Greenhouse Gas Inventory at the University of the German Federal Army in Munich


 CO2_2_©_eckig neu.jpg„If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it“

- Lord Kelvin -                                      




Project duration           

January 2021 - December 2024


Project  coordination

Project research associates

Prof. Dr. Manfred Sargl

Fabian Dosch

José Martínez M.A.

Romana Rohden

Daniel Wiegand PhD

Moritz Wigger


Open job vacancies:

Research associate


What is the point of all this? 

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We hope that this project can be a small building block to hinder this alarming development of global warming, as it cannot only be done from the top alone. Every individual and organisation must do their part for a real fighting against climate change/ crisis.


Project content

Within the framework of the project, a comprehensive greenhouse gas emission inventory of the University of the German Federal Army in Munich will be prepared for the very first time. It is be done in accordance with the requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In the following years, the greenhouse gas inventory will be regularly developed and updated. The inventory serves as a central instrument for climate protection controlling systems at the university and enables an accompanying impact control of the reduction measures taken in the framework.


Climate protection-controlling

A controlling system for greenhouse emissions ensures that the implementation of an institution’s climate protection concept can be controlled and documented. This is a process that extends from the initial inventory; the definition of climate protection targets and key figures; the resolution of reduction measures and their implementation; an accompanying impact analysis; an adjustment of the measures – if necessary –; to the evaluation and prove of concept, and then to start again.



The accompanying impact analysis in climate protection enable a readjustment of the measures and thus a better achievement of the objectives. At a first stage, this can be a general qualitative Should-Be-Comparison of emissions. At further stages, it should be a more specific qualitative assessments of the accuracy of the measures – in the sense of learning from one's own actions.


Climate protection-controlling also comprises the monitoring of all greenhouse gas emissions, the direct ones caused by own fuel consumption as well as the indirect ones caused by activities that cause fuel consumption elsewhere. On the one hand, this requires measuring the company’s own consumption and calculating the associated emissions. But it also includes a quantification of indirect emissions based on purchased energy as well as other activities that cause greenhouse gas emission, such as mobility and its conversion into CO2 equivalents. These measurements and calculations require an adequate measurement architecture and metric of calculation. This may initially appear to be very extensive in individual cases. However, an exhaustive emission inventory is a fundamental prerequisite for a sound climate policy.


Fields of application of a greenhouse gas inventory

  • Emissions acounting and reporting
  • Documentation of climate protection measures
  • Monitoring of climate targets and a climate protection strategy
  • Identification of the main emission sources
  • Identification of reduction potentials
  • Accompanying impact analysis of reduction measures
  • Benchmarking with other universities and corporations
  • Determination of the university’s contribution to regional climate targets

Accounting guidelines

The inventory is drawn up in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol of the World Resources Institutes and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It covers all greenhouse gas emissions included in the Kyoto-Protocol and the Paris Convention. The unit of calculation are CO2-equivalents. There are other greenhouse gases besides CO, that have climate impact. They can be converted into CO2-equivalentes on the basis of its ‘global warming potential’ according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The result is an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions and not just CO2-emissions.

The five main principles of such an inventory are listed in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Relevance, Completeness, Consistence, Transparency and Accuracy.

When speaking of emissions, a distinction is made between three scopes (see the graphic).


 Scope-1-emissions result from the inhouse consumption of fuels – for instance for own heating and mobility. Scope-2-emissions arise from the consumption of purchased energy for electricity, heat or steam. They are converted into CO2-equivalents using the specific emission factors of the source of supply. The most problematic aspect is the determination of scope 3 emissions (up- and downstream). This type of emissions can only be determined indirectly, based on the scope of the activities causing the emissions. These activities must also be quantified and converted into CO2-equivalents using specific emissions factors.

Main sources of emissions

Our calculation of greenhouse gas emissions at a university revealed three main sources: electricity, heat, and mobility.


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Electricity and heat

The University of the German Federal Army’s emissions from electricity and heat are relatively high for a university of such a size. However, this is primarily because it is a campus university with residential buildings. More than 80% of the students lives at the campus. This involves emissions that other universities without residential buildings do not have. The campus constitutes, in fact, a combination of a university and a small city. This combination must be considered when doing the inventory. When comparing the GHG inventory with one of other universities, this peculiarity must be considered.

When speaking of electricity and heat emissions, the university was already able to achieve considerable reductions. Electricity-related emissions were successfully reduced by 60% from 2013 to 2019. Heat-related emissions were reduced by as much as 84% thanks to the transition to biomass in 2015. Nevertheless, the electricity and heat-related emissions still present a considerable reduction potential that can be further reduced through better building management and an increased application of renewable energy. A further large reduction potential can be found in mobility, which accounts for about half of the total emissions.


The major share of the mobility emission mostly ranks among scope 3. This is because universities do not usually have a large vehicle fleet of their own and the amount of direct scope-1 emission is correspondently very small. Most of mobility related emissions account for scope 3.


In the field of mobility emissions caused by business trips and student outgoing, there may be data gaps if they are related to externally funded projects or self-financed student exchanges. At the University of the German Federal Army in Munich, this gap has been largely closed. But the greatest uncertainty due to weak data in universities are the emissions caused by commuting. In a lot of cases these emissions are not included in university emission inventories or only based weak data or rough estimates. To obtain a comprehensive inventory, this filed is treated different at the UniBw Munich and emissions caused by commuting are included based on data collection and regular surveys.

We therefore recently conducted survey on mobility behaviours of research associates and students. The results of the survey were validated by data from another resource. The results showed that the main drivers of mobility-related emissions are commuting by students (approx. 58%) and employees (approx. 16%); business trips (approx. 18%); and outgoing student travel (approx. 6%) and own vehicle fleet (2%).

For the next regular and more detailed data collection on mobility a special feature of the UniBw can be used. All mobility to and within the campus is automatically recorded. The university campus is fenced and access is only possible through a barrier system. Regardless of means of transportation (bicycle or car) all accesses are recorded. Even a pedestrian access is also only possible through rotating doors. In addition to that also the stationary traffic on the campus can be comprehensively surveyed, since parking areas are accessible only for university members and outside the campus, no free parking is allowed.




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Here is a graphic of the current state of the world

measured at the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory