Thursday, July 26, 2007

Amy Found Her Notes!!

Ok, so what follows is my attempt at communicating my GHG data checking so far:

A few weeks ago I started fact checking the data Ron had already input into the CACP v.4 calculator. I worked on the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant and the stationary sources on campus sections. I found the following errors:

1.) Data for Natural Gas from the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant was only available for years 99-00 through 04-05. I used the Laushce Steam Production Costs chart that Ron gave me to verify this data. The first problem is that all data from this chart for natural gas was reported in units of MCF, but the v.4 calculator calls for naural gas to be reported in MMBtu. Data from the steam production chart for years 04-05, 02-03, and 00-01 matched the calculator data, though these numbers may need to be converted because they are apparently still in MCF. Data from the steam production chart for 03-04, 01-02, and 99-00 did not match the calculator data, however, and were reported as 236,855 MCF, 78,885 MCF, and 232,523 MCF, respectively on the steam production chart. Again, these are only the MCF values from the steam production charts, and those values in the calculator may be correct MMBtu values, but since I don't have MMBtu values or converstion factors, I'm providing this info for what it's worth. Regardless, at least half of the values for natural gas in the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant will need to be fixed because as of now they do not all reflect the values, converted to the correct units, that are available on the steam production charts.

2.) For the tons of coal used in the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant, I found only one error. For the years 99-00, the tons of coal burned was 20,844 instead of 18,988, according to the Lausche Steam Production Costs chart.

3.) I could only find steam output data for the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant beginning with 99-00 and ending with 04-05, though Ron has reported other data on the v.4 calculator (where did this other data come from? it will still need to be verified). For the steam output data that was available, it was reported in pounds on the steam production chart and then converted to MMBtu (which the v.4 calculator calls for) by dividing by 1,000. Assuming this is the correct way to convert data from LBS to MMBtu, this data from 1999 through 2005 for steam input from the On-Campus Cogeneration Plant is correct.

4.) I could only find natural gas data for stationary on-campus sources beginning with 1991 and continuing through 1999, though Ron had reported data for other years on the v.4 calculator (again, where did this come from and it will need verification). For the natural gas data that was available, it was reported as CCF on the "General Fund and Dorm Fund" sheet that came from Bruce M, Ron's predecessor. The v.4 calculator required the data to be in MMBtu, and the data was divided by 10 to make this conversion. Assuming this is the correct way to convert CCF to MMBtu, this data from 1991 through 1999 for natural gas from the on-campus stationary sources is correct.

Ok, so that was my best shot at converting my color-coded notes and scribbles into words. Hopefully it's clear enough for someone to pick up from- I will leave my original notes in the yellow folder in the Office of Sustainability along with all the data sheets Ron has given us. For any questions, I am available by email at

I'm not sure how much more I'll be working on the GHG inventory, as I will only be working in the Office of Sustainability for a few more weeks. At any rate, I'm working on a press release about the inventory and the new Presidents Climate Commitment website ( is now live- be sure to check it out and send me any comments. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Amy's Notes are MIA

So I was going to post my notes on here from the information checking I did a few weeks ago, but seem to have misplaced them for the time being. I was working to confirm the data in the "On-Campus Cogeneration Plant" and the "Stationary Sources" sections of the version 4 CACP calculator. For the most part, I think the discrepancies I caught were reasonably well covered by Sonia's meeting notes from the 11th. If I find my notes I'll be sure to put them on here!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Meeting with Ron-April Henderson

Today I had a meeting with Ron about the next steps involved in extracting the budget information. Our main contact woman about the budget numbers is April Henderson. Ron did get ahold of her today during our meeting, however, with final closing approaching, she may be too busy to extract the necessary data for our inventory. That being stated, a second option will be to research the budget question at the archives section in Alden Library on the fifth floor. If it is necessary for me to do this, then I will see what budget numbers are available to provide a broad brush stroke of the numbers required for the budget subsection. After discussing this, I asked Ron what should be my next step in this inventory as a means to focus my energy. I told him that I was interested in collecting data relating to agriculture and I will be looking into the issues regarding agriculture as soon as I close the data collection on the budget.

