Business-as-Usual Reference Case (BAU)

UIC GHG Emissions Profile graphed from 2004 to 2050 showing a black line decreasing linearly from 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e) in 2004 to 0 MTCO2e in 2050. The blue area represents about 150,000 MTCO2e, the green area represents about 120,000 MTCO2e, and the yellow area represents about 50,000 MTCO2e. The graph also highlights the university's emissions in 2016: Scope 1 = 143, 908 MTCO2e, Scope 2 = 122,696 MTCO2e, Scope 3 = 58, 794 MTCO2e.

(2004-present) Greenhouse Gas emissions (accessible)

UIC’s Carbon Footprint

UIC has tracked and publicly reported its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since Fiscal Year (FY) 2004. UIC’s GHG emissions are categorized into three major scopes referred to as Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.

UIC’s GHG Emissions Profile

These projected emissions conceptualize UIC’s GHG emissions profile as well as forecasted emissions, which can be represented through what is referred to as a Business-As-Usual (BAU) Reference Case (developed by Fovea LLC). Given the GHG emission history, current policies, and best available planning information (such as presumed campus growth due to the goals of the UIC Master Plan Update: 2018), UIC can better predict where BAU policies are taking UIC.

It is the goal to reduce emissions from all sources to zero, eventhough forecasted emissions project a rise to nearly 370,000 MTCO2e.

The BAU model assumes most of proposed growth in student population and buildings will take place between 2017-2027 and no growth thereafter. The development of this BAU Reference Case serves as a foundational scenario that helps ground UIC’s understanding of the campus’s energy future, build dynamic goals, and move towards designing a cost-effective GHG mitigation portfolio.


Scope 1, or direct emissions, are physically produced on campus such as on-campus power production, campus vehicle fleets, natural gas used in laboratories. These sources are owned or directly controlled by UIC. Emissions in this category have ranged from just under 200,000 MTCO2e in 2004 (baseline) to about 150,000 MTCO2e in 2018, and forecasted to rise back to around 170,000 MTCO2e by 2050, if nothing changes and no action is taken.


Scope 2, or indirect emissions are emissions mostly associated with purchased utilities (electricity) required for campus operations. They are indirect emissions resulting from activities that take place within the organizational boundaries of the institution, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity. Emissions in this category have ranged from just under 50,000 MTCO2e in 2004 (baseline) to about 125,000 MTCO2e in 2018, and forecasted to rise to 140,000 MTCO2e by 2050, if nothing changes and no action is taken.


Scope 3, or induced emissions originate from sources that are not owned or controlled by UIC, but are central to campus operations or activities such as non-fleet transportation, faculty/staff/student commuting, air travel paid for by the university, and landfilling waste. Emissions in this category have ranged from 62,000 MTCO2e in 2004 (baseline) to about 61,000 MTCO2e in 2018, and forecasted to rise to 65,000 MTCO2e by 2050, if nothing changes and no action is taken.

Forecasted Energy Spending

In accordance with this BAU Reference Case, based on historical average energy prices for Illinois and projected price trends for UIC’s region, forecasted energy spending for UIC Utilities as well as fleet fuel is projected to amount to $741 million (NPV; assuming a nominal discount rate of 5%) through 2050 (Source: Fovea).