Getting Started: Decarbonization Basics

As more organizations continue – and start – their journey to decarbonize their buildings, DOE has assembled useful resources and information to help provide guidance. This page will help guide you through the basics of carbon reduction, from understanding common terminology to best practices for identifying carbon reduction opportunities.

Once you understand the basics, you can explore the rest of the Decarbonization Resource Hub.

Carbon Dioxide Emissions
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Carbon Dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted through human activities. This page explains the common sources of carbon dioxide and the trend of emissions in recent years. 

Energy and the Environment Explained
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 
Understanding the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and the climate is key to understanding why decarbonization is necessary. 

Climate Terms and Tools
U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) 
Understanding climate change's unique vocabulary is the first step towards making a plan for reducing commercial emissions. 

Scope 1 and Scope 2 Inventory Guidance 
There is more than one way to produce greenhouse gases. This diagram can help explain the categorization of carbon emissions into Scope 1 and Scope 2. 

Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
This IPCC special report explores the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. 

GHG Reduction Programs and Strategies  
This page outlines a range of strategies to help organizations identify and implement GHG emission reduction opportunities.

Now you are ready to explore all the resources in the Decarbonization Resource Hub