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Report Card 2011

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University of Pittsburgh
College Sustainability Report Card 2011

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University of Pittsburgh

School details:

  Grade higher than last year


Endowment: $2,102 million as of March 31, 2010

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Please note: Data was collected in summer 2010 and may no longer be current.


Data compiled from survey responses, when available, and from independent research, when needed. For more information on data collection and evaluation, please see the  Methodology section.

Overall grade  
B -
The University of Pittsburgh has incorporated sustainability into the campus master plan and strategic plan. The Blue, Gold, and Green Advisory Committee and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Advisory Board are focused on implementing sustainability initiatives. Since 1997, more than $33 million has been donated by alumni to more than 60 funds held by the university that focus on environmental or sustainable efforts.
Pitt completed its first greenhouse gas emissions inventory in 2010. To conserve energy, the university uses an energy management system in 87 percent of buildings and has installed energy-efficient lighting in 96 percent of buildings. In the winter of 2009, the university opened the new Carrillo Street Steam Plant, which is expected to reduce steam-related carbon emissions by 47 percent.
The university spends 10 percent of its annual food budget on local products, including produce, dairy, and eggs. Excess food is donated to local food banks, and two of the university’s dining halls are trayless. Pitt offers eight to thirteen vegan options between all of the dining halls each day. Used fryer oil is recycled for biodiesel production, and the university recycles traditional materials and electronics.
Major projects are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the university for LEED certification. Pitt currently has one LEED Gold-certified building on campus and is awaiting certification of a second. Since 2000, the university has repurposed more than 900,000 square feet of building space for alternative use. To manage stormwater, the university has installed living roofs and porous pavement.
Pitt employs thirty student researchers each summer, as well as four student sustainability coordinators during the school year who promote environmental initiatives in various departments on campus. Free the Planet, one of four environmentally focused student groups, successfully petitioned for a student fee-based green fund for the implementation of sustainability projects. The fund will be piloted during the 2010-2011 school year.
More than half of Pitt employees commute via environmentally preferable methods, and the university offers discounted and preferable parking to those who carpool. Students, faculty, and staff are provided free access to public transportation as well as an on-campus bus system.
The university makes a list of all holdings available to trustees and senior administrators, and only a list of asset allocation available to the general public. The university does not make its shareholder voting record public.
The university aims to optimize investment returns, and the endowment is currently invested in renewable energy funds. The university also uses investment managers who consider environmental and sustainability factors.
The university asks that its investment managers handle the details of proxy voting.
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