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University of Virginia N Footprint

The University of Virginia

Photo credit of the University of Virginia Rotunda to Phil Roeder.

The institution-level N footprint model (N-Institution) was first developed at the University of Virginia (UVA). Using recommendations from this model, the UVA Board of Visitors established a nitrogen reduction goal: a commitment to reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and reactive nitrogen losses to the environment from the university by 25% below 2009 levels by the year 2025.

In 2010, the University of Virginia's nitrogen footprint was 492 metric tons of reactive nitrogen per year. The figure above (Leach et al. 2013) shows how this footprint is broken down by sector. Unlike the personal N footprint, the largest contributor to the UVA N footprint is the energy sector. This is mostly due to the high electricity consumption required to power an institution. To identify a nitrogen footprint reduction goal, the the nitrogen footprint model was used to calculate the university's footprint and to run projections and scenarios to see how the footprint could change in the coming years (see figure below).