Offset your dorm

Dorm TerraPass


6000 lbs of CO2


Your dorm room uses energy. It takes power to run the lights, heating, computers, printers, stereo, cell phone chargers and other appliances. That energy comes from sources that emit carbon dioxide, a major cause of climate change. With TerraPass, you fund clean energy projects that reduce carbon dioxide emissions in proportion to the amount of energy you use. Your membership will fund clean energy projects, abandoned coal mine methane capturemethane digesters and landfill gas capture.


How was the offset for my dorm room calculated?


For the Dorm TerraPass, we estimated a national average for the carbon dioxide emissions from a college dorm room. Our estimate is based on a number of assumptions, so the final amount should be regarded as a reasonable approximation rather than a precise figure.


The assumptions that go into our estimate come from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Building Census and the greenhouse gas emissions factors provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.


A lot of the energy use in a dorm takes place in the common areas. Energy is required to heat the showers and keep the hall lights on. Because students are ultimately responsible for this energy use as well, we apportion some of the common area emissions into our average.


Feeding all the available data into our supercomputer yields a carbon dioxide output of 6,678 lbs for a typical dorm room over the course of an academic year – about the same amount of emissions generated by driving a small car.


Doesn’t the energy use vary significantly between dorms?


Yes. Wildly. In fact, sometimes the energy use of two dorms on the same campus can vary by a factor of over 100!


Moreover, our emissions estimates are derived from national averages. Each school is likely to pull its energy from any number of different sources. A dorm room in Vermont will, in reality, have a different carbon footprint as the same size dorm room in Colorado.


Finally, individual habits will also have a big impact. The use of computers, cell phones chargers, refrigerators, hair dryers, TVs, and stereos will all change the total consumption of energy within a dorm room.


Unfortunately, data on energy use in individual dorms is almost never made available to the public. We’ve decided to make this offset simple and accessible to everyone by using what we feel is a good estimate of the national average.


Does the Dorm TerraPass cover an individual or an entire dorm room?


The Dorm TerraPass is designed to balance emissions for an entire dorm room. Of course, dorm rooms vary significantly in size. If you have an eight-person suite, you might want to think about doubling up!