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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.

Annual GHG emissions reports are submitted publicly to Second Nature.

Emissions by scope graph

Greenhouse Gas Emissions are measured in three categories:

On-site emissions from natural gas and the university fleet.

Purchased electricity for campus use.

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.


Greenhouse gas emissions reductions are only part of the sustainability efforts at AU. To measure progress in the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability work, AU uses the sustainability tracking, assessment, and reporting system (STARS). 

STARS was created by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) to help colleges and universities track progress and set goals. 

AU completed its third STARS submission in spring of 2016 and earned a gold rating. AU was also a charter participant in STARS and has completed three assessments since 2010. 

Scope 2 GHG emissions have been managed since 2010 by purchasing 100 percent renewable energy.