UMBC’s carbon footprint includes two energy components: electricity consumption and stationary combustion of fuel (primarily natural gas). The 2018 breakdown of GHG emissions by source showed 33.5% attributed to electricity (23,699 MTeCO2) and 20.9% from stationary combustion (14,826 MTeCO2).
Moving forward, there is still much more work to be done to achieve UMBC’s ultimate goal of carbon neutrality, i.e., net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.
In short, UMBC’s net-zero energy plan is to strategically 1) reduce energy consumption, 2) increase the percentage of electricity coming from renewable energy sources to 100% by 2050, and 3) offset any remaining GHG emissions via carbon offsets by 2050.
- The first and ongoing mission of UMBC’s energy management strategy is reducing energy consumption. This is accomplished by enhancing ongoing energy conservation initiatives (such as Green Office Program, HVAC equipment scheduling, campus set point standards, and preventive maintenance); implementing new energy conservation initiatives (such as building analytics); utilizing energy performance contracts every ten to fifteen years as technology affords; and smart growth via improved space utilization and energy-efficient new construction. The conservation goal is to reduce campus energy consumption enough to offset the incremental energy demand associated with future campus growth. If successful, these conservation efforts will avoid 12,000 metric tons of new emissions being added to UMBC’s energy footprint.
- The second ongoing mission is to increase the percentage of UMBC’s electricity that comes from renewable energy sources. This is accomplished through the strategic procurement of wind and solar energy via Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). UMBC will continue to explore options for onsite renewables, seeking a cost-effective blend of renewable energy procurement. The ultimate renewable energy goal is to get 100% of campus electricity from renewable energy sources. The interim goals are 40% in 2020, 50% in 2025, and 60% in 2030. When UMBC gets 100% of its electricity from renewables, UMBC will achieve net-zero electricity.
- The third and final mission is to eliminate UMBC’s carbon footprint attributed to stationary combustion of natural gas and fuel oil. Reductions to stationary combustion will be accomplished via the aforementioned energy conservation strategies. After stationary combustion is reduced as much as reasonably possible, the ultimate stationary combustion goal is to offset all remaining GHG emissions via carbon offsets by 2050. Doing so, UMBC will achieve net-zero stationary combustion.
Collectively, operational improvements, behavioral changes, efficiency upgrades, technological breakthroughs, strategic investments, smart growth, renewable energy, and carbon offsets have the potential to eradicate UMBC’s energy footprint by avoiding 12,000 metric tons of new emissions and eliminating 50,000 metric tons of existing emissions.