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Key Achievements


Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Campus Energy

Progress

Solar Field
  • Campus emissions have declined by 2.6 percent since 2008, even with the addition of more than 560,000 square feet of building space.
  • Electricity usage by the campus increased only by 3.9 percent from 2008 to 2011.
  • Since the Energy Master Plan was established in 2008, the University has invested $5.3 million in energy-savings projects, resulting in annual savings of about $1.7 million in energy costs and 10,000 metric tons of CO2
  • An additional 5 percent (equal to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2) of the University's operational strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions were determined this past year, bringing the total of known strategies needed to achieve its 2020 goal to 84 percent. At the outset of the Sustainability Plan in 2008, the University had identified only 70 percent of the strategies needed to reach the goal.

What's Next

  • Complete construction of a 5.2-megawatt solar collector field.
  • Audit the remaining 20 of the top 50 energy-consuming buildings.
  • Identify the remaining, currently unknown, 16 percent of the operational strategies needed to achieve the 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal.

Green Building

Progress

HPCRC
  • Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) studies, including a CO2 tax, informed decision-making processes in selecting several sustainability elements in recent new construction, including graduate housing at the Hibben-Magie site; the High-Performance Computing Research Center; the Neuroscience and Psychology Buildings; and the Andlinger Laboratory.
  • These same techniques have been used with major renovations, such as those at Jadwin Hall, where the work is designed to reduce energy costs by 45 percent compared to the original building; and Firestone Library.
  • As an authorized U.S. Green Building Council Education Provider, the Facilities Organization has offered more than 30 hours of sustainability-related continuing education credits over the past two years, including in-depth coursework specific to Princeton. About 30 staff members are LEED-Accredited Professionals.

What's Next

  • Test new materials (such as finishes) and processes (such as coordinated construction material recycling) in small renovations.
  • Roll out updated Sustainable Building Guidelines in the March 2012 release of the Facilities Design Standards Manual, including refinements to construction waste management practices and electronic document management systems to reduce paper usage.
  • Continue to apply LCCA to the development of major projects, as well as minor projects where appropriate. Continue to assemble an LCCA case library and apply accumulated LCCA knowledge to the development of building projects.

» View Green Building section

Transportation

Progress

UBikes
  • From 2010 to 2011, there was a 98 percent increase in the number of campus community members participating in Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs. A majority of the 700 now involved are benefiting from program incentives.
  • In the 2011 fiscal year, 186 commuters participated in the mass transit program, which provides a 50 percent subsidy to eligible commuters. This subsidy program was extended to include graduate students beginning in July 2011.
  • From 2010 to 2011, more than 603,000 rides were taken on the campus shuttle service, an increase of about 2 percent, or 13,000 rides, over the previous year.
  • There are 350 participants in the WeCar program implemented in March 2010. Six WeCars are available for faculty, staff and students to rent by the hour or the day.
  • More than 150 bicycles (a combination of new and refurbished abandoned) are maintained by the student-run U-Bikes rental and bikeshare program for students, faculty and staff. In 2011, the waiting list exceeded 350 people for this campuswide service.


What's Next

  • Further develop TDM incentive programs, including proposing a subsidy for train station parking; increasing the number of preferred parking spaces for car and van pool participants; and increasing car pool incentives.
  • Conduct a study of more ways to share University-owned vehicles, including options for centralized charging stations for electric vehicles, with a goal of reducing the campus fleet by 5 percent in 2012.
  • Consider lowering the WeCar rate one day a week, increasing the WeCar fleet and exploring electric WeCar options.
  • Track vehicle miles traveled by commuter cars to report on related emissions reductions.
  • Implement a campus Bike Master Plan.
  • Continue to work with key external public transportation partners (e.g., New Jersey Transit) to identify methods to improve service and access for commuters.

