The wait is over: after two years of hard work, the EUSTEPs project delivered the tool for Higher Education Institutions to measure their environmental impact, guide their efforts towards sustainability, and track their progress. Launched on April 1st, 2022, the University Footprint Calculator is now available online for free.
Who is the Calculator’s targeted audience?
A university’s Ecological Footprint is assessed by entering data related to that institution’s activities into the Calculator. Therefore, the ideal user is any administrative staff or management team member who has access to the data. All academic staff are welcome to explore the Calculator and suggest its use to their Institution.
Accessing the Calculator
The best way to access the calculator is by registering with an email address. The account is linked to a personal dashboard where inputted data and results are saved, thus always accessible and editable.
Alternatively, users can access the calculator without registering. This is discouraged as it prevents users from benefitting from many Calculator features, especially data saving.
Using the Calculator
The Calculator is designed to be very straightforward and user friendly – intuitive even.
- Upon entering the Calculator, the user is prompted to complete two sections: “General information”, then “University population”.
- Then, the user can select any section to complete, by clicking either the pinpoints on the map or the buttons on the top menu.
The calculator tracks the university administrations’ areas of direct and indirect responsibility on the university’s operations (shown on the campus illustration at left in the image above). Areas of direct responsibility include energy use, buildings, travel, materials and equipment, and other utilities such as water consumption and waste production. Areas of indirect responsibility (shown on the smaller illustration at right in the image above) include working from home, commuting, and food consumed off the university campus.
Within each section, users are prompted to enter data related to a series of questions. A guidebook is currently being developed with detailed instructions on how to use the calculator and what data to track — expect an announcement about its release by this summer!
WATCH this guided tour of the tool and its features
Country-specific data sets
To assess the Footprint of specific inputs – such as energy use in buildings or the food provided in canteens – the Calculator uses a library of conversion factors and Footprint intensities that are country specific. Because EUSTEPs is an EU-funded project, the Calculator has been built with country-specific datasets for the 27 EU member states and the UK. This means that although everyone in the world is invited to use the Calculator, users outside the EU or the UK will have to select one of these countries as a location.
An expansion to include more countries in a future Calculator update is already on the horizon. EUSTEPs partners have received interest from several universities outside Europe. Conversations about the adding conversion factors and Footprint intensities for countries and regions outside the EU and UK are in progress with regional networks in Latin America and Asia.
Are you interested in having your country’s dataset added to the Calculator so you can use it at its full capacity? Please contact us!