Sustainability at WashU School of Medicine’s Mallinckrodt Institute for Radiology

It is no secret that healthcare has a massive impact on the environment. In fact, if global healthcare services were a country, they would amount to the fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As the effects of climate change on public health and infrastructure are increasing, the need for specialized sustainability practices within the healthcare sector […]

Green Cup ResCollege Competition

What is Green Cup?  Every spring since 2011, WashU’s Residential Colleges compete to reduce energy use and adopt more sustainable lifestyles, preventing hundreds of metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and helping the university save money on electricity costs.  The Green Cup competition will kick off this year on Friday, February 2nd and conclude […]

WashU Debuts Electric Shuttles

Washington University in St. Louis has acquired three electric shuttles as part of its Danforth Campus fleet. The shuttles will be on display at the Earth Day Festival in Forest Park April 22-23. Attendees can park in WashU’s East End garage and ride a university shuttle to the event on the Muny grounds. The electric […]

Shutting the Sash: The Easiest Green Labs Habit

By Jarea Fang  Labs account for over 1.6 million square feet of space across WashU’s campuses, and in some cases, they can use 5 to 10 times the amount of energy an office space does. Lab energy use comes from built-in equipment and systems, such as specialty HVAC units, humidification systems, and more; these systems, for the most part, […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Sets New Building Energy Performance Standards

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

Commercial Group Buy Solar Program “Renew STL Solar” Launches

Earlier this month, Renew Missouri announced the launch of Renew STL Solar, a “group buy” solar program for commercial building owners in the St. Louis Region. Along with other community partners, such as the City of St. Louis, WashU has been an early partner and catalyst for the development Renew STL Solar. First of its kind in […]

New Solar Surges in Gateway Region

The pandemic has prompted many people to think differently about their daily lives, and for some this has included making the investment to make their homes more resilient with renewable solar energy. One local program, Grow Solar St. Louis, has made this process easier and more affordable for over 62 property owners who have committed […]

University Reaches Major Sustainable Building Milestone

East end project buildings, January Hall awarded LEED Platinum recognition. Five buildings on the Danforth Campus at Washington University in St. Louis achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest green building certification, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum. The five LEED Platinum certifications — all issued at the same time — are […]

Local Demand Response Program Cuts Carbon & Saves Money

How does Demand Response work? During the hottest days of summer, residents and businesses simultaneously use more energy than usual to cool their buildings, which puts stress on the electric grid. To ensure adequate electricity is available, specialize power plants called “peaker plants” are brought online when the grid approaches maximum capacity. Peaker plants are […]

Climate Solutions: New Commercial Solar Program

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Encourages Climate and Energy Action with Policy Toolkit

In recent months, St. Louis has made headlines for the adoption of several climate-forward policies and initiatives. These include the City’s passage of a solar-ready ordinance and Building Energy Performance Standard, St. Louis County’s adoption of updated building energy codes, and the success of the first phase of the regional Grow Solar residential group-buy program […]

70+ Homes Went Solar with Grow Solar STL Phase 1. Now to Phase 2!

WashU is partnering with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association to offer a second phase of Grow Solar St. Louis! Grow Solar is a group-buy program for residential solar that makes it easier for homeowners and small businesses to install solar and slash their carbon emissions. The program is designed to […]

Climate Solutions: St. Louis Leads Midwest with New Building Energy Performance Standard

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

Climate Solutions: LED Lightbulb Replacement at Home

Upgrading your lights to LEDs is one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions and reduce energy costs. More time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to develop a priority list of home energy efficiency and decarbonization projects that you can work through in the coming months and […]

Greening Your Home Office

If you are like us, you have probably carved out a space in your home for office or school work – the kitchen table, corner of the couch, or, if you are lucky, a home office. Here are some things you can think about as you strive to transition your Green Office practices at home! […]

The Green Labs Program Gains Momentum

With over 200 people in attendance, the Green Labs Program was officially kicked-off with a party earlier this month.  Most of our lab supply vendors, local lab sustainability groups, and departments presented their options for greening our lab spaces. Some vendors displayed high-efficiency lab equipment, others had samples of products made with recycled content, and […]

Conserve Energy through Office Closure

As offices are shutting down and employees are transitioning to remote work, there are many ways to maximize energy-saving potential. Before you leave your work-space… Follow these best practices at the office for spaces that will be unoccupied for an extended period of time. Coordinate with your office mates to make sure that the last […]

Green Cup Celebrates its 10 Years Anniversary

Every spring since 2011, WashU’s South 40 Residential Colleges compete to reduce energy use and adopt more sustainable lifestyles, taking away hundreds of metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and helping the university save money on electricity costs. Traditionally, the competition takes place over a 4-week period during which students do all they can […]

Swap Your Conventional Light Bulbs for LEDs at No Charge!

