GHG Emissions

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory evaluates Sheridan’s carbon footprint and progress on the GHG reduction targets to:

  1. reduce overall emissions by 50% by 2020 (relative to 2010);
  2. avoid emitting 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from landfill waste by the end of 2014; and
  3. eliminate 750 tonnes of CO2 emissions by the end of 2015.

Conducting a GHG inventory is the first step for an institution to start managing and mitigating its impact on climate change. The organization has more influence over direct emissions (e.g. from fossil fuels burned on-site) than it does over indirect emissions (e.g. from employee commuting).

The following is a summary of Sheridan’s 2014/2015 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by source and Scope. It categorizes emissions as direct sources (Scope 1), indirect sources (Scope 2) and other non-energy sources (Scope 3) as per the GHG protocol – an international standard for corporate GHG inventories. The total emissions were 10,664 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).


The inventory currently does not include the following sources because data are not available at this time:

  • Other Purchased Products (besides purchased paper)
  • Commuting
  • Directly Financed Travel
  • Study Abroad Travel
  • Carbon Offsets & RECs

The 10,664 tCO2e is equivalent to:

  • driving 2,245 cars for a year;
  • using 4,542,324 litres of gasoline;
  • powering 14,462 Ontario homes for a year[1];
  • consuming 24,800 barrels of oil; or
  • burning 444,333 barbeque propane cylinders;


More than half of Sheridan’s 2014/2015 emissions (57.2%) were from Scope 1 sources. Scope 2 sources contributed 23.5% while Scope 3 comprised 19.3% of Sheridan’s emissions.


Not surprisingly, building energy use comprised the largest portion of Sheridan College’s total GHG emissions at 8,842 tCO2e or 82.9% of total emissions in 2014/2015. Of this, natural gas is the larger portion, contributing 68.2% while electricity makes up 28.4% (the remaining 3.4% is from electricity transmission and distribution line losses or “T&D Losses” and 0.1% from emergency generator diesel fuel use from primarily from annual testing).

In 2014/0215, natural gas was the largest source of Sheridan College’s GHG emissions, making up over half (56.5%) of total emissions from all sources, while electricity contributed to 23.5% of the total emissions.

The following figure shows the 2014/2015 emissions broken down by source.


Besides building energy use, wastewater treatment and purchased paper were the next largest sources of Sheridan’s emissions in 2014/2015 at 6.0% and 9.4%, respectively.

Sheridan is aiming to reduce its emissions from buildings through its IECMP and Zero Waste plan.

The graph below shows the trend in emissions by Scope. Generally, emissions decreased after 2010/2011. The primary reason is Ontario de-carbonization of the electricity grid fuel mix. The emission factors for all other sources were constant through these years.


Relative to the 2010/2011 baseline, Scope 1 emissions have gone up while Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions have decreased by over thirty percent. The emissions from energy use, particularly natural gas and diesel fuel have gone up 29.6% and 36.7%, respectively. This is mostly a result of adding new buildings to Sheridan’s campuses such as the Hazel McCallion Campus in Mississauga and a new residence at Trafalgar Campus. The emissions are now decreasing as Sheridan makes progress on energy efficiency through IECMP.

[1] Assuming an average consumption of 800 kWh/month. Ontario Ministry of Energy. Ontario Clean Energy Benefit. Accessed September 22, 2014.