Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Sustainability Director

Brian Blackmon
[email protected]
(865) 215-4430

400 Main St., Room 598
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are the leading cause of climate change. For more information, visit the EPA's Greenhouse Gas website and NASA's Climate Change website portal

The City’s Office of Sustainability has tracked greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and published inventories for both municipal operations and the community as a whole since 2005.

Information about methodology and definitions is included below. Calculating GHG emissions is a best estimate based in science, and we update these datasets regularly as better data and methodology becomes available. All information below is subject to change.


Community-wide Emissions Inventory

What It Covers: The Community inventory measures greenhouse gases emitted across Knoxville’s entire territory, including local government, individuals, businesses, industry, and more. Community-wide inventories cover transportation and mobile sources, commercial/industrial/residential facilities, solid waste, water and wastewater, and process and fugitive emissions.

Historic Trends: Community emissions have increased steadily since 2005 (most recently measured at an 8% increase), which can be attributed to:
      • Increasing vehicle traffic
      • Increasing population
      • Increasing economic activity

Community Emissions 2019   Community Emissions


Municipal Emissions Inventory

What It Covers: The Municipal inventory only measures greenhouse gases emitted by operations of the City government. Municipal inventories cover City-operated facilities, vehicle fleet, transit fleet, lighting, and employee commute. City operations only contribute 1-2% of Community-wide emissions.

Historic Trends:
Municipal emissions have declined significantly since 2005 (most recently measured at a 32% reduction), which can be attributed to:
      • Energy efficiency projects like building automation systems, LED lights, and more
      • Investment in cleaner electricity by TVA and KUB

Municipal Emissions 2019    Municipal Emissions


Inventory Data

The files below contain raw inventory data by sector and scope. If an inventory is revised for accuracy, there will be a note of the most recent revision.

COMMUNITY INVENTORY
Inventory Year Raw Data File Revisions
2019 xlsx  
2015 xlsx  
2012 xlsx  
2005 xlsx
 
CITY GOVERNMENT INVENTORY
Inventory Year Raw Data File Revisions
2019 xlsx  
2015 xlsx  
2012 xlsx  
2005 xlsx  

*Note that Scope 2 transportation emissions (from electric vehicles) cannot be individually calculated,
but are included in the Building sector(s).


  Click image for full-size versionGPC BASIC+ reporting protocol
Inventory Methodology

The Office of Sustainability uses the prominent GPC BASIC+ reporting standard to calculate our inventories. Click chart at right to view the sectors and scopes included in the BASIC+ protocol.

Our inventories measure carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N20). 


Definitions

- CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) - Each GHG has unique chemistry that impacts the climate differently: some are very powerful but short-lived, while some last a long time in the atmosphere but impact it less. CO2e is a measurement used to compare the warming impact of different GHGs over a given period of time using one standard unit. For example, 1 unit of methane (CH4) has the warming impact of approximately 30 units of CO2, so 1 metric ton of CH4 = 30 MTCO2e. In GHG inventories, CO2e is the sum of all measured greenhouse gases multiplied by their individual global warming potential factors. For more information, visit EPA's Global Warming Potential website.

• Scope 1 - Direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by the reporting entity (City government or Knoxville community). These emissions are caused by directly combusting fossil fuels such as gasoline or natural gas. Example: Driving a gasoline car or using a natural gas furnace.

• Scope 2 - Indirect emissions from sources owned or controlled by a reporting entity (City government or Knoxville community). These emissions are caused by the combustion of fossil fuels to produce grid electricity - so while turning on a lightbulb doesn't emit GHGs, the power plant that powers the lightbulb's electricity does. Example: Using grid electricity to turn on a light or charge electronics.

• Scope 3 - Indirect emissions from the entire value chain of a reporting entity (City government or Knoxville community). These emissions are caused by the combustion of fossil fuels to produce goods or services 'upstream'. Example: Generating waste but disposing of it in a landfill out of the reporting boundary, or purchasing goods manufactured outside of City bounds.