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Columbia University is taking action to reduce our carbon footprint. If we lead by example, we will improve the sense of responsibility felt by our community for their actions through both education and demonstration. Ranging from energy conservation efforts, to award-winning reuse programs and recycling efforts, Columbia is fully dedicated toward creating a greener, more sustainable planet for all.  

At Columbia, we recognize that to be truly sustainable is to take a multi-faceted and multi-tiered approach. We are looking to tackle these issues through world-renowned research occurring right here on our campus, engaging staff leadership and individual participation.

Welcome to Sustainable Columbia!

Every member of the Columbia community has a role to play in achieving our sustainability goals. Now, all new hire orientations will include a three-minute video introduction to Sustainable Columbia, giving context to the broader culture of sustainability on campus along with eco-friendly actions individuals can take in their new role. New hires and veterans alike — take a look!

News

April 16, 2020

Columbia Again Achieves 100% Renewable Electricity in 2019

Columbia University has again taken action to enable its strategy for 100 percent clean, renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) to offset greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 electricity consumption at the Morningside, Manhattanville, Irving Medical Center, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Nevis, and Baker Athletics Complex campuses. The acquired RECs are certified by the industry-leading verification program Green-e Energy and represent an equivalent number of megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable zero emissions electricity. 

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April 16, 2020

Workspace Certification Program Sees Progress in Year Three

In Year Three of the Sustainable Leaders Network (SLN) Workspace Certification program – a checklist of actions deployed to make workspaces more eco-friendly while fostering a culture of sustainability – over 190 Green Leaders have worked toward improving their office or department's sustainability.

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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. Wasting food wastes the energy and water used in producing and transporting it.

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Walk, bike, or use alternative transportation

Try out Citi Bike, available on or near Columbia's campuses. Bike to work and store your ride in Columbia's secure bicycle parking and racks. Ride the Intercampus Shuttle, which is tracked in real time, or the Evening Shuttle, to get around campus after 6 p.m. (Other commuter shuttles and sustainable transportation options are available).

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Volunteer to lead sustainable change

Join a sustainability-focused student club. Stay tuned for updates on the newly formed Sustainable Leaders Network. 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 new Sustainable Columbia logo to join the movement. Contact Environmental Stewardship to learn about the new branding guidelines.

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Download the Sustainability Plan

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