Climate Change

South Coast SCAQMD’s Carbon Footprint and Reduction Efforts

2009 Annual Report

The SCAQMD has a long history of reducing our environmental impact.  Recent efforts related to climate change include two SCAQMD policies that focus directly on reducing our carbon footprint, the incorporation of “green building” features at our Diamond Bar facility, and an increased usage of alternative fuel vehicles.  In 2008, the Climate Change Policy was approved by the SCAQMD’s Governing Board to direct the agency’s efforts on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and established the SCAQMD’s role in emerging greenhouse gas reduction programs.  Complementary to the Climate Change Policy, the Governing Board approved a Green Policy (PDF) in 2009 to help reduce the agency’s carbon footprint from building operations, purchases, and employee work-related activities.  One aspect of this policy was to establish a “Green Team” to evaluate potential practices, purchases, and other actions that can help to improve the current situation.  The “Green Team” is comprised of staff from every SCAQMD department.


Our Diamond Bar facility, home to the administrative and research activities of the agency, has many “green building” features.  Some of these features include state-of-the art fuel cells, 60-kilowatt micro turbines, high efficiency chillers, and energy efficient lighting.  The building’s exterior design includes windows of a high-efficiency glass which allows light in, but keeps heat out.  The building roof is a reflective material which aids in reducing air conditioning load during sunny days.  The SCAQMD roof is also home to three different types of solar panels.  

2009 Solar Panel Energy Production

Solar Power Energy Graph

Mobile Sources / Transportation

The SCAQMD maintains one of the largest alternatively-fueled vehicle fleets in the country.  Our cars run on electricity, compressed natural gas, gasoline, hydrogen or other hybrid combinations.  Between 2008 and 2009, our vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by unleaded gasoline fuel has decreased from 106,536 to 56,966 (46.5% reduction), and our VMT by CNG fuel has increased from 2,602,920 to 2,667,428 (2.5% increase).  In 2009, SCAQMD employees used CNG vehicles to travel 90.8% of the total miles driven, 7.3% by hybrid vehicles, and a minimal 1.9% by unleaded gasoline.  The following pie chart illustrates VMT by fuel type.

Vehicle Miles Traveled by Fuel Type

Vehicle MilesTravel


The SCAQMD is working toward its established goals including energy independence and efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction.  Ongoing energy efficiency efforts include the Diamond Bar facility’s rooftop solar panels (energy output can be seen here) and micro turbines to power the facility’s heating and cooling requirements.  The SCAQMD staff also reduces their carbon footprint through extensive ridesharing and by participating in a four-day work week to reduce commuter trips.

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the SCAQMD prepares an emissions inventory each year to identify the sources of our GHG emissions.  The SCAQMD’s GHG emissions were determined using total fuel usage and mileage.  This included the agency’s fleet vehicles, combustion sources, and total electricity usage.  Appropriate established emission factors and conversion factors were applied.  The total SCAQMD’s GHG emissions for calendar year 2009 are estimated to be 5,928 metric tons, of which, 672 are from mobile sources (agency fleet vehicles), 2,042 metric tons are from stationary combustion sources (facility natural gas usage), and 3,212 metric tons are from purchased electricity.

2009 Sources of SCAQMD Facility Greenhouse Gas Emissions

2009 GHG Sources

The SCAQMD has voluntarily prepared an annual GHG emissions inventory of our operations for the last 6 years.  The data for every calendar year since 2004 is provided in the chart below for public information.

Summary of Annual SCAQMD Facility Greenhouse Gas Emissions

SCAQMD Facilities

Water Conservation

The SCAQMD’s GHG inventory does not include indirect greenhouse gas emissions resulting from water usage.  Large amounts of energy are consumed during the pumping and treatment of water used by office buildings such as SCAQMD’s Diamond Bar facility.  The SCAQMD has tracked annual water consumption and has many programs in place to reduce water usage including drought tolerant landscaping and low-flush toilets.  The SCAQMD’s “Green Team” is also researching the potential feasibility of waterless urinals.  In 2009, the SCAQMD’s Diamond Bar facility consumed 14.9 million gallons of water for heating and cooling, lab equipment, restrooms, landscaping, and the cafeteria; a 277 thousand gallon reduction from the previous year.

Annual Water Consumption

Annual Water Consumption

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