Quantifying the ecological footprint of Middle East Technical University: towards becoming a sustainable campus

Galioğlu, Yeliz
The Ecological Footprint is an eco-based sustainability indicator that aims to provide insight into the delicate balance between human consumption patterns and the Earth’s regenerative capacity. The primary objective of this thesis is to carry out a preliminary comprehensive quantification of the Ecological Footprint of the Middle East Technical University (Ankara Campus), which is one of the biggest public universities in Turkey. In addition, the study aims to present ‘a static snapshot’ of the impacts caused by METU, especially on the environment, for a target year. This study also sets its goal to investigate possibilities for contributing to campus operations, policy development and educational curricula towards becoming a sustainable campus. The objectives of this thesis are also in line with the 2011-2016 METU Strategic Plan, where one of its strategies is to become a sustainable campus. EF is a quantitative method to understand the current situation and suggest a framework for action within the context of developing sustainability. The calculation of EF provides a basis for determining strategies to become a sustainable campus. Within the scope of the thesis, the main aspects of a sustainable campus, namely energy use, transportation, waste & recycle, food consumption and built-up land was vi investigated comprehensively. These investigations involve a component-based approach that calculates EF for each component separately for the year 2012. The Ecological Footprint of Middle East Technical University is computed to be 46,451 global hectares, of which %70 is food (32649 gha), %19 energy (8843 gha), %8 transportation (3563 gha) and %3 other components (Waste &recycle 1184 gha, Built up 210gha). METU campus area is 4350 hectares and Ecological Footprint calculated as 45824 hectare (EF of food 36477 ha, energy 7019 ha, transportation 1110 ha, waste & recycle 941 ha and built-up 277 ha) which shows 41000 hectare is required to fulfill consumption made in METU campus. When compared with the National EF per capita 2.7 and EF per capita values for a number of universities worldwide (ranging from 0.9 to 2.66), METU can be considered to have a tolerable ecological footprint per capita 1.62 (where EF per capita of food 1.14; energy 0.31; transportation 0.12; waste &recycle 0.04; built-up 0.01). Nevertheless, certain regulations might possibly help reduce current EF values, especially for food, energy, and transportation. This preliminary study is the first comprehensive EF quantification of a university campus in Turkey and is hoped to contribute to METU’s strategy of achieving the status of a sustainable campus.
Citation Formats
Y. Galioğlu, “Quantifying the ecological footprint of Middle East Technical University: towards becoming a sustainable campus,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2015.