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The carbon-based environmental impact of learning at the University of Waikato

Abstract
In a world where man-made carbon emissions are exacerbating the natural warming of the earth, with serious consequences, it is beholden on universities to show leadership by accounting for, and mitigating, their carbon emissions. This research accounts for the carbon-based environmental impact of the face-to-face and online delivery of higher education at the University of Waikato. Drawing on an existing environmental assessment methodology, data was gathered by web-based survey on the key sources of carbon emissions associated with a student’s university study, namely: travel, place of residence, and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and paper. As part of updating and localising the methodology, new calculations were made for internet, textbook, residential and campus site energies and an improved method for computing the impact of printing was developed. The data were analysed, allowing for comparisons to be made between online and face-to-face students’ carbon emissions, and with some care the limited previous research. The main sources of carbon-based environmental impact were travel, campus and residential energy. Online students’ emissions were, on average, one-third of those of their on-campus peers.
Type
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Date
2016
Publisher
Distance Educators Association of New Zealand
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
© 2016 The Author. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.