Budget/Faculty-Staff Compensation and General Operating FTE Budget - This site shows the data for the changes in budget and faculty-staff compensation operating funds from 1977-2007. This site shows a General Operating FTE Budget for staff of the Athens campus.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Correlation between Budget and the Greenhouse Gas Inventory

In response to Sonia's question about the correlation between Ohio University's budget and the actual Greenhouse Gas Inventory, I contacted Jennifer Schroeder, Campus Program Officer at Clean Air-Cool Planet and with a prompt reply she said this:

"That budget information is really just a way to provide you for
different normalizing factors, ways to look at your carbon intensity.
So everything you collect in the section of demographic information
(budget, building square footage, population) allows you to see if there
are correlative factors for your emissions data: emissions per building
square foot, emissions per student, emissions per energy dollar, etc.
None of that data is absolutely necessary, it is just to provide

As for research dollars (and research square footage), the assumption is
that the more research-oriented you are, the more energy intensive labs,
equipment, etc. that you will be running. Operating dollar, similar
philosophy: it's interesting to track whether a bigger budget translates
to more or fewer emissions on your campus.

Again, what data you collect in this section is discretionary - just
gather whatever is most useful for your own campus.
Hope this helps.

This seems to solve the question as not only does this financial information provides us with a context within to work, but also to see if there is correlation between high research dollars and high carbon emissions, etc. I will contact Ron in the near future about our other budgets required for the greenhouse gas inventory.

Data should be based on fiscal years

This is just a note to say that according to Jennifer Schroeder, program officer and webmaster for Clean Air-Cool Planet, the majority of colleges collect data based on fiscal years. I am posting this as a separate post because I think it is relevant to categories for which information included in previous posts about this issue is not.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Notes: Meeting, July 18 '07

Meeting Notes

July 18, 2007

In attendance:
Sonia Marcus
Ron Chapman
Jarrod Pollard
Laura Allen
Amanda Annis
Kim Brown

