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Welcome to Sustainable Columbia

Columbia University commits to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. At Columbia, we recognize that to be truly sustainable is to take a multi-faceted and multi-tiered approach. We are looking to tackle climate and sustainability issues through world-renowned research occurring right here on our campus, engaging staff leadership and individual participation. Ranging from energy conservation efforts to award-winning reuse programs and recycling efforts, we're dedicated to creating a more sustainable planet for all.  

 

Columbia's New Sustainability Plan: Plan 2030

Columbia University released a new sustainability plan on Earth Day, covering 2021 through 2030. Called "Plan 2030," this is Columbia’s roadmap to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Read the plan to learn more!

News

March 31, 2021

Columbia University Ranks Third in EPA’s Top 30 Green Power Users

Columbia University ranked third in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Top 30 College and University green power users across the United States as part of their Green Power Partnership (GPP). Columbia’s 100 percent zero emissions electricity from various sources, including solar and wind, provided 277,892,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power in 2020, behind the University of California and Arizona State University.

February 25, 2021

Columbia University Awarded Climate Registered™ Gold Status and Joins Ranks of U.S. Climate Leaders

New York, NY – Columbia University was awarded Climate Registered™ Gold by The Climate Registry, a nonprofit organization that is governed by U.S. states and operates the Carbon Footprint Registry, which is North America’s largest voluntary registry for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Columbia earned this recognition by publicly reporting a third-party verified GHG emissions inventory for its operations. This data will enable them to track their climate initiatives and GHG reductions credibly over time.

Make a Difference Today

Every member of the Columbia community has a role to play in achieving our sustainability goals. Learn how you can make a difference and help build a healthier, more sustainable Columbia.

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Reduce, reuse, and recycle

Learn what you can recycle at Columbia. Donate and swap unwanted items during Clean + Go Green and Give + Go Green events. Use the surplus re-use program to donate or re-use office furniture and equipment. Taste, don't waste — practice mindfulness when selecting food in the dining halls and other eating establishments around campus.

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Walk, bike, or use alternative transportation

Try out Citi Bike, available on and near Columbia's campuses. Bike to work and store your ride in Columbia's secure bicycle parking areas. Ride the Intercampus Shuttle, which you can track in real time using the Passio Go! app, or the on-demand Evening Shuttle powered by Via to get around campus at night. Visit the Transportation website for more sustainable commute options.

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Volunteer to lead sustainable change

Join a sustainability-focused student club or get involved in the Sustainable Leaders Network. Join the Workspace Certification Program with your office, school, or department to make your workspace a little greener. Take advantage of existing programs in your living space or lab.

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Report drips and window leaks

Submit a maintenance request to make your space more comfortable and efficient.

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Reduce energy and electricity use

Turn off lights, power down, and unplug electronics when not in use, especially during nights and breaks.

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Use a reusable mug or bottle

Get discounts on coffee and use filtered water stations across campus to refill your bottle.

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Learn it

Browse the Earth Institute’s Course Guide and events calendar to learn about environmental studies from some of the world’s best.

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Wash clothes in cold

Washing in cold or "bright colors" uses 90% less energy than washing in hot and it preserves the life of your clothes.

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Take shorter showers

By reducing your shower time you can help save water and the energy used to heat the water.

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Adopt healthy, sustainable lifestyle habits

Take the Green Monday pledge to learn how to make slight shifts in your lifestyle, starting with what you eat, which can help to reduce your environmental impact. 

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Brand it

Are you putting together a sustainability event or initiative on campus? Brand your posters, powerpoints and flyers with the Sustainable Columbia logo to join the movement. Contact Environmental Stewardship to learn about the branding guidelines.

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Read the Sustainability Plans

Learn more about Columbia's campus-wide plan to become a more sustainable community.