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Greenhouse Gases

About Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are categorized into three, Scope 1, 2 and 3. At UC Riverside, we monitor and track GHG emissions for purposes of compliance to regulations, climate action to reduce emissions and for future infrastructure planning. Below are the definitions of the greenhouse gas emission scopes. 

Our Initiatives

UC Riverside is working on reducing its emissions footprint by adhering to the UC Sustainable Practices Policy. A summary of the policy and programing can be found below, for detailed information on the specific areas of the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices, please click here

Clean Energy

  • Description

    In support of the climate neutrality goals outlined in Section C of this policy, the University of California is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy use and switching to clean energy supplies. 

    1. Energy Efficiency Each location will implement energy efficiency actions in buildings and infrastructure systems to reduce the location’s energy use intensity by an average of at least 2% annually.
    2. On-campus Renewable Electricity Campuses and health locations will install additional on-site renewable electricity supplies and energy storage systems whenever cost-effective and/or supportive of the location’s Climate Action Plan or other goals.
    3. Off-campus Clean Electricity By 2025, each campus and health location will obtain 100% clean electricity. By 2018, the University’s Wholesale Power Program will provide 100% clean electricity to participating locations.
    4. On-campus Combustion By 2025, at least 40% of the natural gas combusted on-site at each campus and health location will be biogas.
  • Programming
    1. Energy Efficiency: The energy efficiency goal follows the spirit of the US Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge. Each location’s percent reduction in energy use intensity (EUI) will be reported annually based on the sum of weather-adjusted energy use divided by the sum of the maintained gross square footage (OGSF50). The average annual reduction will be calculated using an established baseline as detailed in the UC EUI Tracking Methods and References. UCOP will use energy usage data from the systemwide purchased utility database for reporting campus energy use intensity, based on the campus specified set of utility accounts and associated maintained gross square footage. Electric and gas site energy will be converted to kBTU and normalized for weather. Policy goals will be evaluated and adjusted as appropriate following the 2025 reporting year. 
    2. On-campus Renewable Energy. Each location will determine the appropriate mix of measures to be adopted within its clean energy portfolio. The capacity to adopt these measures is driven by technological and economic factors and each location will need to reevaluate its mix of energy measures on a regular basis. Locations will periodically evaluate the feasibility of new on-site renewable electricity projects. The financial evaluation of these projects will fully account for the anticipated avoided costs associated with decreased on-site power production from combined heat and power plants and/or purchased electricity as well as the avoided cost of carbon. 
    3. Off-campus Clean Electricity. Clean electricity is defined as having a residual greenhouse gas emission factor that is less than 150 lbs. CO2/MWh. Clean electricity shall be procured through the following methods and reported on annually: A location may opt-in to a utility provided green power program for its purchased electricity that meets the definition of clean electricity specified in V.B.3.a. The UC Wholesale Power Program, which will procure and supply to participating campuses 100% clean electricity by 2018. Those locations without access to a green power program may purchase Renewable Energy Credits (REC) to offset purchased electricity. In order to be counted, such RECs will be transferred to UC or retired on behalf of UC.
    4. Where feasible, the University will seek to benefit from the economies of scale and to reduce risk by developing a portfolio for systemwide clean energy procurement contracts from which locations may benefit. 
    5. On-campus Combustion. The University will develop and procure biogas supplies under the direction of the Energy Services Unit Governing Board (The Governing Board). The Governing Board will establish acceptable pricing for biogas projects and determine how the biogas will be allocated to each location. Locations may also implement local projects to directly transport biogas to the location.

Climate Protection

  • Description

    Each campus and the UC Office of the President will develop strategies for meeting the following UC goals:

    1. Climate neutrality from scope 1 and 2 sources by 2025

    2. Climate neutrality from specific scope 3 sources (as defined by Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment) by 2050 or sooner.

    In addition, at a minimum, meet the following intermediate goal in pursuit of climate neutrality:

    3. Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, pursuant to the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

    For purposes of this section, campuses shall include their related health location for all goals. GHG emissions reduction goals pertain to emissions of the six Kyoto greenhouse gasses originating from all scope 1 and scope 2 sources as specified by the Climate Registry, and from scope 3 emissions as specified by Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment, which includes air travel paid through the institution; and commuting to and from campus by students, faculty and other academic appointees, and staff. These goals will be pursued while maintaining the research, education, and public service missions of the University.

    Campuses subject to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, California Air Resources Board (CARB) Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting or participation in the CARB Cap-and-Trade Program shall perform to those regulatory requirements.


  • Programming

    1. Each campus will maintain individual membership with The Climate Registry (TCR)10. Campuses shall include their health locations in their membership.

    2. Each campus will complete a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions inventory annually. Campuses shall include their health locations in their inventories.

    3. To comply with TCR and the Second Nature Carbon Commitment requirements, 11 inventories should contain emissions of the six Kyoto greenhouse gasses from scope 1 and 2 emission sources outlined in the TCR General Reporting Protocol; and scope 3 emissions sources outlined by the Second Nature Carbon Commitment’s Implementation Guide. All UC campuses will report their updated emissions inventories through the Second Nature Carbon Commitment online reporting tool at least biennially. Campuses must verify all emissions inventories through TCR.Campuses may either pursue verification annually (for the previous year’s emissions inventory) or biennially (for the emissions inventories from the previous two years).

    4. Campuses subject to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, California Air Resources Board (CARB) Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting, or participation in the CARB Cap-and-Trade Program shall complete the relevant emissions inventories outlined in the USEPA and CARB reporting protocols.

    5. Each campus will regularly update its climate action plan for reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by calendar year 2020 (annual 2020 emissions to be reported in 2021); achieving climate neutrality for scope 1 and 2 sources by calendar year 2025 (annual 2025 emissions reported in 2026), and achieving climate neutrality for the Second Nature Carbon Commitment-specified scope 3 sources (as defined by Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment) for calendar year 2050 (annual 2050 emissions reported in 2051). This will include an annual review and update, if needed, of the GHG reduction strategies reported by the campus to the UC Office of the President (UCOP). Campuses shall include their health locations in the action plan.

    6. Each campus will complete an assessment of Scope 1 emissions from natural gas combustion by 2035 or at the date when that location’s combined heat & power plant (or any other major fossil fuel-using campus infrastructure) is planned for capital renewal or major repair, whichever occurs first. The assessment should determine the best pathway, at that point, to decarbonize 80% of scope 1 emissions through means other than offsets. A de-carbonization assessment should evaluate, but is not limited to, (1) progress toward decarbonization of piped gas, (2) the feasibility of installing on-site carbon capture, (3) electrification of carbon-emitting plant equipment, (4) hydrogen or synthetic methane injection, (5) emergent technologies, and (6) energy efficiency directed at Scope 1 footprint reductions. The assessment should be provided to campus leadership and inform each campus’s Climate Action Plan.

    7. The Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), under the UC Sustainability Steering Committee and represented on the President’s Global Climate Leadership Council, will monitor progress toward reaching the stated goals for GHG reduction, and will evaluate suggestions for strategies and programs to reach these goals. 8. The CCWG will develop protocols for growth adjustment, data normalization, and accurate reporting procedures, as required.