top of page
Metal Pipe Network

Town Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report

In November 2022, our Town's Climate Smart Community Task Force determined that their primary goal would be to achieve Climate Smart Bronze Level Certification.  A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for Government Operations was an important first step to establish a baseline, and enable the town to track its progress toward reducing energy use.

Data Gathering and Methodology-

The Inventory includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions from government

operations as defined below:

 

Scope 1 Direct Emissions- these include emissions from government-owned vehicles and onsite fuel combustion (natural gas) for all Town municipal buildings and the outdoor community swimming pool facility.

 

Scope 2  Indirect Emissions- these emissions include purchased electricity for Town municipal buildings and outdoor lighting.

 

Scope 3 Emissions- these are indirect GHG emissions not included in Scope 1 or 2 emissions, and are not included in this report. They include emissions from vehicles not owned by the Town such as those used by commuting employees, emissions resulting from the manufacture of purchased items, and outsourced activities such as waste disposal.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e). The GHG tools used are compliant with the local government operations protocol (LGOP), and were provided by the NYS Climate Smart Communities program via a shared program portal. This report uses NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Community’s Clean Energy Upgrades Calculator; which uses Upstate NY 2018 eGrid factors to calculate GHG emissions.

The team developing the GHG Inventory worked with Town employees to gather the data needed, with guidance from the University at Buffalo Regional Institute. The team was comprised of members of ACES (Aurorans for Climate and Environmental Sense) who worked with members of the CSC Task Force to calculate the GHG emissions and develop the report.

This GHG Inventory is divided into three areas: 

  • Government Facilities 

  • Fuel for Vehicles  

  • Streetlights

  • The report covers 2021 and 2022.

  •  The Town of Aurora does not operate a wastewater facility or landfill, so the emissions from facilities, vehicles & streetlights represents more than 90% of the Town’s emissions.

  • The CSC Task Force continues to work with the local environmental group (ACES), which will make it possible to update this report yearly with support from relevant Town employees.

Government Facilities-

In June 2017 the Town of Aurora resolved to measure the energy use of municipal buildings and track that energy use over time, for all municipal buildings over 1,000 square feet, for which the Town was operationally responsible. The Town Clerk is responsible for paying bills, so midway through 2017 that office gathered all the electric and natural gas bills (related to the covered municipal buildings) for 2016, entered the data into the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager program, and posted the resulting energy and emissions use on the homepage of the Town’s website: www.townofaurora.com

Since 2017 staff from the Office of the Town Supervisor have repeated this process annually, by collecting the electric and natural gas use from invoices, inputting the data into EPA’s Portfolio Manager, and then posting the results on the Town website. Usually this work happens midway through the year, however this year they were able to do this earlier so we could include the facilities data from 2022 in this GHG Inventory report. Having this facilities data already collected and entered in Portfolio Manager was  invaluable in putting together this facilities section of the GHG Inventory.

 

The Facilities include both Scope 1 emissions resulting from natural gas provided by National Fuel, as well as Scope 2 emissions resulting from the electricity provided by NYSEG.  Portfolio Manager software gave us the energy use for 2021 and 2022 for both Scope 1 natural gas (in kBtu) and Scope 2 Electricity (kWh). We then converted the kBtu to therms and used NYSERDA’s Clean Energy Upgrades Calculator to give us the GHG emission totals (in MTCO2e).

The chart below summarizes the energy used by, and the resulting emissions from, the Town’s six facilities over 1,000 square feet:

Screenshot 2023-08-19 at 7.14_edited.jpg

Based on the information above, the Town-Village Hall and Senior Center are the highest energy consumers, and therefore account for the highest GHG emissions. All facilities showed increased GHG emissions with the exception of the Town Pool.  Although Scope 2 emissions generally stayed flat, increased Scope 1 emissions accounted for the 15.9 MTCO2e increase at the Town-owned facilities.

 

Aurora’s Highway Garage also shows higher Natural Gas consumption than any other facility in the Town’s portfolio, and more than doubles the Park’s Garage GHG emissions. Other seasonal facilities have lower GHG emissions. However, there are likely still opportunities to reduce emissions at Town facilities through increased efficiency and reduced Scope 1 (natural gas) emissions.

 

The following energy-use visualization graphs for town municipal buildings were created

by Annika Safford, an East Aurora resident and student at the University of Vermont.

(Source: Annika Safford-UVM '25 Public Communication, UVM Program Board/Director of Operations, UVMtv Vice President)

3.png
3_edited.jpg
Why Do Buildings Matter? 

Buildings are the single largest user of energy in NYS.  In 2017 the Town of Aurora passed a resolution establishing annual energy benchmarking requirements for municipal buildings 1000 sq ft or larger. Collecting, reporting, and sharing

building energy data allows municipalities and the public to understand the

energy performance of municipal buildings and help the Town of Aurora

make smarter, more cost-effective operational and capital investment decisions, reward efficiency, and drive improvement.

Fleet Fuels-

The Town of Aurora purchases diesel fuel and gasoline from KURK Fuel Services of Buffalo. The fuel is delivered to the Highway Department where it is used by vehicles in the town departments including Highway, Parks, Dog Control and the Senior Van. In addition, some of the fuel is used by, and billed to, other organizations such as the South Wales Fire Department, the West Falls Fire Department, and Rural Outreach vehicles. The gasoline and diesel fuels used by the vehicle fleet are all Scope 1 emissions.

 

The Highway Department clerk supplied us with a list of the KURK invoices from 2021 and 2022 and we separated them by month and fuel type. For 2021, and 2022, we were also given the amount of money billed to the outside organizations who used this fuel. The remainder was used by Town vehicles.