  • Jarrod's update: hasn't been working in the office this past week. Had issues posting to the blog because he couldn't remember his user name.
  • On the budget issues, Ron talked to Julie about archival data. She said OU posts financial statements on the web. They're on there now, but the links aren't active. Sonia said she thinks that's due to the fact that they've just overhauled their site. Someone should let them know that the links aren't active.
  • Julie said that April Henderson is the person to contact directly for archival budget info.
  • Question: Is same info available for branch campuses? Not clear yet. Ron will floow up with Julie.
  • Kim says that individual colleges have hard copy reports of budgets filed at Alden. April has these too in her office, acc to Ron.
  • Laura's update: didn't get a task from Ron this past week, but is planning to work on the square footage data once Ron shows it to her. Note that square footage data will need to be compared back to figures from institutional research. Ron has those figures.
  • Kim's update: Fred Kight would like her to come to WOUB News Watch to talk about the EEC's role in the President's Climate Commitment. She will discuss what this group has been up to so far.
  • Kim also met with the CEO of the Chicago Climate Exchange last week because they are looking for a forestry person. She said that a number of colleges and universities including Michigan State have joined the CCX, and that we might want to consider that. Sonia and Ron shared some info about past discussions that have taken place at OU regarding that. One benefit of joining that Kim pointed out was the possibility of selling offset credits at the CCX if we are able to reduce our own GHG emissions past the 6% (per year) required. Could be an additional incentive to do forestry projects, for example. However, we could not then count those as our own offsets if we were to sell them off. Can't do both.
  • The Russ College has appointed Kevin Crist as the representative of the college to the PCC sub-committee of the EEC. Kevin has expressed interest over the years in having OU join the CCX.
  • Amy wasn't present, but Ron updated us on some of her findings and progress (posted on the blog! Go Amy!): All the data we use for the spreadsheet should be in fiscal years, acc to CA-CP. That makes it easier for us. Also, they were able to clarify what they mean by "efficiency". In house use of steam is included. Again, that makes things easier.
  • Ron pointed out that industry efficiency standards are 80% for overall steam efficiency and 35% for produced electricity.
  • Sonia's update: Sorry about not posting last week's meeting notes yet. Will be more prompt in the future. Sonia is meeting with Bruce Nottke and Marty Paulins, the new hires in the Transportation & Parking department on Monday to discuss sustainability issues. Amanda will be there too to talk to them about our data needs for the GHG emissions inventory.
  • Amanda would like to investigate GHG data as concerns the airport and air travel. Amanda and Ron will meet in the next few days to discuss those data needs. Then Amanda will get in touch with the appropriate contact person there.
  • Ron pointed out that getting independent travel info that will be useful to our inventory is going to be VERY DIFFICULT. We instituted use of the Oracle system 2 years ago, so that data is searchable, but everything before that is in hard copy. Also, Oracle just gives you dollar values for travel, and nothing like miles traveled or destination. That might be added to the form in the future but we still won't know for all past travel.
  • Kim suggested that it might be interesting to do a regression analysis to figure out whether there would be a reliable conversion factor for dollars to GHG emissions. Perhaps that could be a project in the fall seminar.
  • VP Bill Decatur recently required all departments under his command to submit travel plans for the upcoming year in advance. That has specific destination info in it. Maybe the other VP's have made similar moves? Worth asking.
  • We should also ask the CA-CP people whether other schools have tried to determine a conversion factor for $$ to GHG emissions for travel.
  • Sonia let the group know that there was a possible summit of IUC schools in the works for October here at OU to discuss implementation of house bill 251. More on that soon. Also, Sonia will be meeting with the sustainability coordinators at Oberlin and OSU (and possibly Miami) on July 30th to touch base.
  • Kim suggested that we include University of Cincinnati and figure out what they're up to and how they are approaching the PCC there.


Notes: Meeting, July 11 '07

Again, I apologize for being tardy in getting these posted!

Meeting Notes
July 11, 2007

In attendance:
Sonia Marcus
Amy Nordrum
Ron Chapman
Jarrod Pollard

  • No one seems to be using the blog! This is a problem. Everyone who is working on collecting or processing data in any way should be postings updates on their progress (or lack thereof, as the case may be) at least twice a week. We have to keep in mind that we are creating a resource for people outside our group and outside our university to understand what we are up to. It is also essential to our communication within the group. So post twice a week, fer cryin' out loud!
  • Amy's updates and questions, as well as comments from Ron --

- Natural gas varies in its BTU potential during the year. In the summer, you can get more MMBTU per MCF than in the winter. That has to do with the rate of withdrawal of the gas from the ground.

- Volumes do not need to be modified. But if we post in MMBTU's, that's going to depend on the year and the time of year.

- We had MCF's and MMBTU's in the version 4.0 of the spreadsheet which was one reason for the discrepancies. The newer version asks for natural gas in MMBTU's.

- Industry assumption is the following: 1 MCF = 1 million BTU's = 1 MMBTU

- Currently we are actually getting 1.0986 MMBTU per 1 MCF. So they're not exactly the same.

- Is the data reported in fiscal years or calendar years? Or according to the academic calendar?? Amy should ask the CA-CP person about this. All data from Ron is fiscal year-based.

- On coal (used to generate heat at Lausche): OEPA, USEPA and DOE require calendar year documentation on % ash, BTU per lb., % sulfur, SO2.

- Coal data entered into the 4.0 spreadsheet looks good.

- Ron commenced reporting mid-year in fiscal year 2000. Before that it was someone else (Bruce).

