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Reducing UMD’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions
As a signatory of the Second Nature Carbon Commitment, UMD is committed to reduce its emissions by 25% from 2007 levels by 2020 and become a carbon neutral institution by 2050. By using fewer resources and reducing emissions UMD is not only having a smaller impact on the environment but is also saving money. Current campus initiatives that aim to reduce our campus carbon footprint are available on the menu to your left.
Progress Toward the Goal
In 2007, the Sustainability Office inventoried campus carbon emissions for the first time and calculated UMD’s carbon footprint to be 57,562 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). The most recent calculation in 2019 was 47,779 metric tons of CO2e, a 17% reduction over the 2007 baseline.
Emission reductions have fluctuated over the years. Some reasons for this include extremely cold winters, adding 4+ new buildings on campus, and uncertainties in calculations. Despite the weather and increased square footage, UMD’s emissions have remained relatively flat due to investments in energy efficiency across campus. These efficiency investments have enabled UMD to bring new buildings online while keeping emission reduction progress moving forward.
What’s included in UMD’s GHG Emissions?
About 90% of campus emissions come from two sources: 1.) the steam plant that heats and cools campus buildings with the use of natural gas and 2.) electricity purchased to power campus. The remaining 10% includes commuting, air travel, refrigerants, UMD vehicles, solid waste, and applied fertilizers.
Reducing emissions requires planning and investment at a large scale, such as upgrading buildings and systems for greater efficiency and investing in renewable energy sources (See UMD's Energy Action Plan). Reducing emissions also requires small-scale efforts at the department, office, and individual levels -- conserving energy, recycling and composting, and flying less are things we can all do as part of the UMD community to participate in reducing our campus carbon footprint. Explore the tabs to the left to learn more about our current campus initiatives.
Looking for data?
Access available Data on UMD Campus Operations. (Note: UMD baseline year for Carbon Commitment goals is 2007.)