Reducing carbon is one of the City's overarching sustainability objectives. The 2030 Environmental Performance Objectives for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and fleet vehicles are designed to keep the City's carbon emissions trend tracking downward. For example, investments in energy efficiency reduce the City's dependence on electricity and natural gas used to power and heat our facilities.
Since 2006, the City of Portland has been tracking trends in carbon emissions from its own operations. As of FY 18-19, emissions from City operations are 41 percent below FY 06-07 levels. We are well on track to achieve the goal of reducing emissions from City operations 53 percent below 2006 levels by 2030.
The overall decline in emissions is the result of state and regional policies, like Oregon's renewable portfolio standard, which have reduced the carbon intensity of the Pacific Northwest’s electricity grid. It is also due to significant investments the City has made in energy efficiency and onsite renewable energy generation over the last fifteen years.
City of Portland total carbon emissions
Percent change in carbon emissions from FY 06-07
The City's investment in LED traffic signals and street lighting has contributed to a 66 percent reduction in energy use from traffic signals and street lighting since 2006.
Onsite renewable energy generation - like biogas and solar – has increased six-fold. One project, nicknamed “Poop to Power”, will use the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) produced to power some of the City’s vehicles. The City’s investments in renewable energy directly reduce the amount of grid electricity purchased through local utilities.
Efforts to increase waste recovery prevents waste from ending up in the landfill, where methane emissions result from the breakdown of carbon based solid waste. As a greenhouse gas, methane is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Even water conservation has carbon reduction benefits, as electricity is used to pump water from the groundwater aquifer, and pump stations across the City move wastewater to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.