Local Emissions Inventory

2010 Emissions
In October, 2013, the Delaware Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) released a detailed carbon emissions inventory for the whole Delaware Valley, including West Chester Borough. The numbers are encouraging. Overall, the region has reduced its emissions 9% below the 2005 inventory. and in West Chester Borough, we are 11% below 2005. That's fantastic and shows that we are trending in the right direction.

Reasons for Reduction
Some of the reduction is due to an increase in energy efficiency and people electing to use non-carbon polluting electricity sources like wind and solar. But some of this reduction is also likely due to the recession (a pause in growth) and energy source changes from coal to natural gas (which contributes less CO2 per BTU generated), rather than actual energy use reduction.

Progress Summaries
Access a detailed summary (PDF) of West Chester Borough's emissions and energy (BTU) progress by sector as compiled by BLUER Chair Dave Mazzocco. Also, see this progress as it's normalized (PDF) by population, built square feet, and weather.

Or view the DVRPC Summary and DVRPC interactive map and then access West Chester Borough to a detailed report of our carbon emissions for 2010.

Sector Numbers

Breaking the numbers down by sector (access the graphs to the right), we see that both residential and commercial GHG emissions are down by 13% and 17% respectively. But the mobile sector is up by 3%.

Smaller contributors are Landfill, Wastewater, Industrial Processes, Fugitive Methane, and Land-Use Changes. All but Industrial Processes are moving in the right direction.

Is This a Trend?
Well, we certainly hope so, but there are reasons to be skeptical. Certainly the residents and businesses of the borough did not just maintain our status quo - which would have resulted in a 1.5% increase in emissions per year, or about 9% over the 5 years between our 2 data points - 2005 and 2010. Instead we dropped by 11%. That's great and it's what we desperately need.
BLUER Diagram
Contributing Factors
Factors that we think contributed to our emissions reduction:
  • Utility transition from coal to natural gas supply. In 2005, PECO generated energy was 45% coal, 38% nuclear, 9.6% gas, 4% oil. In 2010, the mix was 43% nuclear, 35% coal, 17% gas, and 3.6% other. So the formula for calculating the carbon emissions per kWh produced moved in a favorable direction.
  • Energy efficiency and conservation - not much movement. Residential energy use (BBTUs from electricity and natural gas) was more or less flat. Commercial energy use was also flat (electric: 455 (2005) up to 475 (2010); natural gas: 327 (2005) down to 315 (2010).
  • Conversion to renewable energy sources - unfortunately it is not possible to learn this from the DVRPC data at this time. West Chester University has reduced its use of coal for electric generation and hot water.
  • Transportation - unfortunately the mobile energy sector has increased a bit. More public transportation and non-car options are needed.