UPDATE: As of 2021, the light bulb swap is no longer being offered. Please properly dispose of CFL bulbs by taking to the special collection boxes at Lowes or Home Depot. Incandescents can be thrown in the regular landfill – they do not contain hazardous materials like CFLs. It is better to throw out a […]

Climate Solutions: STL City and County Take Action to Reduce Emissions

Now more than ever, the climate crisis is on the minds of people all around the world. Due to the urgent need to implement effective solutions to this social and environmental crisis, we will be regularly featuring stories of climate solutions adopted at the university and at the local, state, and national levels to inspire […]

Green Labs Program Launches at WashU

Accounting for over 1.6 million square feet of campus space and using between 2.5 and 5 times the amount of energy as office spaces, labs represent an important opportunity to reduce the university’s carbon emissions and expand our multi-faceted effort to address climate change. Building upon the success of the Green Office Program, WashU is […]

WashU Phasing in High Efficiency Ultra Low Temperature Freezers

Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers (ULTs) are a critical piece of equipment in many research labs and are designed to protect valuable samples. Capable of reaching temperatures as low as -85 degrees Celsius (or -121 degrees Fahrenheit), ULTs require a significant amount of electricity to operate — more than a typical American home — and are thereby […]

IPCC 1.5 Report: A Climate Change Teachable Moment

On November 15th, dozens of students and faculty braved the snow to gather, reflect and discuss climate change in light of the recently published “IPCC 1.5°C report”. Sitting casually on the stage and among the audience, the 10 panelists represented areas of environmental science, public policy, engineering, architecture, and law, from both the faculty and […]

5 Tips to Conserve Energy in the Winter Months

With shorter days and often below-freezing temperatures, winter comes with greater energy needs. While it’s tempting to turn the heat all the way up to make it through the cold season, being mindful of our heating habits is critical to avoid energy losses and unnecessary consumption. The five tips below will help you maintain a […]

New Opportunity for Students to Engage with Campus Solar Installations

July 22, 2013 - Kevin Denzl works on solar panels on the roof of Brauer Hall. Photos by James Byard

Low costs, consumer demands, and organizational commitments to mitigate climate change have resulted in rapid growth of the renewable energy industry that is transforming how the US and the world generates energy. In response to growing student interest in renewable energy careers, the Office of Sustainability is launching a new program that will provide students […]

WashU Earns National Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

Washington University in St. Louis is being recognized nationally for its institution-wide sustainability efforts: the school recently earned a gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The university also landed in […]

Electric Vehicle Charging Arrives at WUSM

The Clayton Parking Garage at the Washington University School of Medicine is getting a sustainability upgrade! The Operations and Facilities Management department, which oversees parking and transportation on the medical campus, recently installed 20 electric vehicle (EV) chargers throughout the garage, bringing the total EV charging capacity to 21 spots. Most levels of the garage […]

Opportunities for Students at the U.S. Green Building Council – Missouri Gateway Chapter

Since it was founded in 2001, the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council works hard on creating and restoring buildings and communities that will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Consistently honored as one of the top USGBC chapters in the nation, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway […]

Sustainability, Health, and Development: Dispatches from Costa Rica

A few weeks ago, a group of Public Health and Social Work graduate students returned from a 10-day field trip to Costa Rica.  Along with Professor of Practice Joe Steensma, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability Phil Valko, and Director of Global Programs Tammy Orahood, the students had the unique opportunity to observe and study the complex […]

Green Rehab Team Update: Providing the Energy-Reducing Tools for Success

Over the past several years, the Green Rehab team at the Office of Sustainability has been implementing an exciting research project to investigate the impact of environmentally focused renovations on WashU off-campus residential buildings. This year, the team has undertaken a second phase of the project: engaging residents to explore the impact of habits and […]

Railesha Tiwari, WashU’s Own Green Buildings Expert

Campus Next is a WashU channel intended to inform the community about campus physical changes. A few weeks ago, Campus Next led an exclusive interview with Railesha Tiwari, first Sustainable Design and Construction Project Manager at WashU, about her unique role and impact on new construction and renovation projects. The article can be found here. The […]

Get Involved in the City of St. Louis Clean Energy Plan

Last fall, the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen unanimously passed a Resolution calling for the City to pursue a transition to 100% clean energy by 2035, following the path of 46 other US cities that committed to phase out of fossil fuel before 2050. By passing this Resolution, the city of St. Louis […]

Students to Compete at the Eighth Annual WashU Green Cup

The Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Residential Life and Facilities, is excited to announce the launch of WashU’s eighth annual Green Cup competition! Among Washington University’s South 40 Residential Colleges and School of Medicine residents, leagues will compete to reduce their energy usage. A Competition to Save Energy On the Danforth campus, electrical energy use from […]

