As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, Luther is obligated to measure its campus carbon footprint. This footprint is produced via direct emissions of greenhouse gases associated with combustion of fossil fuels for heating and transportation, indirect emissions associated with electricity purchases and finally other emissions related to solid waste, refrigerants, land use management, air travel, etc.
In the summers of 2007 and 2008, a student researcher worked closely with Luther’s director of facilities services to inventory all of Luther’s greenhouse gas emissions beginning with the 2002-03 academic year. The Clean Air-Cool Planet Carbon Calculator was used to conduct this study. Luther updates its carbon footprint annually. All data is available online.
Luther has reduced its emissions 72.2 percent over this time even while it has increased the amount of conditioned space 7.7 percent. The vast majority of Luther's reductions to date are associated with purchased electricity along with major investments in energy efficiency and solar power that have reduced grid purchases 37.8 percent. Luther College's goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030.