A long-standing commitment to sustainable growth

Emory's Office of Sustainability Initiatives was founded in 2006, with Ciannat Howett selected as the first executive director. However, the University has a long-standing reputation as a sustainability leader in higher education. For many years, dedicated staff, faculty, students and others have been involved with environmental issues on campus, in the classroom and beyond.

  • Professor Woolford Baker came to Emory and became the first guardian of Emory’s forests.
  • Professors WH Murdy and MEB Carter authored an assessment that concluded Emory’s forests represent “a unique and valuable resource of scientific, educational, and aesthetic value.”
  • Led by anthropology professor Peggy Bartlett, a group of faculty, staff, administrators, students and alumni created an Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship to foster a deeper engagement with sustainability issues.
  • After a decade of assessment and action, the Ad Hoc Committee crafted an Environmental Mission Statement for the University. The effort became a platform to bring environmental issues to the forefront across campus.
  • Emory’s Whitehead Medical Research Building was designated as the first LEED certified building constructed in the Southeast.
  • Emory’s Board of Trustees formalized a commitment to upholding LEED standards in all new building projects.
  • John Wegner was hired as Campus Environmental Officer in the division of Campus Services, a role he held until 2009.
  • Launch of the Piedmont Project, a program designed to engage faculty in integrating sustainability across the curriculum
  • An energy conservation program was piloted in ten Emory College buildings; after communications efforts, electricity use went down 8 percent in the first year and 6.7 percent in the second year despite growth in faculty, staff and machines in some buildings.
  • Sustainability is established as a core commitment during university-wide strategic planning. The “Sustainability Vision for Emory” was adopted by the President’s Cabinet and guides the University’s efforts today.
  • The Piedmont Project was expanded to include a one-day workshop for graduate students
  • Emory University is recognized as the “Conservationist of the Year” by the Georgia Conservancy
  • Princeton Review ranked Emory in the Top 11 Most Sustainable Campuses
  • The League of American Bicyclists designated Emory a Bike Friendly Campus
  • Emory received the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, “Gold” rating in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System for leadership and innovation
  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education awarded Peggy Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology and Sustainable Food Committee chair, the inaugural Faculty Sustainability Leadership award
  • National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) – acknowledged Emory with the Sustainability Award in Procurement
  • The Emory Conference Center Hotel is recognized by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) – “Good Earthkeeping” award
  • Emory received the American Physical Plant Association (APPA) – Sustainability Award in Facilities Management
  • The U.S. Green Building Council ranked Emory the best higher education institution on the “Best of Green Schools” list
  • Emory is ranked #8 on the “Greenest Universities” List on BestColleges.com
  • Emory is recognized as top performer in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index
  • Emory’s WaterHub is awarded the U.S. Water Prize, the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge’s Game Changer Award and the ACEC Engineering Excellence Award
  • Emory is ranked #9 in EPA Battle of the Buildings Competition