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Assessing the Social and Environmental Costs of Institutions Nitrogen Footprints

Metadata Updated: May 2, 2021

This dataset allowed estimates the damage costs associated with the institutional nitrogen (N) footprint and explores how this information could be used to create more sustainable institutions. Potential damages associated with the release of nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3), and nitrous oxide (N2O) to air and release of nitrogen to water were estimated using existing values and a cost per unit of nitrogen approach. These damage cost values were then applied to two universities. Annual potential damage costs to human health, agriculture, and natural ecosystems associated with the N footprint of institutions were $11.0 million (2014) at the University of Virginia (UVA) and $3.04 million at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Costs associated with the release of nitrogen oxides to human health, in particular the use of coal-derived energy, were the largest component of damage at UVA. At UNH the energy N footprint is much lower because of a landfill cogeneration source, and thus the majority of damages were associated with food production. Annual damages associated with release of nitrogen from food production were very similar at the two universities ($1.80 million vs. $1.66 million at UVA and UNH, respectively). These damages also have implications for the extent and scale at which the damages are felt. For example, impacts to human health from energy and transportation are generally larger near the power plants and roads, while impacts from food production can be distant from the campus. Making this information available to institutions and communities can improve their understanding of the damages associated with the different nitrogen forms and sources, and inform decisions about nitrogen reduction strategies.

This dataset is associated with the following publication: Compton, J., A. Leach, E. Castner, and J. Galloway. Assessing the Social and Environmental Costs of Institutional Nitrogen Footprints. Sustainability: The Journal of Record. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., New Rochelle, NY, USA, 10(2): 114-122, (2017).

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: See this page for license information.

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Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date May 2, 2021

Metadata Source

Harvested from EPA ScienceHub

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date May 2, 2021
Publisher U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Data Last Modified 2018-09-27
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 020:00
Schema Version
Harvest Object Id 52d5d237-0a76-4f47-bffe-b05d66e2945d
Harvest Source Id 04b59eaf-ae53-4066-93db-80f2ed0df446
Harvest Source Title EPA ScienceHub
Program Code 020:097
Publisher Hierarchy U.S. Government > U.S. Environmental Protection Agency > U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD)
Related Documents
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 65edfb40903fbdd38051292cc074c39fb18464b4
Source Schema Version 1.1

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