Personal Action

How can I best save energy or water at home?

Simple practices can help use less water and energy. Turning off lights and unplugging outlets are effective practices, but additional action like moderating heating and air condition can have a greater impact. Emory recommends keeping the thermostat between 68° in the summer and 76°in the winter. Wear a sweater if it’s cold or open a window if it’s warm! To save water you can install low flow showerheads and toilets or try to use less water with the equipment you have! Turning off the faucet when brushing teeth, taking shorter showers, or turning off the water when you wash can be simple, everyday practice to limit water use. Visit Atlanta’s Better Building Challenge to learn more, and to participate in the challenge!

What can I do with my personal waste at home if my city or county doesn’t provide recycling?

DeKalb County provides numerous recycling collection centers. You can review the list of nearby recycling centers for general recycling and glass recycling. PLEASE NOTE: glass can only be recycled at certain locations and is not included with home/curbside recycling collections. You can learn more about DeKalb recycling, including a list of acceptable items. Find out more about why DeKalb County does not recycle glass.

How can I encourage people that I work with at Emory to act more sustainably by not printing as much, not using plastic water bottles, etc.?

Offering alternative solutions is a great way to urge people to reduce their waste. Try to keep communication digital, and encourage co-workers to bring their own re-usable water bottle, coffee mug, eating utensils etc. Little actions can go a long way if everyone contributes!

How do I find out the performance of my building in energy, waste or water use?

Check out Emory’s Green Building Dashboard to compare your building and other Emory buildings. Here you can learn about the technology each building employs, compare multiple buildings, and follow competitions between buildings!

Where can I recycle hard to recycle materials?

Hard to Recycle Materials, including batteries, CFL and LED bulbs, aerosol cans, glass, ink jet and toner cartridges, and non-food grade styrofoam are accepted at specific stations around Emory's campus. Visit the Hard to Recycle Stations Map to find the station nearest you!

Sustainability at Emory

How do I get involved in sustainability at Emory?

There are many ways to get involved in sustainability, the most important of which is to reach out and take action! Getting involved can be as simple as turning off your own lights, properly sorting recycling and composting, conserving water, and encouraging friends to make an effort. Don’t hesitate to stop by Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives’ table at the weekly farmer’s market, Wonderful Wednesday, or other on-campus events. There are also plenty of environmental clubs on campus and a community of waste ambassadors, sustainable interns, climate organizers and more! Volunteers are always welcome - learn more about getting involved!

How has Emory’s senior administration made a commitment to sustainability?

Since 2005, Emory has worked to implement the 2005-2015 Strategic Plan and has made many strides advancing energy efficiency, water conservation, alternative transportation, sustainable food, waste reduction and sustainability education and outreach, amongst several other goals. Building on the success and accomplishments of the last 10 years, a new vision was crafted through the participation of the Emory community – including students, staff and faculty—resulting in the Emory Sustainability Vision and Strategic Plan for 2015-2025.

Does the Office of Sustainability Initiatives have any funding available to co-sponsor a talk or event on campus or to help fund a sustainability-related idea?

Yes, Emory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives offers Incentive Fund Grants to support research, campus-based projects, and the development of new rituals to promote sustainability on Emory's campuses. Grants may be awarded in three categories:

  • up to $3,000 are available for projects supporting General Sustainability & Social Justice
  • up to $5,000 are available for projects supporting certified Green Offices
  • up to $5,000 are available for projects supporting certified Green Labs
Learn more about funding opportunities and how to apply!

Campus Sustainability Engagement

What happens to an item after I recycle or compost it?

Compost and Recycling bins are collected every week and brought to a facility that sorts the collects and sorts the material. Metals are separated, plastics organized, and organic material isolated to be sent to individual factories to process the material properly. Find out more about DeKalb County's Recycling Procedures.

Why doesn’t Emory have more solar panels on campus? What can I do to encourage more of them being installed?

Emory currently has solar installations on the 1762 Clifton Road and the North Decatur Road buildings. There are also solar panels at the WaterHub, four new small solar charging stations on campus, and plans to install solar panels on more buildings. These projects are part of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI), which allows entities like Emory to partner with a solar developer to install solar panels and then sell the energy produced back to Georgia Power. Encouraging Georgia Power and Emory’s Administration to pursue further solar installations is a great way to help take steps towards a cleaner energy source for Emory University.

How do I find out how Emory is doing according to national experts in the areas of energy, water, waste, transportation, food, procurement, etc.?

Emory is proud of its awards and recognition for its efforts towards sustainability. You can follow Emory’s national standings by reviewing its ranking in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Program by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This is one of the most recognized platforms for comparing sustainable initiatives across higher education institutions in the United States. In 2021 Emory received a Gold rating, and strives for even higher certification in the future.

Are there paid student internships available with the Office of Sustainability?

Yes! Emory’s OSI offers part-time semester and summer internship positions. Applications are reviewed at the end of the semester for selection onto the next term’s team. Find out more about internships and sustainable careers.