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Greenhouse Gas Reduction

A leader in federal greenhouse gas (GHG) management, NREL has conducted GHG inventories, developed reduction goals, and reported emissions since 2000. NREL was the first federal facility to become a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders program, and has played a critical support role in the development of federal guidelines for GHG accounting and reporting through DOE's Federal Energy Management Program.

Carbon Neutrality

Through the Climate Leaders program, NREL began tracking its emissions in Fiscal Year (FY) 2002. By FY 2009, NREL reached carbon neutrality in scope 2 GHG emissions and surpassed two other goals:

  • Decreasing emissions by 10% per square foot between 2000 and 2005
  • Reducing absolute emissions by 75% between 2005 and FY 2009.

Federal Leadership

A bar graph showing the levels of greenhouse gas emissions produced over a number of years.

NREL is taking a lead role among federal agencies in reducing GHGs that contribute to climate change. Our goal is to demonstrate leadership in GHG management by maximizing the use of energy efficiency practices and on-site renewable power, and minimizing impacts associated with all aspects of our operations. Reinforced by federal Executive Order (EO) 13514, NREL continuously pursues new technologies and strategies to reduce GHG emissions associated with our operations.

NREL is currently working toward two new GHG goals:

  • Reduce emissions from stationary, mobile fugitive, process emissions (Scope 1), and purchased electricity (Scope 2) by 28% by FY 2020 from a FY 2008 baseline.
  • Reduce transmission and distribution losses, business air and ground travel, contracted wastewater treatment, and contracted waste disposal emissions (Scope 3) by 13% by FY 2020 from a FY 2008 baseline.

For more information on NREL's GHG reduction goals, see NREL's FY 2015 Site Sustainability Plan.