2008 USPS Sustainability Report | Our Environment | Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Our Environment

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Climate change is a global issue with potential negative effects to natural systems, human health and economic prosperity. As a result, measuring and managing greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change is a major USPS management priority.

CY 2007 GHG Emissions by Type

Calendar Year 2007 GHG Emissions pie chart. 5.8 million metric tons (52%) from contract vehicles, 4.1 million (36%) from facilities, and 1.3 million (12%) from owned vehicles.

Our goal is to reduce overall emissions 20 percent by 2020. This includes direct emissions from our facilities and vehicles and indirect emissions from electricity use at our facilities ― typically referred to as Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions.

We’re working to increase our understanding of GHG impact, mitigate risks, ensure compliance with regulations and identify new business opportunities.

Our primary focus for GHG emissions is managing energy use from our facilities and vehicles. As mentioned earlier, USPS has undertaken several initiatives since 2003 to reduce energy use, including investing in facility energy efficiency, increasing alternative fuel use in our fleet and partnering with contract transportation providers to look for opportunities to reduce their fuel consumption and GHG emissions.

In 2008, we undertook our first full GHG emissions inventory that includes, among other emission sources, approximately 34,000 facilities, 220,000 vehicles and contracted surface and air transportation.

Did you know

The Postal Service is the first government agency to report its greenhouse gas emissions — and the first to receive third-party verification of its results.

Question Mark

We used calendar year 2007 as the inventory baseline for GHG emissions, in part due to our affiliation with the CCAR. As a founding member, we have committed to measure, verify and report GHG emissions annually based on the registry’s general reporting protocol. Our public emissions report for calendar year 2007 included both direct and indirect sources (Scope 1 and 2), as recommended by the CCAR protocol. This report, which was verified by a third party, is available at climateregistry.org.

For this report, we’ve also estimated the GHG emissions from contract transportation provider vehicles. Emissions from these sources are estimates and haven’t been verified by a third party.

In the coming years, we’ll include estimates of GHG emissions associated with employee business travel and commuting in our sustainability reporting.


The Postal Service recognizes the increasing importance of conserving water. We have several initiatives under way to minimize water use and improve water efficiency.

Surprisingly, although USPS has a significant number of buildings, restrooms represent our largest source of water consumption. Vehicle wash bays and landscape irrigation are the only other notable sources of water use.

Nevertheless, to reduce water consumption, we established building design standards that align with EPA WaterSense guidelines. The standards specify that any new buildings or major renovations will use low-flow, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures.

In addition, we are eliminating use of potable water for exterior irrigation at newly constructed buildings.

To better understand water-use patterns, we’re capturing water consumption data for 50 of our largest buildings and conducting energy audits, including water use, at our largest 2,000 buildings. This information will help us identify water-saving opportunities at other buildings.

Link to previous page “Our Environment part 3, Owned Vehicles and Contract Transportation” Link to next page “Our Environment part 5, Waste and Recycling”