) travels to get here based on 4 trips back
> and forth each year. I used GIS to estimate distance from the center of each
> county. The total came out to be over 16,000,000 miles!And that doesn't even
> count the 3,000 out-of-state and foreign students. Any ideas on how / if I should do
> those? The 1056 foreign students will be especially difficult because they're
> home countries are not given in this info.
> Thanks again for your help getting this info. It isn't what I had in
> mind when I volunteered to do the commuter mileage, but you were right, it is
> better than nothing.
> -Matt

Kim J. Brown, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
[ecophysiology & ecosystem function]
Dept. of Environmental and Plant Biology
Ohio University, Athens OH 45701

Lab =
Dept =

Dr. Brown's work this week on Commuter data

This week I was doing some work to assist Matt Alden in his project - estimating how many miles commuted by faculty/students/staff.

Matt's first (and most direct attempt) was to obtain records from Transportation services as to who has parking hang tags - this seemed to be the most direct way of learning who is driving to campus. Those data are only available as hardcopy data - about 18,000 pieces of paper - that no one has time to type in manually.

The next step was Matt talking to someone in Institutional Research to track down zip codes associated with each faculty/staff person. The idea was that Matt would use zip code data to estimate driving distance. They told Matt they don't have zip code data.

Wed 31 Oct I visited the Institutional Research office and they provided data from the OU factbook that has a distribution of #s of students from each county of Ohio. In addition there is a list of # of students from the other 49 states, as well as a tally of international students.

Fri 2 Nov I visited Carlotta Hensler ( in the Human Resources office to ask for fac/staff zip code data by year. She agreed that it would be a simple request and that these data would be provided by the HR analyst Steve Madden (
These data should be emailed on Monday 5 Nov. --KJB

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Update of the University Fleet

Marty Paulins at Parking Services sent 2 files, one with odometer readings and license plates, the other with make, model, year the vehicle was purchased by OU, cost, etc and license plate information. My idea was to cross reference the license plate information, calculate the average MPG of the vehicles, divide by vehicles and get a number for the calculator. I'm not sure why I thought it would be this easy, but regardless I was wrong. When I cross referenced the plate numbers, some cars from both sides are missing. I asked Marty about this and here is his response:

They were sold - as they age or departments decide to get rid of them -
they are transferred over to moving & storage services and sold at public

On the other email - LTD = Life to Date

On the other question - a department could purchase a vehicle in 1999 on
their own - the only thing we would do is do the yearly insurance and tag
requirments - Transportation Services would not see that vehicle again
because we are not a centralized fleet - the departments do not have to
bring their vehicles to our garage for maintenance (once again because we
are not a centralized fleet) - what probably happened in 2004 is they did
bring it to our garage for some reason, and then it would go into our
maintenance software - at that time the miles, etc would be entered into
our maintenance software.

I think the last one was term years - that should only pertain to leased
vehicles - number of years the vehicle was under lease.

Let me know if you need anything else - thanks - marty

In a nut shell, this means I have no way of knowing when cars were bought or sold without going through massive amounts of paper data. It also means that i have no way of even knowing if the information Marty gave me will provide accurate numbers. I am going to go through the data again to see if I can make any logical conclusions about miles traveled by the University Fleet per year.

See you all on Monday,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ping Energy

I was wondering if anybody could provide me with the kWh per month or year that Ping Center uses?

a plague on paper filing

I called Athens Hocking Recycling center a few days back and asked for garbage data. The lady who keeps those records is early morning shift, so I had to call back before 3:30pm. She explained that the data I wanted was somewhere in a waist-high stack of paper with the rest of their paper receipts, and that there were no computer records to access. She could maybe find some answers for me in 6 months or so.

Happliy most of what I needed was in another file Ed Newman sent me. It took some deciphering from pages of jumbled notes, but it was a Word document and therefor searchable. Nearly good to go now.