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USPS Touts GHG Cuts

The U.S. Postal Service has reported an eight percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a fiscal year 2008 baseline.

Reduced facility energy use represented almost half of the Postal Service’s GHG emissions decrease. What’s not clear is whether much falling mail volumes have affected USPS emissions figures as much as they have its finances.

Consumers’ increasing reliance on email and other forms of digital communications have led to dismal financial performance for the Postal Service, with a $2.2 billion loss in the most recent quarter – has affected the numbers, as mail volume falls and consumers rely more on email and other digital communications.

Beginning in March, the agency started the process of closing as many as 2,000 post offices, on top of the 491 it said it would close starting at the end of last year. So expect emissions to be down next year too.

“We are proud to have reduced our facility energy-related emissions 12 percent from FY 2008 to FY 2010 — enough to power approximately 39,000 average American households for a year,” says Tom Samra, vice president, facilities.

From FY 2003 to FY 2010, USPS reduced its facility energy use by 29.4 percent, or 9.9 trillion BTUs.

The Postal Service voluntarily reported its FY 2010 GHG emissions reduction progress according to Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance. USPS reported a reduction of 9.5 percent in facility energy and fuel use, and 7 percent in contracted transport, wastewater and solid waste.

While this is the Postal Service’s first fiscal year federal GHG emissions report, it is the agency’s fourth year of publicly reporting its GHG emissions.

The USPS has more than 44,000 alternative fuel-capable vehicles and it has been advocating “green mail delivery,”which includes nearly 10,000 “fleet of feet” walking routes, nearly 70 bicycle routes and close to 80,000 “park and loop” routes, where carriers deliver mail on foot after driving to neighborhoods.

The organization also has 400 cross-functional “Lean Green Teams” across the country.

The energy-conservation actions are part of a strategy USPS is using to meet its goals to reduce energy use in its facilities 30 percent by 2015 and GHG emissions 20 percent by 2020.

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