A living University campus is like a model city; its energy and carbon auditing can also model how energy and carbon can be studied and analyzed in a city. China’s colleges and universities face grave problems, now and in the future - from declining quality of campus environments to deteriorating building performance, antiquated facilities, and inefficient energy and resources consumption. While research and discussion exists on improving existing university buildings’ energy performance and evaluation standards - much of that research focuses on energy savings, rather than on greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Calculation of campus carbon emissions is the first step for transforming and planning each existing university to carbon neutral campus. Some researchers of campus carbon emissions in China have made calculations, which, although as yet unpublished, create an initial framework for carbon-neutral campus plan targets. The present research gives an overview of universities’ drive towards sustainability in China and in other countries. The paper then details carbon footprint accounting steps, quantifying major carbon emission sources and carbon sequestration by vegetation inside the Tianjin University’s Weijin Road and Peiyangyuan Campuses. Results from China’s universities are compared with international results in the scientific literature. In this paper, based on this data, we suggest strategies and show preliminary target settings for how to transform Weijin Road into a carbon-neutral campus.
Annual carbon emissions for 2019 of the Weijin Road campus were 58,172.68 tonnes, (2.60 tonnes per person), and Peiyangyuan campus, 55,213.75 tonnes (2.46 tonnes per person). The largest sources of the two campuses’ greenhouse gas emissions were electricity and gas; Weijin Road campus; electricity = 61.42%, gas = 20.73%, and Peiyangyuan campus electricity = 69.32%, gas = 11.60%. Carbon sequestered in the two campuses by vegetation are 11,257.34 tonnes and 27,856.51 tonnes respectively. The renewable energy contribution to carbon reduction in Peiyangyuan campus is 50.85 tonnes.
Per person carbon emissions of Tianjin University’s two campuses are below the average for some US campuses, but are also greater than some in European countries. Research may investigate methods used by successful campuses towards becoming carbon neutral.