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Agnes Scott College
Climate Benefits of Campus Stewardship

Striving to quantify the climate benefits of their stewardship philosophy, Agnes Scott engaged Goody Clancy in a campus-wide study which ultimately demonstrates building reuse is climate action.

To build or not to build?

In order to put a number to the climate benefits of the college’s longtime practice of building renovation rather than replacement, Goody Clancy performed a data-driven analysis of buildings on campus using the CARE Tool. This life-cycle assessment approach enabled us to assess the embodied carbon emissions from construction and renovation materials, as well as the operational carbon emissions generated by the buildings over time.

The results of the study illustrate the measurable climate benefits that can be achieved through responsible reuse of existing buildings, and the meaningful impact this approach can have on achieving a faster carbon payback than new construction.

At Agnes Scott, retrofit and reuse of existing buildings would yield significant carbon reductions through the carbon neutrality target year 2037.
These findings reinforce that renovating historic buildings is not just about looking at the past, it’s also part of building a better future.
Leocadia I. ZakPresident of Agnes Scott College

Retroactive analyses reveal the remarkable impact of stewardship over time

Our analysis covered the history of the campus, from its establishment in 1899 to the present day. By comparing the approximate total carbon emissions of the campus to a scenario in which buildings are demolished and replaced instead of being retrofitted and renovated, the results demonstrate that Agnes Scott’s ethic of stewardship results in measurable carbon emission reductions and supports their institutional climate neutrality goals.

An emissions profile was created using estimated values for embodied and operational carbon associated with new construction and renovation projects. This profile showcases the avoided carbon resulting from the College’s continuous reinvestment efforts.
Project impact
  • 115,000

    Metric tons of CO2 can be avoided by implementing energy efficiency strategies across the campus in conjunction with renovations rather than new construction.

  • 1,300

    Years: Length of time a forest the size of Agnes Scott’s 100-acre campus would take to sequester the equivalent amount of carbon emissions otherwise offset by retrofitting campus buildings rather than replacing them.

This is a critical finding for institutions like Agnes Scott that need to carefully balance the costs and benefits of providing safe, healthy, and beautiful spaces to live, learn, and work on campus.
Leocadia I. ZakPresident of Agnes Scott College

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Project Team

Agnes Scott College Center for Sustainability

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