Logo for energy and emissions

Washington University in St. Louis’ goal is to chart a path toward carbon neutrality without purchasing renewable energy credits.

2015 Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations

Objectives & Progress

Greenhouse Gas Emissions | In Progress

Since 1990, campus building square footage has doubled. However, our greenhouse gas emissions today are only 1% greater than they were in 1990.

After twenty years of carbon emissions rising in parallel with the growth of campus space, WashU’s emissions peaked in 2010 and have been steadily declining since. The decoupling of emissions and growth resulted from WashU adopting its first carbon reduction target in the 2010 Strategic Plan for Sustainable Operations, leading to significant investments in energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy. As of 2020, we were only 3% away from reaching our goal to return to 1990 emission levels.

Renewable Energy

In addition to institutional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation, WashU is committed to pursuing renewable energy projects.

WashU’s first major investment in renewable energy occurred in 2015 with the installation of rooftop solar arrays on university-owned property throughout the region, including Hillman Hall, the Lofts, and School of Medicine buildings. These solar arrays increased WashU’s solar generating capacity from 33 kw to 580 kw.

The second wave of solar projects took place in 2019 with a new $3.5 million solar photovoltaic project on the Danforth, Medical and North campuses. The Athletic Complex and North Campus are among the many locations that benefited from these installations. Today, the university is home to 2.5 megawatts of on-site solar, making it one of the largest producers of on-site solar energy in Missouri.


On-Site Solar Installations

Energy Efficiency

Grow Solar

East End Buildings

Policy Toolkit


Energy & Emissions Partners

We would like to acknowledge and thank our campus partners who are instrumental in implementing and carrying forward the vision displayed on this page. The partners listed below have and continue to be committed to achieving the goals to reduce our energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.