ANALYSIS OF DECARBONIZATION PATHS TO ACHIEVING NET ZERO AND BEYOND IN CHESTERFIELD COUNTY SCHOOLS
Greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to climate change and it is important for organizations such as schools to understand and manage their own emissions. A greenhouse gas emissions inventory is a systematic approach to measuring the amount of greenhouse gases an organization produces. This thesis presents the results of a three scope greenhouse gas emissions inventory of a school, including an analysis of the sources of emissions and their relative contributions. The inventory includes emissions from fuel burned for heat and transportation, local emissions from electricity demand, as well as downstream emissions from waste and recycling. Based on the results of the inventory, several initiatives were identified to reduce emissions at the school. These included energy efficiency improvements, such as weatherization and electrified heating systems, electrifying buses, as well as installing rooftop PV, and finally waste reduction efforts focused on increasing recycling. The theoretical implementation of these initiatives was found to be successful in reducing the school’s greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy credits were required to fully bring emissions down to and even below net zero. An analysis of the emissions reductions and costs associated with each initiative was also presented. Overall, this thesis demonstrates the importance of conducting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and implementing emission reduction initiatives in schools. It also provides a framework that can be used by other schools to assess and reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions.