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 showing BTUs consumed per year from 1997-2017
  • Overall energy use per square foot increased by 16% in 2017 due primarily to an increase in heating degree days. 
  • Co-generated electricity increased by 90%.
Chart showing greenhouse gas emissions from 1990-2017
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are 11% higher than 2016 levels, attributable to the increase in heating degree days.
  • Since degree day variation significantly impacts emission levels, work remains to reduce emissions through reduction in campus energy use and conversion to renewable energy sources.

Learn more about greenhouse gas emissions.

Graph showing recycled material percentages from 2005-2017
  • Recycling as a percentage of total discards remains above 50%, with 2017 at 58.1%, a record high.
  • Routine trash disposal is 31% below 2005 levels with recycled materials as a percentage of discarded materials increasing 21.7 % 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 variability of other discards.
Graph showing storm water management in 2017
  • 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 showing contiguous campus land in 2017
  • 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 showing sustainable food purchase percentages
  • Sustainable purchases include food that is locally grown, locally sourced, locally processed, or organic.
  • The cost percentage for 2017 decreased by 4% due to implementation of a more accurate measurement and the sourcing of tofu from a different vendor.
  • Local foods are those purchased within a 150 mile radius and include eggs, ice cream, apples, pasta, potato chips, turkey, flour, milk, yogurt.

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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