2014 Survey


Thank to all who participated in the 2014 sustainability@BUsurvey. We were thrilled by the responses we received. Over 4,000 people participated!

Congratulations to Douglass Payne, the randomly selected winner of an iPad mini with Retina display!

The survey was designed to gauge progress on sustainability awareness at Boston University. Having information about your understanding and activities regarding sustainability will better help us plan future efforts, programs and communications with the BU community.

Consistent with the guidelines of STARS, included are questions on general sustainability literacy. 32% of survey questions relate to literacy, 50% of questions are BU-specific, and 18% are behavioral.

Answers to Sustainability Survey 2014


Which of the following is the most commonly used definition of sustainable development?

  • Giving universal access to education, health care and social services
  • Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs
  • Setting aside resources for preservation never to be used
  • Building a neighborhood that is both socio-demographically and economically diverse


Which of the following climate change research studies are being conducted by Boston University researchers? (Choose all that apply.) 

  • Diminishing seasonality over northerly lands from anthropogenic forcing of climate, published in Nature-Geoscience
  • Using Three Decades of Landsat Data to Characterize Changes and Vulnerability of Temperature and Boreal Forest Phenology to Climate Change, funded by NASA
  • Local Scale Carbon Budgets and Mitigation Opportunities for the Northeastern United States, published in Bioscience
  • Projecting North American climate over the next 50 years: Uncertainty due to internal variability; published in Journal of Climate

 Corporate social responsibility implies a commitment to triple bottom line reporting, which includes:

  • Three forms of financial reporting
  • Environmental, social and financial performance
  • Offering health, dental and vision care to employees
  • Incorporating community and government representatives on the board of directors

 Which of the following activities contribute to climate change? (Choose all that apply.)

  • The generation of electricity from fossil fuels
  • Taking public transportation
  • Cutting down trees
  • Building dams to divert water

The world’s population of about 7.1 billion is estimated to reach 9.1 billion by 2050. Which of the following is an expected result of this population growth? (Choose all that apply.)

  • Loss of farm land to urbanization
  • Increased demand for agricultural investment
  • Rising energy prices
  • Upsurge in global hunger
  • I don’t know

Sustainability requires making decisions based on environmental impact. Please rank the following actions according to their impact on resource consumption over their life cycle. (#1 = smallest impact; #5 = largest impact.)

1)      Using a stainless steel travel mug 45 times before recycling it

2)      Using 2 disposable paper cups, then recycling them

3)      Using 45 disposable paper cups, then recycling them

4)      Using a stainless steel travel mug 2 times before recycling it

5)      Using 45 disposable Styrofoam cups, then trashing them

Like a greenhouse, the Greenhouse Effect allows in the sun’s radiation and the presence of greenhouse gases traps the heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Greenhouse Effect can lead to the following: (Choose all that apply.) 

  • Cooler Summers
  • Warmer Oceans
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Climate Change
  • Heavy Precipitation

In 2012 which of the following countries were the three highest producers of renewable energy?*

  • France – 84.629 Billion kWh
  • Denmark – 15.583 Billion kWh
  • Germany – 140.092 Billion kWh
  • Italy – 98.123 Billion kWh
  • Japan – 109.863 Billion kWh
  • Spain – 83.059 Billion kWh
  • United States – 507.788 Billion kWh

*Based on wind power alone, the answer would be (in order) US, Spain and Germany, as data for 2012 is not yet available for solar, tide & wave.

 From EIA:  “Renewable energy resources:  Energy resources that are naturally replenishing but flow-limited. They are virtually inexhaustible in duration but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time. Renewable energy resources include biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar, wind, ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action.” http://www.eia.gov/tools/glossary/index.cfm

The average U.S. household uses approximately __ gallons of water per day.

  • 50
  • 100
  • 200
  • 300

 Temperatures in cities are generally hotter than surrounding areas. This is referred to as the Heat Island Effect. Which of the following strategies help reduce the Heat Island Effect?

  • Installing white or green roofs on buildings
  • Closing windows
  • Paving with lighter-colored materials
  • Planting trees
  • Turning on street lights
  • I don’t know

Since 2007, the City of Boston has actively led city-wide green initiatives, focusing on energy efficiency, climate preparedness and community engagement.
The City of Boston’s
2014 Climate Action Plan goals include the following. (Choose all that apply.)

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020, and 80% by 2050
  • Renew Boston – an initiative to increase residential solar energy
  • Greenovate Boston Engage – a website used by the Boston community to share ideas on how the city can reach its climate goals
  • Expanding bike infrastructure
  • Increasing number of automobile parking spaces

 Which of the following actions can we take to prepare for a changing climate?

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is like Miles per Gallon for buildings. EUI measures a building’s total energy use per square foot. Generally, a low EUI indicates energy-efficient performance. Please indicate if you think that the following actions can help lower BU’s energy use intensity.

  • Turning off lights
  • Washing clothes in cold water
  • Taking shorter showers
  • Eating beef
  • Eating local or organic produce
  • Using shared printing resources
  • Replacing light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Using a smart power strip
  • Unplugging devices when not in use
  • Recycling paper/plastic/metal

Please indicate if you think the following items can be recycled at BU.

White Paper – yes

Newspaper and Magazines – yes

Corrugated Cardboard – yes

Tissues and Paper Towels – no

Plastic Bottles – yes

Glass Bottles – yes

Soda Cans – yes

Paper Coffee Cups – yes

Styrofoam Cups – no

Batteries – yes

Cell Phones – yes

Computers – yes

Toner/Ink Cartridges – yes

Small Appliances – yes

Clothes – yes

Light Bulbs – yes

Bedding – yes

LEED is a green building rating system which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. What level of LEED have each of the following buildings/spaces received?

Certified Green Restaurants are rated for their energy- and water-efficient facilities and waste reduction practices. How many stars have each of the following BU eateries received as part of being a Certified Green Restaurant?

Comments are closed.