Greenhouse Gas Reduction Project
Allegheny County recognizes the importance of reducing our energy consumption and the associated carbon footprint of County Government. We're pleased to publish our first benchmark inventory of our carbon footprint, along with an action plan for reducing our carbon-equivalent emissions and greenhouse gases. The County established ambitious reduction goals that call for:
- Reducing the County’s greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 20% from their 2008 levels by 2015
- Converting the County fleet vehicles and motorized equipment to technologies with higher efficiency and lower emissions by 5% annually from 2010 through 2014 and
- Improving water efficiency by 20% by 2015, which will also impact regional energy usage and carbon production
Not surprisingly, buildings produced the most carbon for the County, as shown below:
About the Findings
The data acquisition and analysis behind this report show that Allegheny County government produced approximately 77,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (eCO2) emissions in 2008. To meet its stated goals, that baseline would have to be reduced by 20%, or 15,000 tons, and reach a level of 62,000 tons or less by 2015. The largest source of emissions (86%) comes from operating the County’s 139 buildings and facilities since the County’s electricity providers use coal as their primary fuel source. The remaining sources of emissions include vehicles, potable water provisions, wastewater treatment, solid waste management, streetlights, and a small segment of fugitive and refrigerant emissions.
About the Report
The County engaged the assistance of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) to help in structuring and completing this project and joined ICLEI as a member of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, a membership association of local governments committed to advancing climate protection and sustainable development that includes more than 1,100 cities worldwide, including 600+ in the United States. ICLEI membership includes access to the CACP software package, which provides an international standardized tool for documenting energy use for greenhouse gas inventories. ICLEI tools have become industry standards. As such, they provide consistency with other local government greenhouse gas inventories, including inventories published by the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative in 2006. The eCO2 emissions from County sectors presented in this report were calculated using the CACP software.
ICLEI employs the Local Government Operations Protocol (LGOP) for collecting data, and this protocol is incorporated into the CACP software tool. The County and PEC followed the guidelines discussed in the LGOP, a document developed by the California Air Resources Board, California Climate Action Registry, and The Climate Registry. The LGOP provides guidelines for developing a local government operations emissions inventory with a five-fold purpose:
- To allow local governments to develop emissions inventories that follow internationally accepted accounting and reporting principles.
- To ensure consistent, comparable, and relevant measurement and reporting of emissions.
- To enable measurement toward climate goals.
- To encourage the understanding of local government in combating climate change.
- To create synchronization between inventories developed and reported to numerous programs.
This initial benchmark inventory reflects the emissions from County government only. We hope to invite all of the County authorities to participate in a Phase II study using the same software and protocol. Such a study will provide a more comprehensive picture of the region’s carbon footprint.
Our focus over the next few years will be implementing the recommended actions in the benchmark report and action plan.
Learn More about Regional Climate Change Efforts
Allegheny County is a proud participant in the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. Visit their website to learn more about local actions to reduce carbon.
Sign up to support the County's "team" in reducing our carbon footprint at The Black & Gold City Goes Green.