University of New Hampshire launches new measurement platform, SIMAP
The University of New Hampshire (UNH) is pleased to launch the Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP). SIMAP is a comprehensive footprint reporting tool designed for campuses. The redesigned and expanded SIMAP will offer campuses a simple and affordable online platform for tracking, reporting, and managing their carbon and nitrogen footprints. "Any organization with a campus will benefit from using this platform for their greenhouse gas and nitrogen accounting," says Jennifer Andrews, Program Director at the Sustainability Institute at UNH. "it will make the life of all the folks who have to spend hours putting the numbers together so much easier. I know, I am the person who does this on my campus."
The University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute (UNHSI) developed the first iteration of SIMAP in 2001. Called the Campus Carbon Calculator, it addressed UNH’s need to track and report their carbon footprint. UNHSI decided to share this with the larger higher education community. In 2004, the calculator became its own entity managed by Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP), and by 2012, UNHSI and CA-CP developed the online tool, CarbonMAP, to facilitate data collection and GHG calculations for campuses. The Campus Carbon Calculator and CarbonMAP returned to the UNHSI in 2014.
SIMAP includes a novel campus sustainability metric: the nitrogen footprint. The Nitrogen Footprint Tool began its life at the University of Virginia in 2009 and gained momentum in 2014 with a supporting grant from the EPA. The results from pilot testing were published in the April 2017 Special Issue on nitrogen footprints in Sustainability: The Journal of Record. Allison Leach, a lead developer of the Nitrogen Footprint tool and UNH PhD candidate, joined UNHSI in 2014 and began integrating the carbon and nitrogen footprints into one online tool. "The nitrogen footprint makes two important additions to campus footprint accounting," Leach says. "First, it adds food purchases to the picture. Food purchases are the biggest contributor to a nitrogen footprint because of upstream nitrogen losses like fertilizer runoff. Second, the nitrogen footprint extends the scope of campus environmental impacts from the global to local scale by addressing local impacts like biodiversity loss and water and air quality."
SIMAP offers any institution a broader picture of environmental impacts and requires less data entry and analysis. There are also greater benefits for the higher education community. SIMAP identifies trends across campus sustainability by tracking and sharing aggregated campus sustainability data. The launch of this new platform will ensure UNHSI’s ability to maintain and support a dedicated, user-driven accounting tool by providing premium features at a modest fee. A basic free version of the tool will be available to support campus efforts to calculate their footprint. As we look towards the future of sustainability reporting, we are designing the platform for new sustainability indicators (phosphorus, water, and others) to be integrated into SIMAP.
UNHSI will facilitate a seamless transition from the Excel-based Campus Carbon Calculator and web-based CarbonMAP to SIMAP by January 2018, when support for these tools will be discontinued.
UNH is a leader in campus sustainability. UNH collaborates with the University of Virginia to include their Nitrogen Footprint Calculator, supported by EPA, and with Second Nature, the non-profit facilitating the Climate Leadership Network to make SIMAP useful and impactful for higher education. UNH works to align SIMAP with the goals and reporting needs of signatories, as well as broader needs of higher education institutions.
Check out the new tool at www.unhsimap.org!