As part of our District Assessment phase, SDG&E worked to calculate the 2012 greenhouse gas emissions/inventory for the North Park Main Street business district.
A greenhouse gas inventory is an accounting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted to or removed from the atmosphere over a period of time.
Why calculate this seemingly un-relatable number, you ask…
Estimating GHG emissions enables us to create an emissions baseline. From there we can monitor progress, take a closer looks at relative contributions of emission sources (such as GHG from energy use vs. GHG from transportation), communicate with stakeholders, and create an informed reduction strategy based on this information.
Before sharing the numbers, let us share some details on the data:
- The GHG emission calculation includes the following sources: business energy use, business solid waste generation, and transportation within the district.
- Energy data is the aggregate of the 500+ businesses within the North Park Main Street jurisdiction. Click here for a map showing the NPMS jurisdiction boundary.
However, there were about 80 businesses that did not show up in SDG&E’s system and all home based businesses were excluded. So, consider his number to have an approximate short coming of up to 15%.
- Material Waste data represents the best available data provided by the City of San Diego. However, only about 150 businesses were recognized in their system and all home based businesses were excluded. This is in part because a number of North Park businesses share waste services; therefore, the data likely represents many more than just the 150 business on record. Also, potential data quality issues are always a factor.
- Transportation data includes vehicle trips that start and end within the district. It does not include ‘pass through’ vehicle trips. Also, the data came from a traffic study conducted by San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). The study had an area boundary slightly larger than the NPMS boundary.
A now for the numbers! Here’s what we found:
|TOTAL (Metric tons of CO2 Equivalent)||41,412.06|
But much better to translate 41,412.06 Metric tons of CO2 equivalent into something we can begin to understand!
The 2012 North Park GHG emissions is similar to:
- Annual greenhouse gas emissions from 8,628 passenger vehicles
- CO2 emissions from the energy use of 2,131 homes for one year
- Carbon sequestered annually by 33,944 acres of U.S. forests
- Greenhouse gas emissions avoided by recycling 15,510 tons of waste instead of sending it to the landfill
This data leads to two natural questions:
How does this compare to GHG emissions from other business districts of similar size? This will be hard to analyze as it is very rare for business districts to calculate to take GHG inventory. We are looking for other ways to put the total number in perspective.
What are the easiest ways to reduce emissions within the business district? For the short term, reducing business energy use and solid waste generation are key goals. We are currently working with San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC) to develop a Small Business Protocol that will allows individual businesses to calculate their energy, water and material waste benchmark and work towards reductions. Also, the Serious Trash Talk program is aiming to promote recycling and composting in NP. Transportation is a longer term strategy and requires collaboration with the City. This is a key priority for North Park.
For more information or to share your thoughts, please write to email@example.com.