2015 Survey: Lessons Learned

Thank to all who participated in the 2015 sustainability@BU survey in February.

Congratulations to Jim Gannon, an HVAC technician with Facilities Management & Planning, who was randomly selected as the winner of a FitBit Charge HR.

Conducting an annual survey truly helps us better understand our community and informs the direction of our future communications and programming. We were thrilled to have received more than 2,500 responses!

Respondents represented a cross-section of undergraduates, graduates, post-graduates, faculty, and staff analogous the University’s overall population. Additionally, we asked respondents to tell us whether they have taken any related courses to the topics presented in the survey. An overwhelming majority of both students and employees responded that they had not, showing that we are not simply receiving information solely from involved individuals.

Awareness of BU’s efforts in reducing our environmental footprint is strong. Seventy-seven percent of respondents indicated their awareness of these efforts.

Of the recommended personal sustainable actions, we are pleased to report that a significant majority of respondents practice turning off the lights, recycling, and thinking before they print. However, we learned that fewer respondents practiced regular sustainable actions that related to energy efficiency. Energy use is directly related to the University’s carbon footprint. As a result, sustainability@BU communications for the next academic year will focus on powering down such as unplugging power cords and washing clothes in cold water.

Survey Lessons Learned 15-06-24

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, as well as BU-specific and behavioral questions.

 Answers to the 2015 Sustainability Survey

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

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

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

 Which of the following activities contribute to an individual’s carbon footprint? (Choose all that apply.)

  • Purchasing/using electricity generated from fossil fuels
  • Driving a traditional gas vehicle to work/school  
  • Driving an electric car to work/school
  • Eating a meat-based diet

 Which of the following countries has passed the U.S. as the biggest emitter of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide?

  • China
  • Sweden
  • Brazil
  • Japan

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

  • Construct buildings on wetlands
  • Reduce green space
  • Grow the urban tree canopy
  • Increase paved parking lots

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