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On Thursday, September 23, a panel of Columbia faculty, staff and student representatives discussed the University's ten-year sustainability plan – Plan 2030 – and goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The virtual event included an overview of the plan and discussion about activity underway, noting the role that students and faculty play in meeting the University's goals. The event was coordinated as part of Columbia’s partnership in Climate Week. 

As Climate Week NYC begins, the university explores creating a fully electrified campus. The Columbia Climate School is university partner of the weeklong climate showcase.

The information below is provided to support your decision-making and to encourage Columbia affiliates to make environmentally responsible decisions in this time of change.

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.