The U.S. Postal Service voluntarily conducted an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to establish a baseline for future annual evaluations to help meet its goal to reduce GHG emissions 20 percent by 2020. The Postal Service also has set goals to reduce energy use 30 percent and petroleum fuel use 20 percent by 2015.
Although the agency is exempt from the recent Executive Order establishing energy guidelines, the Postal Service voluntarily determined its GHG emissions and is the only federal agency to publicly report them. According to the report, based on an analysis of emissions in 2007, the Postal Service’s direct GHG emissions totaled 5.3 million tons, which is 1 twentieth of 1 percent of the total GHG emissions in the U.S.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this is roughly the equivalent of 1 million gasoline cars driving an average of 12,000 miles on the road each year.
The greenhouse gas report, conducted by Ryerson, Master and Associates Inc. and verified by Det Norske Veritas, studied emissions from Postal Service facility and vehicle operations in 50 states and five U.S. territories. The Postal Service also exceeded the standard requirements for reporting GHG emissions to include emissions from contract air, highway, rail and ship transportation. The study was independently certified by The Climate Registry (TCR).
Contracted transportation accounts for 52 percent of the Postal Service’s carbon emissions. Emissions from facilities represent 36 percent, while only 12 percent of its carbon footprint is attributed to vehicles due to the Postal Service’s use of 43,000 alternative fuel-capable vehicles.
Other environmental achievements for the Postal Service in 2009 include saving $3 million and nearly 100 million kilowatts of electricity, avoiding $1.05 million in costs via green information technology initiatives, and helping customers divert 24,000 tons of paper from landfills with a recycling initiative in 6,000 Post Office Box lobbies around the country.
The federal agency also increased its use of alternative fuel by 61 percent since 2005, retired 10,000 non-energy efficient vehicles from its fleet, and is testing electric, propane and natural gas mail delivery vehicles. The Postal Service also claims New York city’s largest green roof.