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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

Each year, the Office for Sustainability conducts an inventory of all greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere as a result of American University business. These emissions contribute to global climate change and the university’s goal is to mitigate all GHG emissions by 2020 and make AU a climate neutral institution. Thanks to many programs including energy efficiency initiatives, renewable energy, green buildings, sustainable transportation programs, and zero waste efforts, the university’s GHG emissions have fallen more than 52 percent from the 2005 baseline.

GHG emissions are measured in three categories:

  • Scope 1: On-site emissions from natural gas and the university fleet
  • Scope 2: Purchased electricity
  • Scope 3: All other emissions including commuting, study abroad travel, athletics travel, travel for conferences and meetings, emissions from waste that goes to landfill, and other small sources of emissions

GHG 2016


Scope 2 GHG emissions have been managed since 2010 by purchasing 100 percent renewable energy. Since January 2016, half of American University’s electricity comes from solar panels installed in North Carolina.

Annual GHG emissions reports are submitted publicly to Second Nature.