New Signage in Laundry Rooms

The Office of Sustainability is excited to be partnering with student Eco Reps and Residential Life to distribute a new poster to laundry rooms on the South 40 and the Northside Apartments, reminding residents to keep it cool when washing clothes. This communication campaign is part of an initiative to reduce energy usage and greenhouse […]

Stories of Campus Sustainability Month

October was Campus Sustainability Month at WashU and in many other universities and colleges across the US. During October, the WashU community was offered a wide variety of events, ranging from festivals to conferences, movie screenings, tours, panel discussions, and more. With sustainability as a driver, the topics covered by these events were also very […]

Renewable Energy Team: Greening the East End and Beyond

As a part of the East End Transformation, the Office of Sustainability Renewable Energy team has been evaluating various ways the University can maintain its commitment to its Strategic Plan for Sustainable operations while continuing to expand and improve its facilities. The team has specifically been looking at implementing solar energy on some of the […]

Luncheon Honors Green Office Liaisons and Recruits Participants

On July 12, the Office of Sustainability hosted a Green Office Program luncheon for Green Office Liaisons and potential program participants. The goal of the Green Office Program is to set a framework and provide resources for offices across Washington University campuses to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of our university community. Since the start […]

Commuter Profile: Carpoolers James and Kaslina

For many of the WashU staff and faculty members who live far from campus, commuting by car is a challenge: it takes time, costs money and can be stressful when it comes to getting a parking space, not to mention the environmental impact! Carpooling, which has numerous benefits for both drivers and passengers, addresses many […]

Danforth Campus Temperature Setpoint Policy

In line with Washington University in St. Louis’s sustainability goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, the University adopted changes to thermostatic setpoints in offices and classrooms on the Danforth Campus. Beyond reducing our carbon footprint, these changes will also improve occupant comfort and reduce operating costs by an estimated $200,000 […]

Chancellor Responds to Paris Accords Withdrawal

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords, an agreement that set the standard for global environmental initiatives. The Paris Accords were entered into effect on November 4, 2016 and included signatures from 194 different countries. The main aim for the agreement was to reduce […]

East Campus Construction Begins

On May 22, 2017, construction began on the East Side of Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus, marking the beginning of a three year project projected to be completed by the Spring of 2019. The redevelopment aims to provide the Danforth Campus with a new and improved entrance to the public and to provide a […]

Help us improve our climate teaching and research!

The Washington University Climate Change Program (WUCCP), in collaboration with the Environmental Justice Initiative, International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES), and the Office of Sustainability, is working to better connect a community of 1) scholars researching and teaching about the causes, effects, and broader consequences of climate change, and 2) scholars researching and […]

Students Help Expand WashU Solar, Assess Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This semester, the student associates on the Renewable Energy team has been working on a variety of projects to increase solar energy generation across Washington University’s campuses, as well as to evaluate methods and tools for better accounting for our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. These solar energy projects have included finalizing a Request For Proposals […]

Apply to be Washington University Green Ambassador

The WashU Green Ambassador (WUGA) Program is a student-managed, peer-education program supported by the Office of Sustainability that orients new students to the sustainability initiatives on WashU’s campus. WUGAs play a critical role in training first year student to adopt behaviors that align with WashU’s culture of sustainability, behaviors that they will carry with them during […]

Climate on Campus Database

The Climate Team within the Office of Sustainability and the Department of Environmental Studies, with the support of I-CARES, has been working to build a “Climate on Campus” database that details all the opportunities for research, education and action at Washington University to address climate change and its consequences. The master list will showcase WashU classes, […]

Washington University Hosts 2017 Annual MOAPPA Conference

On March 13-15 Washington University proudly hosted the 2017 annual conference of the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (MOAPPA). The mission of MOAPPA is to support educational excellence through quality leadership and professional management, and the annual conference helps meet that mission through an agenda geared toward professional development and best […]

Green Cup 2017 Comes to a Close

WashU’s annual energy reduction and sustainability competition has come to a close! Green Cup is a four-week competition to reduce energy use among South 40 Residential Colleges, North Side housing, fraternities, and the School of Medicine’s Olin Dorm and Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (in four separate leagues). Throughout February, leagues competed to reduce their energy […]

Green Rehab Experiment: The Feasibility of Solar Powered Student Housing


One component of the Green Rehab Experiment is to determine if a combination of energy efficiency upgrades, solar panel installations, and reduced energy consumption can result in a century-old apartment building that satisfies the annual energy needs of its occupants solely through on-site renewable energy generation. An experimental apartment building was retrofitted to this end, […]

Symposium Explores Indigenous Rights and Environmental Justice

On February 6, the Buder Center for American Indian Studies hosted a symposium on indigenous rights and environmental justice at Washington University’s Hillman Hall. The symposium addressed environmental and cultural issues relevant to St. Louis and the Dakota Access Pipeline project in North Dakota. The event featured a diverse and dynamic group of presenters. Keynote speaker Harold Frazier, […]