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About Us
Ciannat Howett
Director of Sustainability Initiatives
Adjunct Associate Professor
Emory University

Sustainability is defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations. As part of its commitment to positive transformation in the world, Emory has identified sustainability as a top priority of the University and is included in Emory's Strategic Plan.

Emory's vision calls on the Office of Sustainability Initiatives to help restore our global ecosystem, foster healthy living, and reduce the University's impact on the local environment. Progress will be assessed using the environmental, economic, and social "triple bottom line" of sustainability.

When applying the triple bottom line of sustainability, the decisions and choices made by Emory must pass a new set of filters: What is the social impact of this decision? The environmental impact? The economic impact? What will be the local impact? The global impact? The impact to future generations?

Sustainability Initiatives at Emory include:

Building green:
Emory has a well-established program in green building. The University currently has one of the largest inventories of LEED certified green buildings by square footage among campuses in America. Since 2001, all of Emory's new construction has met LEED standards with LEED silver as the minimum design standard. This commitment to green building will help Emory achieve its goal of 25 percent reduced energy use by 2015 from our 2005 levels.

Integrating sustainability into the curriculum:
Emory boasts of one of the longest-running faculty development programs in sustainability in the country. Named the Piedmont Project after the ecosystem in which the campus is located, the program has trained more than 130 faculty participants from every school and division within the University - from medicine to journalism. Emory faculty now train faculty from other schools across the country about how to create programs on their campuses.

Promoting commute options:
In 2006, Emory introduced the Cliff shuttle. Emory's shuttle fleet is one of the largest in Georgia and is 100 percent alternatively-fueled, powered by biodiesel made from recycled cooking oil from the school's cafeterias and hospitals.

Protecting green space:
In 2004, Emory's trustees adopted a Land Use Classification plan that identifies areas appropriate for development and set aside over half of the campus as protected green space. Emory instituted a No-Net-Loss-of-Forest-Canopy Policy that guarantees that, every time a tree is removed, enough trees will be planted to maintain the same forest canopy.

Conserving water:
Emory's comprehensive water management plan encourages incorporating water-saving technology into our green buildings, cisterns collect grey water and rainwater for use in irrigation and toilet flushing. In some buildings, large heat wheels pull moisture from the air while efficiently ventilating buildings. The condensation from the heat wheels on Emory's Children's Pediatric Center and the Whitehead Biomedical Research Buildings alone amount to roughly four million of gallons of water a year for Emory's chilled water system. Overall, Emory plans to decrease water use by 25% from 2010 levels by 2020.

Recycling waste:
Emory currently recycles over half of its waste stream with a goal to recycle 65 percent by 2015. Recycling at Emory goes far beyond paper, cans, and plastic. The Campus Services Department found new uses for 95 percent of Emory's electronic waste and plans to match that mark by 2015 with construction and road debris, animal bedding, and food waste.

Providing local and sustainably grown food:
Emory's sustainable food initiative reduces petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance food is shipped from farm to table; and in turn, promotes health and wellness. Emory's sustainability vision statement sets an ambitious goal of 75 percent local or sustainably grown food in Emory hospitals and cafeterias by 2015. Sustainably grown food includes the attributes of organic farming but also includes worker safety and fair wage protections.

Emory's vision is to develop a model for healthy living on campus that can translate to communities around the globe. As a catalyst for sustainability in our the immediate community, for the region, and beyond. Emory's sustainability initiatives on campus hope to set an example for an ethical approach to creating a healthy and productive place to live, learn, and work.

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