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NYU Sets a 50% GHG Reduction Target by 2017

April 18, 2013
N-288, 2012-13

As a PlaNYC Mayor’s Carbon Climate Challenge Partner, NYU has Achieved a 30% GHG Reduction Years Ahead of Schedule


New York University today announced that it is setting a target of a 50 percent Green House Gas (GHG) reduction by 2017.  This is in accordance with its Climate Action Plan, (CAP) which calls for the University to strive for climate neutrality by 2040.  NYU developed its CAP as a result of signing two separate commitments to mitigate climate change: Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge, which called on NYU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017, and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which commits NYU to achieving climate neutrality by 2040.

"As one of the nine initial signatories of the Mayor’s 2030 Challenge Partners, NYU continues to be a staunch supporter of the Mayor's sustainability initiatives. We commend the Mayor for his leadership in setting an agenda to confront directly the challenges of global warming,” said NYU President John Sexton. “We are proud to have achieved our initial greenhouse gas reduction commitment in January 2011, six years ahead of schedule. As an institution, we have set a target of 50% greenhouse gas reduction by 2017 on our way to carbon neutrality by 2040. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor's Carbon Challenge and partner universities to create a greener and greater NYC, not only for our generation, but for the generations to come."

Meeting the 30 percent GHG called for by the Mayor’s Challenge, NYU has gone from a peak of ~ 179,000 Metric Tons Carbon Equivalent (MTCE) in 2006 to ~ 98,500 MTCE in 2012, through a comprehensive approach to energy savings, with both physical plant upgrades, as well as personnel training and education in energy conservation, saving the University between $11-14 million per year.

NYU completed a cutting-edge, high-efficiency cogeneration power plant in 2011 at a cost of $125 million—the largest capital investment in NYU’s history. The plant provides heating, cooling and electricity to 40 buildings, powering half the campus with cleaner energy. By switching to natural gas, NYU’s plant also helps to prevent brownouts, taking pressure off the city’s strained electrical grid.  The plant also reduces NYU’s GHG emissions by more than 20 percent, and cuts other air pollutants by 68 percent–all while doubling the power output of the previous system.

NYU has also retrofitted and upgraded to ENERGY STAR equipment, installing energy efficient boilers, printers, and computers throughout the University.  Occupancy sensors were installed for lighting, heating, and cooling, and the use of building management systems for monitoring and controlling energy use were greatly expanded.


On the education side, NYU has trained equipment operators in energy efficiency, and engaged students, faculty and staff to use less energy through campus-wide initiatives such as the Sustainability Task Force and NYUnplugged, a residence hall energy reduction competition.  Finally, NYU continues to build and retrofit its buildings to LEED® Silver standards for new and existing construction.

“In order for NYU to get to 50 percent, we will be continuing to retrofit our lighting, moving from florescent to LEDs,” said Ozgem Ornektekin, director, NYU Office of Sustainability.  “Additional reductions will also come from energy audits, optimizing operations, perhaps some renewables, and an excellent behavior change campaign.  We will also continue to build new green infrastructure whenever we can,” she said.

NYU has won a number of national awards and recognition for its sustainability efforts, including: First Place, Green Power Leadership Award — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2008); Campus Sustainability Leadership Award — AASHE (2009); STARS Gold Rating — AASHE (2011); Clean Air Excellence Award, Community Action Category — U.S. EPA (2011); Climate Leadership Award, Finalist — ACUPCC (2011); Corporate Energy Management of the Year — NYAAE, New York Chapter (2012); Tree Campus USA Award from the Arbor Foundation (2013); Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Award (2013).


About the NYU Office of Sustainability

NYU launched its sustainability efforts in 2006 with the creation of Sustainability Task Force  formed by faculty, students, staff and administration to galvanize NYU community to plan and take action towards sustainability in the way we live, operate, educate and innovate. The Office of Sustainability implements infrastructure projects, communication and engagement campaigns, and innovative programs to empower, inspire and guide the NYU community to achieve our goals for sustainable practices and culture.

About New York University:

Founded in 1831, NYU is one of the world’s foremost research universities and is a member of the selective Association of American Universities. The first Global Network University, NYU has degree-granting university campuses in New York and Abu Dhabi, and has announced a third in Shanghai; has a dozen other global academic sites, including London, Paris, Florence, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, and Accra; and sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its numerous schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Christopher James | (212) 998-6876

NYU Sets a 50% GHG Reduction Target by 2017

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