Boston University Sustainability
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Leading by Example

Taking Charge on Climate

Boston University is and always will be a key part of the City’s work in climate action. In 2022, the University’s work was no exception.

This year, Boston University’s efforts are influencing and changing what climate action can look like in Boston. From opening the City’s largest fossil fuel-free and carbon-free building, to how BU is responding to climate change, reducing emissions, leading sustainability-focused research, and working directly with local leaders to advance climate action in our community, Boston University is leading on climate action.

Read the 2022 Annual Report to learn how Boston University is leading by example.

Welcome from the Associate Vice President

I am excited to share with you the 2022 Boston University Sustainability Annual Report. This past year was one marked by excitement with the return to normal operations and a culminating year when many projects came to fruition, most notably the dedication of the Center for Computing & Data Sciences.

On behalf of Boston University, thank you for your interest in our climate action work. For more highlights from this past year, click the Learn More button below.

Dennis Carlberg, AIA, LEED AP BD +C

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The Opening of the Center for Computing & Data Sciences

After a decade of planning, design, and construction, the Boston University community was welcomed to the Center for Computing & Data Sciences, Boston’s largest fossil fuel-free building and, for the moment, New England’s largest carbon-free building.

Topics Include: Geothermal Closed Loop System, Fossil Fuel-Free, Embodied Carbon, A Sustainable Boston, Opening Ceremony

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Climate Ready BU

As we continue to face the impacts of a changing climate, Boston University’s Climate Action Plan recommends that the University be “ready” for the change that is already occurring. That means supporting a campus infrastructure that can withstand the increasing intensity of extreme weather events.

Topics Include: Resilient Buildings, Green Infrastructure, Flood Prevention

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Net-Zero Direct Emissions

As we look to decarbonize Boston University operations, we continue to deploy programs that reduce emissions and transition the University away from the use of fossil fuels. These efforts are part of the Climate Action Plan’s goal to make the University’s net carbon neutral through broad and integrated approaches from energy efficiency to sourcing clean energy.

Topics Include: Electric Vehicle Transition, Energy Efficiency, BU Wind

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Address Indirect Emissions

Along with curbing direct emissions, the Climate Action Plan recommends that the University work to address indirect emissions. In 2022, these efforts focused on reducing emissions associated with the University’s waste stream and diverting waste from landfills and incinerators. To accomplish this, we are implementing strategies that change how we manage, haul, and reduce our waste.

Topics Include: Implementing the Zero Waste Plan, Resource Management Partnerships, Diverting Food Waste

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Curriculum & Research

The Climate Action Plan and the University’s Strategic Plan for 2030 propose that every undergraduate student be touched by climate change and sustainability as part of their educational experience. The University and its academic community can make real progress by educating a new generation about the scientific, economic, governance, engineering, social, and ethical challenges posed by climate change.

Topics Include: Institute for Global Sustainability, Campus Climate Lab, Sustainability Curriculum, Research

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Collaborative Catalysts

Sustainability efforts are most effective when groups collaborate on solutions and outreach. BU Sustainability works across departments, programs, schools, and colleges at Boston University to engage our community in climate action.

Topics Include: Sustainability Festival, Sustainability Liaisons, Sustainability Innovation Seed Grants, Environmental Leadership Network, Resident Sustainability Leaders, A Growing Team

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Cross-Sector Collaboration

In partnership with higher education peers, government agencies, and corporate sustainability leaders, BU Sustainability collaborates on many initiatives throughout the year to advance climate action. We leverage learning and speed up the adoption of innovation by sharing best practices.

Topics Include: BERDO 2.0, Green Ribbon Commission

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Boston University Strategic Plan for 2030

The Climate Action Plan recommends that the University incorporate the CAP into its Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan established key initiatives, including an increased focus on sustainability. This initiative, known as the University-Wide Effort on Sustainability, incorporates a broadened scope for the Institute for Global Sustainability, integrates sustainability into the curriculum, and embeds sustainability into university academics and culture. This shows a commitment to reducing the University’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions and fostering an environment where the next generation of leaders can develop meaningful solutions to address the biggest global challenge of our time—climate change.

Topics Include: University-Wide Effort on Sustainability

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By the Numbers

We've made a lot of progress over the past year, and we've got the data to back it up. BU Sustainability maintains metrics to track how the University is progressing on goals in the Climate Action Plan. Check out our progress from the past year.

Topics Include: CO2 Emissions, Resource Use, Waste Generation, Green Buildings, Transportation, Sustainable Purchasing 

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