» View Transportation section
 


Resource Conservation

Dining

Progress

Waste Oil
  • University sustainable food purchases increased from 36 percent in 2007 to 66 percent in 2011.
  • Local food purchases (within 250 miles) increased from 27 percent in 2007 to 59 percent in 2011.
  • The relative carbon footprint of approximately 150 common food items was determined over the past year in preparation for smartphone app development and dining hall displays.
  • By summer 2011, the “tray-free” dining policy adopted by the Princeton Sustainability Committee was successfully implemented in all six residential dining halls. Tray-free dining (providing larger plates and glasses and eliminating trays) has the potential to reduce water usage and energy costs by $4,000 per year, save up to 1.2 percent on food purchases, reduce food waste by up to 30 percent, and avoid more than 23 metric tons of CO2 emissions. 
  • All of Princeton's Dining Services food waste — 1,116 tons in 2010 — is recycled by a local pig farmer. And 100 percent of waste frying oil produced in the 2011 fiscal year (2,665 gallons) was recycled into biodiesel off site.

What's Next

  • Develop a dining carbon-footprint display and an application for use on mobile devices.
  • Devise a new tracking method to better quantify the amount of food waste generated per capita, and continue to evaluate on-site food waste recycling alternatives, including composting.
  • Continue to explore the feasibility of a "daylight dining" program in which dining halls turn off overhead lights and rely on ambient lighting, with the potential to avoid 12.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

» View Dining section

Purchasing

Progress

Sustainability_openhouse
  • The University purchased 29 percent less paper in 2011 than in 2008. Campuswide deployment of multifunction copiers/scanners contributed to this 69-ton reduction.
  • A total of 83 percent of the amount of paper the University purchased in 2011 was 100 percent post-consumer recycled chlorine-free paper, up from 81 percent in 2010 and 77 percent in 2009.
  • More than 43 percent by volume (66 percent by dollars spent) of chemical cleaners and soaps purchased in 2011 were Green Seal certified. This represents a nearly 30 percent increase in volume and an 11 percent increase in spending over the previous year. The total volume of cleaning chemicals purchased decreased by 30 percent between fiscal year 2010 and 2011.
  • In the spring of 2011, Purchasing held a Sustainability Fair that featured more than a dozen University departments and vendors. In June 2011, the Office of Finance and Treasury held its first Sustainability Fair.

What's Next

  • Complete the pilot phase of the Vendor Practices Life Cycle Assessment tool and subsequent certification program, and integrate it into the University’s purchasing system.
  • Develop a program to promote the purchase of remanufactured toner cartridges and the recycling of toner cartridges.
  • Increase departmental compliance with the University’s 100 percent recycled paper purchasing policy, in part by investigating ways to reduce the price of the 100 percent recycled, chlorine-free paper.

» View Purchasing section

Waste Reduction

Progress

EcoReps
  • From 2006 to 2010, overall campus landfill waste decreased by 13 percent, from 842 to 732 pounds per capita.
  • The University purchased about 4 percent less paper in fiscal year 2011 than 2010 (29 percent less than 2008), avoiding the use of an estimated 25 tons of wood products and the emission of 20 tons of CO2.
  • The total volume of cleaning chemicals purchased decreased by 30 percent between fiscal year 2010 and 2011, primarily due to the transition to "blue-cleaning" equipment that cleans with water.

What's Next

  • Assemble a cross-departmental team to expand the "Print Less" initiative, which is reducing the number of sheets of office paper printed in printer clusters and public libraries.
  • Evaluate a proposal for the elimination of 65 dumpster sites on campus in favor of centralized compactor locations.
  • Pilot a single-stream recycling program and compare it with the existing sorting system to determine if there is resulting behavior change and increased recycling rates.

» View Waste Reduction section

Landscape

Progress

New pathways
  • In the past year, more than five acres of woodlands were restored along Washington Road and the Boathouse Walk, and roughly four acres of green space were reconstructed along Shapiro Walk, the Sciences Green and the Ellipse. In total, 215 new trees and 197 new shrubs were planted.
  • Synthetic fertilizer use decreased approximately by 20 percent this past year on the 635 acres of campus managed by the grounds and building maintenance department. Pesticide use on campus has decreased from more than 5,000 gallons in 2007 to slightly more than 1,500 gallons in 2010.
  • Nearly 100 percent of the leaves and landscape trimmings collected on campus are composted. More than 1,500 cubic yards of soil excavated from campus construction sites in the past year was mixed with the University's compost, as well as on-site sand, and turned into a high-quality topsoil for reuse in ongoing landscape projects.
  • To encourage walking and biking, nearly a mile of paths and walkways was added to the campus in the past year, contributing to a total of about 55 miles.

