Climate & Air

Rising to the challenge together

Emory fosters ecological citizenship and intergenerational equity through climate change education and action. Emory is committed to reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 through comprehensive strategies in sustainable building and construction, energy use reduction, sustainable transportation, waste minimization and landfill diversion, sustainable food, supply chain procurement, academic programs, and individual action.

So Far

  • Launched in 2011, strategies outlined in Emory’s Climate Action Plan have resulted in a 16 percent decrease in total emissions since 2005.
  • The construction of the Emory University Hospital Tower, opened in 2017, followed Clean Construction Guidelines that ensure construction equipment utilized the best available technology to reduce emissions.

Emory’s goal is to reduce total GHG emissions 20% by 2020, 35% by 2035, and 50% by 2050 from a 2005 baseline. Inventories of these emissions help Emory assess its progress toward these total emissions reduction targets, and understand the major sources of its emissions. Emissions are measured from University and Healthcare buildings on the Druid Hills campus.

Today

  • Drawing on the expertise of more than 60 faculty and staff from more than 20 departments, Climate@Emory is an inter-disciplinary, university-wide initiative to advance climate change scholarship, teaching, partnership and engagement at Emory and beyond.
  • A temperature control policy and weekend, evening, and holiday building shutdowns decrease the greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling Emory’s buildings, which are the largest source of Scope 1 GHG emissions. All new construction is built to a minimum of LEED Silver requirement, ensuring that buildings operate efficiently at all times.
  • Sustainable commuting options allow approximately 50 percent of Emory’s employees to utilize low-carbon forms of transportation. A No Idling policy for delivery vehicles and consolidation of supply orders further decreases transportation emissions.
  • Emory composts pre-and post consumer food waste, which enhances carbon sequestration in soils and reduces methane emissions from food waste in landfills.
  • Emory University does not currently hold direct stock in public companies producing fossil fuels, based on information compiled and maintained by Fossil Free Indexes.

Tomorrow

Our plans for the next decade emphasize reducing our impact on the climate and improving air quality for our communities. By 2025 Emory hopes to:

  • Establish a Carbon Neutral Degree within an academic unit to create the opportunity to offset the environmental impacts of a degree.
  • Develop a carbon offset program to allow students, faculty and staff to offset university travel, commuting, and other activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Enhance purchasing incentives and restrictions to increase sustainable refrigerant use and disposal.