Sustainability at a Glance

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

Chart depicting BTUs Consumer Per Year per Square Foot from 1997-2018
  • Overall energy use per square foot decreased by 4.1%, attributed to an 8.7% decrease in energy used for heat and hot water, in 2018 despite a 2.7% increase in heating degree days. Electricity  co-generated on-site was 5.7% of total electricity use.
  • The decrease in energy used for heat and hot water is attributable to a number of efficiency and renewable projects including: new controls in 3 residence halls, temperature regulation valves throughout Clapp, aggressive steam trap replacement, mechanical insulation, and solar hot water on the Dining Commons.
Chart depicting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from 2016 through 2018
  • With the Trustee endorsement of the goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2037,  it is necessary to begin accounting for Scope 3 emissions.  To that end, our base year is now FY2016.
  • Scope 1: direct emissions from campus operation - heat production, fleet fuel use , refrigerants and chemicals.
  • Scope 2: indirect - purchased electricity.
  • Scope 3: other emissions attributable to campus operations -  college-funded travel including study abroad, faculty, staff and student commuting.

Learn more about greenhouse gas emissions.

Chart depicting the percentage of discarded materials that have been recycled from 2005 through 2018
  • Recycling as a percentage of total discards remains above 50%, with 2018 at 59.1%, a record high.
  • Routine trash disposal is 40% below 2005 levels with recycled materials as a percentage of discarded materials increasing 22.7 % 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 the variability of other discards.
Chart depicting the percentage of storm water that is captured but untreated (46%), captured and treated (13%) and not captured (41%)
  • 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 2016 as no projects afforded the opportunity to redirect more drains to treatment structures.
Chart depicting the percentage of campus land that has impervious surfaces (14%)
  • This indicator reflects the percentage of the 583 acre contiguous campus that has impervious surfaces.  The percentage remains unchanged from 2016.  This will change in 2018 reflecting the construction of the Community Center.
  • Impervious surfaces include all campus buildings and surrounding terraces, roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.
Chart depicting the percentage of dining purchases that are local and sustainable
  • From Fiscal Year 2016 to FY18, Dining Services increased local and sustainable purchasing from 9% to just over 13%, with a goal of purchasing at least 20% local and sustainable food and beverages by the year 2020.
  • “Locally grown” products are products that are grown in New England or within a 250 mile radius of campus, except for meats which are allowed a 500 mile radius. “Sustainable” products are defined as products that are certified by one of a list of verified and trustworthy third-party certifiers, such as USDA Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance Certified, and so on. Mount Holyoke Dining Services only accepts the sustainable certifications denoted in the Real Food Challenge Standards.

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.

If the timeline does not display properly, open it in a new window.