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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. 

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. 

Line Graph. GHG emissions 2007-2020: Goal of 25% Reduction by 2020. Emissions fluctuate over time, adding new buildings, etc. Graph shows we are trending toward our 25% reduction goal, with 8% to go in 2020 after a very high emissions year in 2013.

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 using natural gas and
  2.  electricity purchased to power campus.

The remaining 10% includes commuting, air travel, refrigerants, UMD vehicles, solid waste, and applied fertilizers. 

Shows the breakdown of 2019 GHG emissions by source: Natural Gas 44%, Electricity 46.8%, UMD Vehicles 1.05%, Fertilizer/Refrigerants 0.26%, Commuting 3.5%, Air Travel 4%, Landfill Waste 0.39%