The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly affected the way Catholic University and the U.S. uses energy as a whole. Due to these similar worldwide efforts, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are trending downward. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), GHG emissions are expected to drop eight percent this year, which is the largest decrease in over a decade. In the District of Columbia, efforts to curb the spread of the virus included a Shelter-In-Place Order and a three-phase reopening plan. At Catholic University, virus mitigation meant ceasing in-person classes and online learning. As the University prepares to have students on campus in August 2020, now is a time to reflect on how much energy and GHG were saved.
On campus, the data tells a clear story. Campus facilities are powered by electricity, natural gas, and water. The 2020 Year-to-Date utility data (May is the latest full month of data), when compared to the same months in 2019, show a decline in use.