January 10, 2011

Report: Going greener is catching on—with some exceptions

The Johns Hopkins Sustainability Committee has just released its fiscal year 2010 Sustainability Annual Report. The 26-page document highlights specific actions that are advancing sustainability in universitywide operations, student engagement and community outreach.

The report captures a string of successes in the university’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint and implement greener practices.

Among the findings: For the third straight year, the university was successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the Homewood campus compared to the previous year. Emissions were 2 percent less in fiscal year 2010 than in FY2009, even while the campus grew by 1 percent.

The university made progress in making buildings and campuses more sustainable by pursuing LEED certification on 12 buildings; collecting, conserving and treating storm water; providing healthier interiors of buildings through the expanded use of green materials and cleaning products; and expanding organic and locally sourced dining options.

For the first time, the purchase of recycled-content paper eclipsed that of nonrecycled-content paper, and the trend is continuing upward.

Not all was positive, however. Water consumption, which had been decreasing by an average of 21 percent per year since 2006, rose by 9 percent. The university also has not been successful in stemming the upward trend of paper consumption, even with innovative programs intended to displace paper usage with electronic resources.

A full copy of the report can be found at http://sustainability.jhu.edu.