The plan provides a set of operational strategies and benchmarks, grounded in science, for Columbia to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals.

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.

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.

Columbia University was recently recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as a Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Campus Challenge leader for its efforts in implementing clean energy solutions across its campuses.

As Columbia welcomes both new and returning students, faculty, and staff who may have been learning and working remotely throughout the spring and summer months, we’re faced with a campus environment that is in many ways different than we left it in March.

Last Fall, the Office of Environmental Stewardship began the rigorous planning process for Plan 2030, a more robust sustainability plan launching next year. Campus content experts – faculty, administrators, and students – formed five cross-functional, multi-disciplinary working groups to generate content in the areas of Energy, Transportation, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Design and Construction, and Retail Tenant Alignment.

While physical distancing necessitated the postponement of an on-campus ceremony, 40 percent of all Workspace Certification program participants received digital recognition this year.

Citi Bike is expanding its network and is expected to reach 184th Street this summer. The expansion will provide more sustainable and healthy travel alternatives for those living uptown. 

Results from Columbia’s most recent Commute and Travel Survey show that between May 2018 and February 2020 fewer Columbia affiliates chose a drive-alone commute and more walked to campus.

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. 

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. New groups including The Forum, where last year's Campus Sustainability Fair was held, have signed on to document their progress creating workplace habits to lessen Columbia's overall environmental footprint.

Columbia Print was recently profiled in In-plant Impressions (IPI), a graphic arts magazine written specifically for in-plant print shops. The article praised Columbia Print's sustainability efforts and innovation in the print industry, specifically their early adoption of carbon-reducing recycled and TreeZero paper. Read the full article on IPI's website.

Almost 200 high school students filed into Lerner Hall on Friday, March 6 to participate in the third annual Columbia Youth Climate Summit hosted by the EcoReps in partnership with Consilience, the Journal of Sustainable Development. At the all-day event, the students attended workshops and lectures by leading climate experts, and even crafted their own action plans to bring back to their school or community.