GHG Introduction

MIT's Greenhouse Gas Inventory

Each year, MIT measures the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the operation of our campus to better understand our direct contribution to the heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere – the gases contributing to global climate change. This basis has long informed our carbon reduction strategies and allows for tracking progress over time. 

MIT Greenhouse Gas Emissions

total emissions year over year

Summary – Fiscal Year 2023 

In fiscal year 2023, there was a 2.4 percent reduction in building-related on-campus emissions over the previous year. Including all sources of campus emissions, as well as the impact of MIT’s current solar power purchase agreement (PPA), MIT’s net emissions in 2023 were 14 percent below the 2014 baseline. 
The reduction of campus emissions can be attributed to the first full-year of operation of MIT’s new cogeneration plant combined with several completed building-level energy efficiency projects. As the Institute has set a goal of campus decarbonization by 2050, stakeholders continue to lay the groundwork to accelerate campus decarbonization efforts through additional novel approaches. In the near-term, the Institute continues progress toward its 2026 goal of seeking a net-zero campus.

Alongside the efforts on campus, MIT is leading work with a number of partners to spur the creation of multiple large-scale renewable energy projects, including wind and solar. These projects will  have an immediate and significant impact of reducing emissions through the urgently-needed decarbonization of regional power grids.


More about MIT’s greenhouse gas inventory

The current inventory includes emissions associated with three primary sources: owned and leased buildings, specialty research and process gases, and campus vehicles. In May 2021 MIT released its latest climate action plan, Fast Forward: MIT’s Climate Action Plan for the Decade, outlining the ambitious goals to achieve net-zero campus carbon emissions by 2026 and eliminate all direct emissions by 2050.

Scope 3 Emissions

In 2019, the MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS) expanded upon a multi-year effort to build a preliminary picture of the Institute’s Scope 3, or indirect, GHG emissions. This is done to inform MIT’s total greenhouse gas emissions activities (Scopes 1 + 2 + 3) and explore where strategic opportunities may exist to reduce emissions beyond what MIT is currently tracking. This effort is developing additional emissions data associated with MIT’s purchased goods and services, MIT-sponsored travel, commuting, and capital goods (furniture, fixtures, tools, etc.) using the WRI & WBCSD GHG Protocol for Scope 3 framework.

The Role of Summit Farms Solar Power Purchase

Summit Farms Solar LLC is a solar photovoltaic facility in Currituck County North Carolina, operated by Dominion Energy. MIT has contracted through a long-term power purchase agreement for the purchase of 73% of the electricity produced. MIT has chosen to retire the renewable energy credits associated with the purchase.

solar ppa

The offsets produced by Summit Farms’ clean, emissions-free power are clear and tangible. The solar facility displaces more carbon-intensive sources of energy, in a region where forty percent of its power is generated from coal. In addition to displacing power, the solar farm has helped to facilitate the early retirement of a large coal-fired plant nearby, by providing substitute power to make up for the coal plant’s contractual peak-power delivery obligations. The owners of the coal plant are paying the purchasing partners (that include MIT) to provide substitute capacity as they come offline, making it economically feasible for the coal plant to retire ahead of schedule.

MIT Greenhouse Gas Inventory Resources
a screenshot of a two page brochure
2023 GHG Summary Report

A two-page information resource on progress towards MIT's Greenhouse Gas Goal in 2023.

open PDF of the brochure
2022 GHG Summary Report

A two-page informational handout on MIT's progress towards the GHG goal.

screenshot of brochure cover
2021 GHG Summary Report

A two-page information resource on progress towards MIT's Greenhouse Gas Goal in 2021.

2019 GHG summary
2014-2020 GHG Data

Download underlying energy and greenhouse data.

GHG Inventory
MIT GHG Inventory Overview

Learn more about our methodology and performance since 2014.

aerial image of MIT dome with batter illustration imposed over

Energize_MIT is an open energy data tracking tool supporting operational decision-making and research.

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