In July 2019, Medford’s Office of Energy and Environment completed the city’s community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory as part of our commitment to the United Nations Compact of Mayors, now the Global Covenant of Mayors. The inventory calculates emissions for the 2017 calendar year, and is an important measure for us to realize and achieve our goals of becoming a carbon free community by 2050.
This is the third GHG inventory conducted by the City, prior city-wide inventories were conducted in 2018 and 2017.
What is in the inventory?
Medford’s GHG inventory includes emissions from buildings, transportation, and waste activities that occur both within the city and outside the city. These different types of emissions are broken out into three “Scopes”, described below.
- Scope 1: What we combust and use in the city (e.g., residential heating oil, natural gas & gasoline)
- Scope 2: Emissions from energy we consume in the city, but the creation of the energy is outside the city, therefore the emissions occur outside the city, but occur due to activities in the city (e.g., electricity generated elsewhere but consumed in our homes and businesses)
- Scope 3: All other GHG emissions occurring outside the city as a result of activities in the city (e.g., waste disposal)
Because this inventory serves as a baseline for future reductions, we did not calculate the emissions already avoided due to energy efficiency improvements, residential solar systems, solar thermal systems, or the wind turbine at the McGlynn School. Additionally, due to data limitations, some inputs like commercial fuel heating oil are estimates, while others are excluded (public transportation; industrial building oil emissions). The transportation data is as per the 2014 vehicle census of Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which was the most recent data available to Medford staff.
GHG Emissions Profile
The City of Medford generated 411,079 metric tons of CO2e in 2017. Stationary sources like our homes and businesses account for 62%, 31% comes from transportation, and the remainder is generated by our waste. The emissions from waste increased from 2015 to 2017 due to inclusion of bulk waste in this inventory.
Building Energy Emissions
62% of building energy emissions comes from our residential buildings, while 38% comes from commercial and industrial buildings. Emissions from fuel oil combustion for the 10 industrial buildings’ that use fuel oil for heat were not included in this inventory due to a lack of available data.
Building Energy Emissions by Energy Type
Electricity and natural gas are responsible for 39% and 42%, respectively, while heating fuel oil contributed 19% in 2017.
These numbers are presented not to be thought of as good or bad, but rather to provide a baseline for the City of Medford as we move forward, striving to reduce our carbon footprint.