EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals and Strategies
In This Section
The following goals help EPA meet federal requirements and demonstrate leadership in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions. EPA intends to accomplish these goals using an array of different strategies.
Scope 1 and 2 GHG Emissions Reduction Goal
On December 24, 2009, EPA submitted its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions reduction target to the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order (EO) 13514. EPA committed to reducing its fiscal year (FY) 2020 combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 25 percent from its FY 2008 baseline of 140,809 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e).
In developing a target for reducing its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, EPA accounted for the following GHG emission sources, per CEQ guidance:
- Scope 1 GHG emission sources:
- Onsite fuel combusted for reporting facility energy consumption.
- Fuel consumed in EPA's vehicles.
- Fugitive emissions in reporting facilities from refrigeration and fire suppression equipment.
- Fugitive emissions from mobile air conditioning equipment in EPA's vehicles.
- Process emissions associated with specialized laboratory activities.
- Scope 2 GHG emission sources:
- Purchased electricity, steam, hot water, and chilled water consumed at EPA's reporting facilities.
Scope 3 GHG Emissions Reduction Goal
On June 2, 2010, EPA submitted its Scope 3 GHG emissions reduction target to CEQ and OMB in accordance with EO 13514 requirements. EPA’s goal is to reduce the required subset of its Scope 3 GHG emissions by 8 percent by FY 2020 compared to its FY 2008 baseline of 79,738 MTCO2e.
Required categories of Scope 3 GHG emissions that EPA accounted for in its Scope 3 GHG emissions reduction target include:
- Employee travel, including business air travel, business ground travel, and employee commuting.
- Transmission and distribution (T&D) losses related to purchased electricity consumed at EPA's reporting facilities.
- Contracted waste disposal, including solid waste disposal and wastewater treatment.
In addition to the required categories of Scope 3 GHG emissions, in FY 2010 EPA began reporting optional Scope 3 GHG emissions to CEQ and OMB, which included:
- Emissions from energy use at leased facilities.
- Fugitive emissions from air conditioning, refrigeration, and fire suppression equipment within leased space.
- Emissions from EPA-chartered aircraft.
- Upstream energy used to pump, treat, and deliver potable water to reporting facilities.
EPA has developed a variety of strategies to help the Agency reduce its GHG emissions resulting from its day-to-day operations.
The first step in developing a strategy for reducing GHG emissions is to understand the sources and relative magnitude of an organization's various GHG emissions. EO 13514, signed on October 5, 2009, was the first executive order to require federal agencies to compile and report comprehensive GHG emission inventories. Federal agencies submitted their first GHG emission inventories required under EO 13514 to CEQ and OMB in January 2011.
Prior to the requirements established by EO 13514, EPA had experience accounting for and reporting its GHG emissions. In January 2008, EPA voluntarily began developing an inventory and reporting its GHG emissions to better understand and manage the Agency's carbon footprint. At that time, EPA followed the GHG Inventory Guidance developed by EPA’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership. Learn more about EPA’s pre-EO 13514 inventory.
In accordance with EO 13514 Section 9 guidance, EPA has augmented its initial Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions inventory by accounting for fugitive emissions associated with building fire suppression and mobile air conditioning equipment; and process emissions from laboratory research activities, fume hood tracer gas testing, onsite waste incineration, and chemical use in laboratory and office spaces.
EO 13514 also requires agencies to inventory and reduce their Scope 3 GHG emissions. In FY 2010, EPA developed initial emission estimates for required categories of Scope 3 GHG emissions, including T&D losses associated with purchased electricity, employee business travel, employee commuting, contracted waste disposal, and contracted wastewater treatment, as well as several optional sources of Scope 3 GHG emissions, including energy use in leased office space. EPA has since refined its initial estimates and is working to estimate additional, currently optional categories of Scope 3 GHG emissions such as supply chain emissions and energy used for site remediation activities.
Scope 1 and 2 GHG Emission Reduction Strategies
EPA is implementing the following strategies to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions as part of its Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), which EPA updates and submits to CEQ annually:
- Reduce facility energy intensity by implementing new energy conservation projects.
- Conduct regular energy assessments and recommissioning to ensure efficient facility operations.
- Optimize the Agency's real property portfolio by identifying opportunities for space consolidation and by improving and right-sizing laboratory and office infrastructure.
- Reduce fleet fuel consumption. Learn more about EPA's green fleet.
- Continue to purchase green power and renewable energy certificates (RECs). Learn more about EPA's green power efforts.
- Pursue new onsite renewable energy generation in major renovations and new construction. Learn more about EPA's use of renewable energy technologies.
Scope 3 GHG Emission Reduction Strategies
EPA is also implementing the following strategies to reduce its Scope 3 GHG emissions as part of its SSPP:
- Reduce employee travel through increased use of videoconferencing, webinars, and conference calls.
- Promote and encourage alternative commuting options that reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips.
- Reduce resource use and encourage waste diversion at all facilities.
- Continue pursuing green building design, construction, operation, and acquisition for new and updated leases.