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

The 2020 numbers are in and UMD has reduced emissions 29% over our 2007 baseline!  That's a reduction of 17,087 metric tons of CO2 over the last 13 years. Read more details about how we achieved the reductions and action steps to get to the 2050 carbon neutrality goal in our Carbon Commitment Progress Update

Maroon line shows our goal -- reduction of 25% over 2007 levels by 2020, which is about 57,000 tons of carbon down to 41,000 tons of carbon. Gold line shows actual reductions with steady decline from 2007 to 2012, with a spike in 2013 and remaining higher until a downward trend begins in 2016 and in 2020 has surpassed the goal by about 1,000 tons of ghg reduction.

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. 

Pie chart showing UMD Greenhouse gas emissions by source. Natural gas - 43.7%, Electricity - 52.1%, UMD Vehicles - 0.55%, Commuting - 1.32%, Fertilizers & Refrigerants - 0.38%, Air Travel - 1.48%, Solid Waste - 0.45%