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Report Card 2010

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Princeton University
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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Princeton University

School details:

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $16,300 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Enrollment: 7,201

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


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

Overall grade  
Princeton's sustainability plan emphasizes a comprehensive approach that includes civic engagement, greenhouse gas reduction, and resource conservation. The university purchases only Energy Star-certified appliances, paper made from postconsumer recycled content, and Green Seal-certified cleaning supplies. The university is currently developing a life cycle assessment program for purchases.
Princeton has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A 443-kilowatt photovoltaic array has been installed on the ReCAP library storage facility. The university has tested biodiesel in its cogeneration plant and continues to assess the feasibility of replacing its backup fuel oil with biodiesel.
Sustainably grown and produced foods represent 60 percent of food served in dining facilities. Dining services purchases cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, and fair trade coffee. Princeton is also a full partner of Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and serves only seafood that meets the guidelines. The university sends all postconsumer food scraps to a local pig farm.
Princeton requires all new construction to meet LEED Silver certification standards and to be 50 percent more energy efficient than comparable off-campus buildings. The university applies a life cycle cost assessment and an internal "carbon dioxide tax" to inform decisions. Princeton has used lighting retrofits, heat recovery, continuous commissioning of HVAC systems, roof replacements, demand-controlled ventilation, and domestic hot water reduction to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
The student group Greening Princeton collaborates with the Office of Sustainability to promote sustainability on campus. The group's Inter-Residential College Energy Savings Competition encourages energy conservation in residence halls. Students also run a bicycle-sharing program, collect leftover food from dining halls for local shelters, and run an on-campus garden.
Princeton subsidizes public transportation by 50 percent for faculty and staff and 25 percent for students. The university also offers gas cards to community members who commute to campus by carpool.
The university makes information about all holdings available to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the community. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions on a company-specific level is available to trustees, senior administrators, and a committee of faculty, staff, and students that represents the broader university community.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles.
The vast majority of the endowment is in commingled investment vehicles and partnerships. For separately custodied accounts (which comprise less than 5 percent of the endowment's assets), the university asks its investment managers to vote proxies on its behalf. The Council of the Princeton University Community's Resources Committee considers and determines the course of action on significant social investment issues according to a specific set of guidelines.
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