Report shows greenhouse gas and nitrogen inventory for Dover’s municipal operations
DOVER, N.H. – The City of Dover’s Planning and Community Development Department announces the publication of its first greenhouse gas and nitrogen inventory for municipal and school operations. It is believed to be the first report in North America completing an analysis of both reactive nitrogen impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. The report is a result of a University of New Hampshire Sustainability Fellowship undertaken by UNH doctoral student Jackson Kaspari and hosted by the City of Dover.
Conducting a greenhouse gas (GHG) and nitrogen inventory serves a number of purposes, primarily by allowing a municipality to develop a baseline analysis to which future emissions and costs may be compared. Dover’s report also provides a picture of how various city operations, facilities, and policies contribute individually to the gases and reactive nitrogen released into the atmosphere and surface waters. Identifying individual impacts then enables city leaders to target specific reductions to the overall municipal impact, such as retrofitting a facility with LED lighting, or transitioning vehicles in the fleet from diesel to gasoline, or from gasoline to electric.
In addition to aiding goal setting around existing structures and practices, the inventory provides theoretical reduction scenarios estimating the impact of possible actions such as installing solar arrays at city-owned properties like the closed Tolend
Road landfill. The analysis also illustrated the significant impacts of a recent project, the retrofit of 1,781 streetlights with LED fixtures and smart controls, which resulted in a reduction in GHG emissions and cost savings that will quickly pay for the cost of the retrofit.
Calendar years 2016 and 2017 were chosen as a baseline for the analysis and to provide an example of changes from year to year. Overall, municipal and school operations generated 9,896 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT of CO2e) in 2016 and 9,560 MT of CO2e in 2017, representing a 3.4 percent reduction from year to year. Reactive nitrogen released to the environment was 40 MT and 42.3 MT in 2016 and 2017, respectively, or a 5.4 percent increase.
This report comes as Dover completes its first two solar photovoltaic installations on municipally owned properties. The first, a 102-kilowatt (kW) array on the roof of the Dover Indoor Pool and Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, celebrates a ribbon cutting this month. The second, a 912-kW array on the roof of the new Dover High School, will be online in the spring. UNH Fellow Kaspari calculated the impacts the systems should have in their first year. Together, the two systems are projected to produce 1,175,153 kilowatt hours of electricity per year and reduce GHG emissions by 106.9 MT of CO2e, representing 1.1 percent of the city’s overall annual carbon footprint.
The city’s recent efforts to establish its footprints, implement efficiency improvements, and create renewable electricity generation also come at a time when communities around the state and nation are committing to 100 percent renewable energy goals. The most common goal is to transition a municipality to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and its entire community to 100 percent renewable energy sources for all sectors by 2050. A few communities—Burlington, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; and Rock Port, Missouri—have already achieved 100 percent renewable electricity sources. While Dover has not yet made such a commitment, a group of citizens approached the Dover Energy Commission last year to ask that it be considered.
“We are looking into a goal of 100 percent renewable, but we don’t want to ask the City Council to set a goal without a plan to achieve it,” says Energy Commission Chair Walter King. “This report now gives us an important and requisite tool in identifying approaches and challenges in achieving such a goal. Some communities in New Hampshire, like Concord, Hanover, and Keene, have committed, and we’ve also been in touch with them to understand how they are moving forward.”
The carbon and nitrogen footprint baseline was compiled through the University of New Hampshire’s Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform (SIMAP), in accordance with the global standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The inventory is organized into categories, or sectors, which represent the major sources of carbon and nitrogen emissions. The sectors analyzed by the city include stationary fuels, purchased electricity, the municipal fleet, employee commuting, employee travel, fertilizer and animals, school cafeteria food, solid waste, paper use, transmission and distribution losses, and wastewater treatment. In addition to analyzing the energy use and GHG impacts for each sector, the city’s energy costs have also been calculated.
The report is available in the Planning and Community Development Department, the Dover Public Library, and online at: http://www.dover.nh.gov/government/city-operations/planning/. Those with further questions about the report may contact Assistant City Planner Elena Piekut at email@example.com or 516-6008. For more information on SIMAP, see www.unhsimap.org.
Kaspari, the report’s author and a 2018 graduate of UNH’s chemical engineering program, as well as St. Thomas Aquinas High School, has continued his research by pursuing a PhD in physical chemistry at the University. His work focuses on how atmospheric aerosols affect the Earth’s balance of energy received from sunlight and radiated back out of the atmosphere. Over the summer, he worked out of the Planning Department as one of 23 sustainability fellows pursuing challenging, multi-disciplinary projects based with organizations and communities throughout New England. For more information on the fellowship program, visit https://sustainableunh.unh.edu/.