Benton County Carbon Emissions

This chart shows the metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MT CO2e) emitted by county operations from 2002 to 2018, which includes emissions from electricity, natural gas, fleet fuel, and water.

Inventory Objectives
Benton County completed this carbon emissions inventory to analyze resource consumption of internal county operations. The inventory provides information on which utilities contribute most to our carbon emissions and what actions we can take to reduce them. The analysis will be used to measure progress of our greenhouse gas emission reduction goal for the internal Climate Action Plan, which was endorsed by the Board of Commissioners in September 2018. An updated version of the plan will be provided here shortly.

Carbon Emissions Inventory
Benton County emissions peaked in 2016 and have measured a 7% decreased through 2018. Although emissions have been on a downward trend, it is evident in the above graph that certain oddities exist. We have been steadily improving our utilities, fuel, and water tracking but some prior years lack complete data, which is reflected in certain inconsistencies in emissions. That being said, there are some specific explanations including:

  • In 2012 the Sunset Building was brought on board, which resulted in a significant overall increase in resource consumption and associated emissions.​
  • In 2015 Law Enforcement switched their fleet's main fuel source to propane, which caused a substantial drop in emissions.
  • In 2016 Facilities replaced most of the County's oil run boilers with high efficiency natural gas heaters, which caused a spike in natural gas consumption in 2016. Although this reflects negatively on the emissions trend, it actually reduced overall County emissions because natural gas produces 27% fewer emissions than heating oil.  An increase in feet size also contributed to the inventory results.

We are confident that efforts to fulfill the action items in the plan and the commitment from the Board of Commissioners, Departments, and Staff will ensure that we will reach the County’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.