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Our Goals – Utilities & Operations

Reduce Penn’s building-related carbon emissions by 40% by 2020 (2009=baseline year)

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Penn's continual improvement in its ecological performance

Our Plan

Penn's Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0

Penn’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 represents a vision for our university’s environmental future.

Penn’s remarkable transformation into one of the world’s premier teaching and research institutions has been fueled by enormous growth in capabilities, means, and influence. The implementation of President Amy Gutmann’s Penn Compact puts the University in a strong position to address the environmental challenges ahead. Penn will continue to lead through inclusive climate change scholarship, innovative policy formation, and adoption of best practices to dramatically impact campus efficiency and reduce emissions. Through deliberate assessment, analysis, and planning. Penn is taking action to mitigate climate impacts, adapt to emerging environmental conditions, and prepare our university—and our students—to lead in a rapidly evolving world. The CSAP 3.0 recommends goals to:

  • Expand the scope of sustainability research in Penn’s academic centers, and connect students to Penn’s abundant resources in this field;
  • Continue to reduce carbon emissions and explore expanded use of renewable energy to mitigate the impacts of climate change;
  • Embrace circular economy principles to reduce waste and single-use products;
  • Make sustainable choices in transportation, purchasing, and business operations; and Inform, educate, and empower the Penn community to participate in Penn’s climate change and sustainability goals.

Penn has made remarkable progress since the launch of its first Climate Action Plan in 2009. Engagement on environmental issues from students and faculty has grown dramatically.

Accurate and timely reporting of key indicators by the Sustainability Office allows Penn’s leaders to make informed decisions: improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, streamlining workflow, managing costs, and prioritizing investment. Highlights since 2009 include:

  • Expansion of scholarship, research, and course offerings on sustainability, including 8 new environmentally-focused academic centers;
  • Building-related emissions reductions of over 27% - a result of on-campus conservation strategies plus a lower-carbon energy supply;
  • Certification of Penn's main academic campus as a Level II Arboretum and the adoption of LEED Silver minimum standards;
  • 28% waste diversion rate due to innovative purchasing and diversion strategies;
  • Recognition of individuals and teams across Penn who develop innovative ideas to improve purchasing sustainability;
  • Adoption of sustainable options by nearly 50%of all commuting subsidy recipients; and
  • Continued engagement and education of the campus community through social media, newsletters, campaigns, and affinity groups.

Penn’s CSAP 3.0 goals will test the ingenuity of the campus community as we continue to reduce our ecological footprint while prioritizing environmental health and resiliency. The focus is on Penn’s 100x42 carbon neutrality pledge—an ambition worthy of Penn’s commitment, and feasible given the University’s resources and expertise.

The CSAP 3.0 will translate Penn's ambitions into action and our shared values into accomplishments.

Use the links below to Download the full Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 PDF (15MB, 42 pages) or the CSAP3.0 Executive Summary PDF (48KB 3 pages).