Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reduction at the National Institutes of Health: Challenges and Opportunities

Edward Rau, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health

As one of the largest laboratory facilities in the world, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland, is a large direct user of energy and source of Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gases (GHGs). Employee commuting, business travel, and a vast array of service and supply chains that support mission activities are also significant sources of indirect emissions of Scope 3 GHG. To meet the requirements of Executive Order 13514, several GHG accounting and reduction initiatives are being implemented through NIH's environmental management system. These include participation in the development and testing of the provisional Public Sector Protocol for GHG accounting and preparation of an inventory of ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential chemicals with specific uses in biomedical research laboratories and information on less damaging alternatives. An overview of these initiatives, preliminary GHG accounting data, and plans for attaining reduction targets will be presented.


Captain Edward Rau has over 36 years of experience as an environmental health officer specializing in hazardous materials and waste management. After retiring last year from the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, he returned to the Division of Environmental Protection at NIH, where he serves as a project leader and expert advisor for environmental compliance, sustainability, and laboratory decommissioning initiatives at NIH's biomedical and biodefense facilities.