Screenshot 2023-08-19 at 7.14.37 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-08-19 at 7.14.57 PM.png

The above chart shows that gasoline use increased by 2% while diesel consumption grew by 31%, still not enough to cause the doubling of cost that we noticed in the chart of fuel costs. It turned out that gas and diesel costs increased by 69% and 60% respectively (see chart below), so increased fuel costs were a large reason for the total increase in payments to KURK.

Screenshot 2023-08-19 at 7.15.22 PM.png

Although the KURK invoices distinguished between diesel and gas, we did not have that breakdown for the fuel used by Town vehicles. However, we did know that the fuel used by the Town represented 81.3% of the 2021 total cost, and 82.6% of the 2022 total cost. So we estimated that the Town vehicles used 82% of the gas and diesel in each of those years.  It was notable that vehicle fuel costs doubled from 2021 to 2022.

We also thought that COVID probably impacted the fuel consumption in 2021 so we did a quick comparison with 2019. If we compare 2022 gasoline consumption to 2019 it actually declined by 9% while diesel increased by 7.7%. The total GHG emissions for 2019 were 241.2 MTCO2e, which you can compare to 2021 and 2022 below:

GHG conversions are taken from EPA.gov equivalencies: .010180 MTCO2e/gal diesel /.0088870 MTCO2e/gal gasoline

So, although the total GHG emissions for 2022 are substantially higher than 2021, they are basically the same as in 2019.  Of course, there are always variations depending on how much plowing needs to be done, how much brush needs to be picked up, and how busy the other vehicles are. 

In August 2022, the Town’s Highway Department began using EKOS software which tracks total fuel usage and cost (for diesel and gasoline). Going forward it will be easy to get specific fuel usage and cost for each group in the Town that uses the fuel purchased by the Highway Department. This will make it easier to make targeted plans to reduce fuel usage.

Streetlights-

The Town Clerk’s office supplied the GHG Inventory team with monthly NYSEG invoices for the Town’s three lighting districts covering 2021 and 2022. This information was entered into spreadsheets which are attached to this report.

 

In 2021 the streetlights used 61,061 kWh of purchased electricity (Scope 2 emissions), producing 14,258 pounds of CO2 emissions, or 6.5 metric tons. In 2022 the streetlights used 61,229 kWh of purchased electricity producing 14,297 pounds of CO2 emissions or 6.5 metric tons.

 

 The Town converted its street lighting to Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology in 2019 and saw significant energy and cost savings. Because this GHG report is accounting for energy consumption after the conversion had already taken place, we were unable to assess the GHG reductions attributed to the lighting conversion. LED Street lighting is known to use about 65% less energy than traditional street lighting. 

Summary

In summary, here is a simple chart with GHG Totals (MTCO2e) for the three areas of this report — Facilities, Fuel, Streetlights  — for 2021 and 2022.

Screenshot 2023-08-19 at 7.16.24 PM.png

Overall, Town Facilities and Vehicle Fleet account for the highest GHG emissions. These emissions are largely due to high Scope 1 emissions at Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Highway Garage. Both heating fuel, and Fleet Fuels account for the highest total GHG emissions. Scope 2 emissions are highest at the shared Town-Village Hall facility as well as the Senior Center, two of the Town’s newest facilities.

 

It is recommended to review and update this GHG report on a regular basis to help inform decision makers regarding the Town’s carbon footprint, and opportunities to reduce energy consumption and related costs moving forward. Some additional next steps have been outlined below to help Aurora begin to address emissions from government operations.

 

Facilities-

Aurora’s building stock generates the largest amount of Greenhouse Gasses according to this report. The Senior Center and Town-Village Hall are the two largest energy consuming facilities, and also account for over 60% of the Town’s facilities’ total square footage. Because the Town-Village Facility is the newest facility in Town it may benefit from the addition of renewable energy to offset the high energy consumption at the location.

 

The Aurora Highway garage should also be examined to find ways to reduce scope 1 (natural gas) related emissions. By improving the building envelope, heating systems, lighting, and making improvements where possible the Town is likely to eliminate energy waste and reduce associated emissions.

 

Other opportunities for reducing GHGs at government facilities could be identified through energy assessments that identify specific interventions that would improve building performance and reduce operational costs by increasing efficiency. Energy Assessments are also considered “Priority Actions'' in the NYS DEC’s Climate Smart Communities program.

 

NYSERDA’s FlexTech program covers 50% of the cost of energy assessments, and would allow Aurora to develop a comprehensive list of energy saving projects across Town Facilities. Assessments can be focused on the Town’s largest polluters, or can include all facilities for a more comprehensive look at energy performance across the entire portfolio of facilities.

Fleet Fuels-

Because the fleet related emissions are nearly equal to that of the Town’s total building portfolio, it would likely benefit Aurora to develop a Fleet Inventory and Fleet Efficiency Policy. By creating a fleet inventory and updating it on a regular basis, local governments can identify, for example, which vehicles are the least fuel-efficient and develop a plan to replace them with vehicles that serve the same function but are more efficient. The difference between 25 miles per gallon and 20 miles per gallon can amount to the prevention of 10 tons of carbon dioxide over a vehicle's lifetime. Converting to electric vehicles would have additional beneficial GHG reductions for the Town’s vehicle fleet.

 

There are annual funding opportunities through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) that can help pay for these activities as part of the Climate Smart Communities program.

Lighting-

Although the Town has already addressed street lighting by converting outdated lights to LED, it may also want to consider converting other outdoor lighting to LED. Traditional Lighting (Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, or Mercury Vapor) consumes up to 65% more energy than LED lighting so converting outdoor lighting to LED (or eliminating unnecessary lighting) will also help reduce energy costs and consumption related to lighting. 

bottom of page