Sustainability at a Glance

The College is committed to reducing our environmental footprint in areas such as energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, recycled materials and more.

  • Overall energy use per square foot decreased by 16% in 2016 due energy conservation projects and a decrease in thermal use attributable to a 20% decrease in heating degree days from 2015 to 2016. Electrical use per square foot decreased by 0.7%.
  • Energy projects in 2016 included LED lighting retrofits in Brigham and Porter student rooms, installation of high efficiency boilers in Kendall and the President's House, and mechanical room insulation across campus. Projects that were funded through Mass College Green included several lighting retrofits, occupancy heating/cooling controls, fume hood balancing, and boiler economizer installation.
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are 11% lower than 2015 levels, attributable to the causes described above for energy use increase.
  • GHG emissions are at our goal for 2020 of 10% below 1990 levels.
  • Since neither fuel choice nor degree days can be relied upon to maintain or reduce emission levels, work remains to reduce emissions through reduction in campus energy use.
  • Recycling as a percentage of total discards remains above 50%, with 2016 at 57.5%, a record high. 
  • Routine trash disposal is 29% below 2005 levels with recycled materials as a percentage of discarded materials increasing 21 % over the same period.
  • Not included in these numbers are construction debris, which is recycled, and Equestrian Center waste, which is composted. Both are excluded because their volume would mask variability of other discards.
  • Capturing and treating storm water to remove sediments is an important component of maintaining and restoring the health of Upper and Lower Lakes and Stony Brook. 
  • Prior to 2001, we did not treat any captured storm water. Treatment structures are installed during major construction. 
  • The percentages remain unchanged from 2015 as no projects afforded the opportunity to redirect more drains to treatment structures.
  • This indicator reflects the percentage of the 583 acre contiguous campus that has impervious surfaces. The percentage has changed slightly from the previous report due to a change in area measurement methodology. 
  • Impervious surfaces include all campus buildings and surrounding terraces, roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.
  • Sustainable purchases include food that is locally grown, locally sourced, locally processed, or organic. 
  • The cost percentage for 2016 increased by 1%. 
  • Local foods are those purchased within a 150 mile radius and include eggs, ice cream, apples, pasta, potato chips, turkey, flour, milk, yogurt. Source information is available on the Dining Services web page.

Sustainability Milestones

In recognition of Mount Holyoke's 175th Anniversary celebration, the 2012-2013 Eco-Reps researched and created this timeline of sustainability at Mount Holyoke.

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