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Report Card 2008

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Carnegie Mellon University
College Sustainability Report Card 2008

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Carnegie Mellon University

School details:

  Grade higher than last year

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $940 million as of June 30, 2006

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Campus Survey: Yes

Dining Survey: Yes

Endowment Survey: Yes


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
B -
Carnegie Mellon has a Green Practices Committee, an environmental coordinator, and an EcoReps program in the residence halls. A comprehensive 115-page environmental assessment report was completed in 2005. The purchasing department has an environmental procurement mission statement and an environmentally preferable packaging agreement. There is no overall sustainability policy.
The university is a founding EPA Green Power Partner and a recipient of a 2001 Green Power Leadership Award for making, what was at the time, the largest single retail purchase of wind energy in the nation. The university supplies 15 percent of its energy needs with a mixed portfolio of Pennsylvania wind, national wind, low-impact hydro, and landfill gas. By 2008, 20 percent of the school’s energy will come from renewable sources. Housing and dining installed 75 vendor misers on campus to reduce the power used by vending machines by 46 percent. Although the university has shown a commitment to emissions reductions through its actions, it has not signed a formal agreement.
The university purchases from a distributor that buys from dozens of local producers. Cage-free eggs, organic produce, and fair-trade coffee are now served, with the option of using biodegradable to-go containers. A composting program has been proposed for the dining halls and the university is currently working on an initiative to make biodiesel from waste oil in the dining halls. The university has a comprehensive recycling program, including carpet recycling and participation in the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program.
The university’s building policy requires that all new buildings and renovations achieve LEED Silver certification, at a minimum. Currently there is one LEED-certified, four LEED Silver-certified, and one LEED Gold-certified building on campus. Four additional LEED buildings are in design or under construction. The university was a pilot partner in the EPA’s Lab21 program for green design in laboratory facilities.
The university’s shuttles run on biodiesel fuel and police cars use E-85 ethanol fuel. The facilities department’s fleet includes six electric vehicles. Free bus passes are given to students, faculty, and staff, and Zipcars are available, as well. Carpools receive special parking privileges.
The university makes neither its proxy voting record nor its list of endowment holdings public. This information is only available to trustees and senior administrators.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy investment funds or similar investment vehicles.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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