What's Next

  • Complete restoration of four acres of woodland as part of the Washington Road stream project.
  • Continue to provide better connections to campus for pedestrians and bicycles by extending sidewalks and constructing new walkways.
  • Continue pursuing projects as guided by the Landscape Master Plan within the Campus Plan, including implementing long-term walkway and open space enhancements and the campus wayfinding program, and formulating a new list of landscaping projects.

» View Landscape Stewardship section

Domestic Water

Progress

Freedom Fountain
  • Overall campus water usage was approximately 13 percent lower in fiscal year 2011 than in fiscal year 2006.
  • Since 2006, water usage in the residence halls alone has declined by 30 percent (18 million gallons), due to the installation of low-flow fixtures and efficient clothes washing machines, among other water-saving measures.
  • A rainwater and condensate collection system at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory has provided enough water for all toilet flushing needs since the building opened in fall 2010, reducing building water usage.
  • A new "PowerPure" water treatment system is being piloted at the Baker Rink cooling tower to cool the rink ice. This system uses an electronic process rather than chemicals to remove dissolved solids from evaporated water. The system annually will save more than an estimated 140,000 gallons of water.

What's Next  

  • Implement the PowerPure system at the new High-Performance Computing Research Center.
  • Track water usage reduction resulting from the rainwater collection system at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory.
  • Compile and track installations of low-flow fixtures and aerators.

» View Domestic Water section

Stormwater Management

Progress

Frick rain garden
  • As part of the University's Campus Plan, stormwater management practices have been integrated into the Frick Chemistry Laboratory and its surrounding landscape, including green space, rain gardens and a 12,000-gallon rainwater harvesting tank. On an annual basis, the Frick stormwater management project is estimated to reduce the volume of stormwater discharge by 583,270 gallons, with an additional 582,860 gallons of stormwater estimated to be reused annually.
  • Real-time performance data from the Butler College green roofs are continuing to be monitored by faculty and students. In most cases, the green roof is delaying, lowering the rate and reducing the volume of stormwater runoff, compared to the conventional roof.

What's Next  

  • Complete the Washington Road stream restoration and study its impact on local water quality, and during peak runoff events.
  • Install real-time green roof performance data at the electronic building performance dashboard in Butler College.
  • Assemble and analyze data on Frick Chemistry Laboratory rainwater and condensate collection.
  • Incorporate sustainable stormwater strategies into all upcoming major building projects.

» View Stormwater Management section


Research, Education & Civic Engagement

Research & Education

Progress

Freshman seminar
  • A total of 192 registered undergraduates — 19 percent more than in 2010 — representing 19 academic disciplines participated in the Program in Environmental Studies in 2011. Fifty-seven undergraduates received environmental studies certificates in 2011, quadruple the number in 2002.
  • Princeton currently offers 60 unique undergraduate and graduate courses among four academic areas that address sustainability by exploring some aspect of the intersection between the environment, economics and society.
  • During the 2010-11 academic year, eight Ph.D. candidates participated in the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy. This program provides fellowship support for students to develop the environmental policy dimension of their graduate theses. A total of 49 students have enrolled since the program's advent in 2000.
  • About 20 percent of graduating seniors in 2011 participated in PEI's undergraduate program during their four years at Princeton, including combined experiences pursuing certificates, coursework, internships and independent research.
  • During the 2011 summer PEI/Grand Challenges season, 111 Princeton undergraduate students from 22 majors interned in 21 countries around the globe, researching and working to address a variety of environmental- and sustainability-related topics.
  • Since 2008, assisted by the High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund, the Princeton Sustainability Committee, together with the Office of Sustainability, has awarded support for 11 often multiyear faculty research projects, and 37 grants to students and staff, to investigate sustainability solutions using the campus as a laboratory. Each faculty research project has engaged undergraduate and graduate student research teams.

What's Next

  • Work with faculty to more specifically define what a sustainability-focused or -related course is.
  • Continue to develop ongoing financial support for research fellowships, course-related fieldwork, internships and undergraduate research.
  • Continue to define the role of sustainability in the existing University curriculum, both graduate and undergraduate, and explore how to develop a more cohesive curriculum around the environment and sustainability.
  • Establish an annual call for proposals to encourage faculty to redirect research to target areas and develop courses and opportunities for mentoring undergraduate and graduate students; recruit faculty scholars in target areas.

