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Yale Sets Sustainability Mission for Next 3 Years

Yale is going "all in" with a set of sustainability goals that reach into all operational aspects of the New Haven, CT university. President Richard Levin has formally accepted the recommendations of the "Sustainability Strategic Plan 2010-2013" set forth by Yale's Sustainability Task Force. The campus announced in 2005 that it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent below 2005 levels by 2020--at a cost of less than 1 percent of annual operating expenses.

The task force, which formed in summer 2009, has set targets that take the institution beyond one goal--reducing greenhouse gas emissions--to a set of goals encompassing 12 sustainability themes, from campus planning, building design, and construction to water use.

Specifically, the Task Force's goals include designing all new construction to LEED Gold standards or better, reducing the university's municipal solid waste by a quarter, ensuring that a minimum of 40 percent of food purchases meet at least one of four major sustainability criteria, and reducing energy consumption by 4 percent.

"Building a sustainable campus is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary endeavor that requires the imaginative collaboration and perseverance of students, staff, faculty, and administrators," said Julie Newman, director of the Office of Sustainability and convener of the task force. "Success will require the flexibility to practice new behaviors, enable innovative strategies, embrace promising new technologies, and continuously seek solutions over time."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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