Shoemaker Green


Climate Action Plan Progress Presented in FY18 Penn Sustainability Annual Report

March 21, 2019
Penn campus from West

Progress through FY18 on the 2014 University-wide Climate Action Plan 2.0 environmental goals.


Carbon emissions, academic course selectionphysical environment, and advances in waste minimization are areas of significant achievement against the goals of the University of Pennsylvania’s Climate Action Plan, says the Penn Sustainability Office.


The Penn Sustainability Office has just released the Penn Sustainability Annual Report FY18, based on data and metrics from fiscal year 2018 gathered from across many academic and administrative units at Penn. The Penn Sustainability Annual Report FY18 documents Penn’s progress towards the goals of the 2014 Climate Action Plan 2.0, tracking metrics in Academics, Utilities and Operations, Physical Environment, Purchasing Practices, Waste Minimization & Recycling, Transportation, and Outreach and Engagement.


“With this Sustainability Report, Penn is tracking progress on our Climate Action Plan 2.0 goals, and providing public, transparent reporting of our sustainability initiatives,” explained Anne Papageorge, vice president of Penn’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services.


This report is intended to be an annual, comprehensive, graphic, and concise presentation of progress in key metrics during the previous fiscal year.   Some highlights include:


Carbon Emissions

CAP 2.0 Goal: Achieve the following reductions in carbon emissions from campus buildings (absolute)

  • 7% reduction by 2019 in comparison to the FY14 baseline
  • 18% reduction by 2042 in comparison to the FY14 baseline

FY18 Progress:

  • Carbon emissions from campus buildings decreased by more than 11% when compared to the 2014 baseline.


Academic Programs for Sustainability

CAP 2.0 Goal: Expand opportunities for teaching, learning, and researching sustainability among students, staff, and faculty.

FY18 Progress:

  • There are now 103 new courses in the Penn Sustainability Course Inventory, totaling 401 courses related to environmental sustainability. This is a 220% increase since 2014.
  • In the Integrating Sustainability Across the Curriculum (ISAC) program, faculty members work with undergrad and grad research assistants to incorporate sustainability into new and existing courses. Since 2014, ISAC has supported 16 new courses and 34 existing courses.
  • FY2018 saw the launch of the Water Center at Penn (WCP), and the expansion of the Hayden Scholars. WCP studies water source protection, stormwater management, and public and private water utilities; Hayden Scholars, the Department of Earth Science's undergraduate summer program, advanced from a pilot to a fully-subscribed program, with eight students participating.

Physical Environment

CAP 2.0 Goal: Create and maintain a sustainable campus by increasing green space, decreasing building energy consumption, and increasing education and awareness of sustainable design.

FY18 Progress:

  • Penn added three LEED projects in 2018, bringing the total to 25 certified or with a certification pending. The three projects, Hill College House, Robbins House, and the Evans Building Centennial Century Bond Renovation, all earned Gold certification.
  • Penn’s main campus earned Level II Arboretum Status in 2018 through the ArbNet certification process. This is an increased rating from the Level I earned in 2017.

Waste Minimization & Recycling

CAP 2.0 Goal: Improve Penn’s environmental performance by minimizing solid waste through community education, strategic purchasing, appropriate infrastructure, and proper disposal, strengthened by relevant and accurate metrics.

FY18 Progress:

  • Pre-consumer (kitchen) composting at Penn Dining Cafés and local restaurants serviced by Penn diverted 100 tons from landfills in 2018.

A PDF of the Penn Sustainability Annual Report FY18 is available on the Penn Sustainability website.


Penn Sustainability is a University-wide initiative to advance environmental sustainability at the University of Pennsylvania, and coordinate programs to develop a more sustainable campus. Visit

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