- Amy needs conversion factors for natural gas and steam (lbs to MMBTU's). She will use historical average of conversion factors for nat gas data from pre-1999.

- Bruce's data is stored in hard copy somewhere at the Ridges but we're not exactly sure where.

- Amy was pulling steam values off of actual production documents, not summaries. No data pre-1999.

- Ron has solid numbers back to January 1998 (mid fiscal year 1998).

- We have to make sure we are being consistent with fiscal vs. calendar year data!

- Converting steam to MMBTU's:

1 lb of saturated steam has a latent heat value of 1000 BTU

1000 lbs (1 kilopound) --> 1 million BTU = 1 MMBTU

- Amy could not find effiency values for steam production. Ron does a separate report with total MMBTU of gas and coal. In that doc, you get average overall blended efficiency of gas and coal. So that doesn't do the trick.

- 82% was an estimate of efficiency suggested by Clyde Pierce, chief operator at the Lausche heating plant. We need to analyze this further. Ron will go back and look at monthly reports to determine heat input to derived heat output value. Is that what CA-CP means by "efficiency"?

- Prior to 1999, there is no split between Lauscho gas and the rest of the gas used on campus. Problematic! Two old notebooks have been located which may contain more detailed info. Ron will look through them.

- No data for nat gas for all stationery sources on campus after 1999. Amy couldn't find it in the charts. That will be total gas minus Lauscho gas. Ron will check.

- About 11% of heat is produced using nat gas, 89% using coal.

  • Jarrod's updates, comments, questions:

- Looking up info on operating budget, 06-07. Checked all info from prior years and it looks ok.

- The 06-07 budget numbers will change to some extent until final close. Need 5 more days or so.

- Also trying to find energy budget and research budget. Will go through institutional research for this.

- Ron says Diane Mack might be of help at institutional research.

- Jarrod is also interested in agriculture & transportation issues.

- Bruce Nottke is the new Transportation Director. He has been alerted that we are going to be investigating records of miles, overall fuel use by type, fleet efficiency, overall # of vehicles, etc.

  • Sonia pointed out that the date was wrong for Gov Strickland's signing of the Executive Order on the document comparing the PCC vs. house bill 251 vs. the E.O. Ron let us know that the Governor actually signed it on January 4th, 2007. He will correct that file and re-send. Certain provisions were made effective immediately, others in April.


How Cool is Ron Chapman?

Wow, Ron Chapman is officially a blogger!

We are so proud of you, Ron!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Square footage

Copies of the square footage speadsheets are now on the N:\Energy _Issues - directory for evaluation. We'll need to compare the files with the hard copy documents from Institutional research for accuracy and then work backwards to establish previous years totals. The summary document in the GF square footage EXCEL spreadsheet should be pretty accurate but confirmation is a good idea. See me for details. - Ron

Friday, July 13, 2007

Calculator Answers

This is the e-mail I received this morning from Jenn regarding the questions I posted earlier:

Hi Amy,
1) Usually, fiscal years.
2) I'm not sure I'm following the efficiency question. You should count
the steam you use in the plant as part of the total steam output. And in
determining the steam production efficiency. Default values for co-gen
efficiency from the EPA's Climate Leaders program are eH = 80% and eP =
35% (where H=steam and P=electricity - see
if that helps any...
Hope that helps; if not feel free to email back or call: 603 475 3587.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Calculator Questions

I e-mailed Jennifer Schroeder, program officer and webmaster for Clean Air-Cool Planet, regarding two questions about CACP's emissions calculator that were raised at last night's meeting. The questions were:

1. Do the majority of colleges using this calculator collect data based on fiscal years, academic years, or calendar years?

2. We use part of the steam we make in our on-campus cogeneration plant within the plant, and this could affect our steam efficiency data. Does the steam efficiency category of the calculator take this into account, or are we expected to subtract the amount of steam we use internally from the amount of total steam produced when we use this number for the steam efficiency calculation?