» View Research & Education section

Student Initiatives

Progress

EcoReps
  • Since 2006, the Office of Sustainability has coordinated biweekly Princeton Environmental Network (PEN) meetings for all leaders of environmental- and sustainability-focused student clubs and organizations. The groups currently active in PEN represent more than 1,000 Princeton students.
  • The recruitment and engagement of undergraduate student ambassadors for recycling and resource conservation in the residential colleges — the EcoReps — has continued. Under the sponsorship of the Office of Sustainability in partnership with Building Services and the student-based PEN during the past three years, there have been consistently more than a dozen active EcoReps.
  • Student groups have organized activities ranging from recycling efforts at Reunions and a pilot residential education program on sustainability in Rockefeller College to the fourth annual Earth Week Fest and a panel discussion on "Food Access and Health in the Urban Context."

What's Next

  • Increase student involvement in global/national climate change and sustainability campaigns.
  • Explore new common student advertising/promotional spaces as an alternative to postering on campus to reduce waste.
  • Develop a venue for students to present their initiatives and research using the campus as a laboratory for sustainability problem-solving.
  • Expand community outreach activities, such as student involvement in the biennial campuswide Sustainability Open House.

» View Student Initiatives section

Campus Programs

Progress

Sustainability_openhouse
  • In fall 2010, the Office of Sustainability partnered with several other offices to produce its second biennial Sustainability Open House for the campus and local community. More than 40 campus and community groups staffed interactive displays and demonstrations to showcase their sustainability efforts to an audience of more than 500 participants.
  • The Office of Sustainability built upon its guided Green Tour launched in 2010 by developing a self-guided tour on the iPrinceton app.
  • As part of the Universitywide "Drink Local" initiative, more than 60 existing fountains and common room sinks across campus were retrofitted with water bottle filling spouts during the summer of 2011, bringing the campus total to more than 140 stations.
  • A pilot Sustainability Ambassador Program was carried out by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Facilities Organization to facilitate sustainability awareness and initiatives in the home offices of more than a dozen staff members in 2011.
  • The Office of Sustainability has had more than 50 undergraduate coordinators over the past four years involved in numerous projects.

What's Next

  • Expand campus Green Tour options for visitors and the campus community.
  • Expand the staff Sustainability Ambassador Program into a campuswide endeavor by appointing sustainability leaders in additional administrative departments. 
  • Create a venue coordinated by the Office of Sustainability and the Princeton Environmental Institute for High Meadows Foundation sustainability fund grant recipients to share their results.

» View Campus Programs section

Communication

Progress

SECN
  • The 2011 Sustainability Report is the third annual compilation of data available online for key audiences. The Office of Sustainability and the Office of Communications have begun the discovery phase of a process to build a new sustainability website that enhances and streamlines the management of information, including data that has been featured in the annual report, across multiple communications platforms.
  • The University has signed on to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS), a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.
  • Lucid Design building performance touch-screen dashboards were installed in Frick Chemistry Laboratory and Butler College, providing access to performance data on green features such as green roofs, energy-efficient fume hoods and more.
  • The Office of Communications produced nearly 20 postings (stories, photos and videos) focusing on sustainability for the University home page that also were provided to media and used on the Princeton University Facebook page, Twitter feed, YouTube channel and in the Princeton University Bulletin (faculty/staff newspaper), other University publications, and newsletters of academic programs.
  • Since 2006, the Office of Sustainability has trained 39 students and interns through its Student Environmental Communication Network (SECN). Students have investigated the nuances of what is "green" and learned the research and technical skills needed to communicate them through podcast and video media.

What's Next

  • Continue to document educationally valuable initiatives and community actions in sustainability to share with broader audiences.
  • Continue to use SECN to increase the engagement of the undergraduate population with sustainability issues, and seek ways to integrate the program with academic objectives.
  • Continue to develop a dynamic new sustainability Web presence that will incorporate tools such as databases, metric-gathering instruments and social media. 

» View Communication section

View 2011 Report

A four-page PDF of report highlights is available.