An Integrated Tool for Calculating and Reducing Institution Carbon and Nitrogen Footprints.

Academic Article


  • The development of nitrogen footprint tools has allowed a range of entities to calculate and reduce their contribution to nitrogen pollution, but these tools represent just one aspect of environmental pollution. For example, institutions have been calculating their carbon footprints to track and manage their greenhouse gas emissions for over a decade. This article introduces an integrated tool that institutions can use to calculate, track, and manage their nitrogen and carbon footprints together. It presents the methodology for the combined tool, describes several metrics for comparing institution nitrogen and carbon footprint results, and discusses management strategies that reduce both the nitrogen and carbon footprints. The data requirements for the two tools overlap substantially, although integrating the two tools does necessitate the calculation of the carbon footprint of food. Comparison results for five institutions suggest that the institution nitrogen and carbon footprints correlate strongly, especially in the utilities and food sectors. Scenario analyses indicate benefits to both footprints from a range of utilities and food footprint reduction strategies. Integrating these two footprints into a single tool will account for a broader range of environmental impacts, reduce data entry and analysis, and promote integrated management of institutional sustainability.
  • Authors

  • Leach, Allison M
  • Galloway, James N
  • Castner, Elizabeth A
  • Andrews, Jennifer
  • Leary, Neil
  • Aber, John
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • April 1, 2017
  • Published In

  • Sustainability  Journal
  • Keywords

  • carbon footprint
  • energy
  • food
  • indicator
  • nitrogen footprint
  • sustainability
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 140
  • End Page

  • 148
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 2