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Environmental Assessment


About the Assessment

NYU's Sustainability Task Force has released the first comprehensive Environmental Assessment Report of the university. This report covers the 2006-07 year, and includes detailed data and analysis that will help to baseline NYU's environmental impacts and benchmark progress toward sustainability.

Sustainability staff and the Task Force Data Subcommittee worked with every sector of the university to collect and analyze information about a broad range of operational environmental impacts, in order to implement a comprehensive annual NYU Environmental Assessment process.

The Assessment centralizes data from many campus sources and systems, and analyzes that data to guide new policies and initiatives. The Assessment also serves as the backbone for a set of metrics to evaluate our trajectory and progress toward sustainability goals.

NYU Executive Vice President Michael Alfano has asked all university divisions to facilitate this process by assisting sustainability staff wherever possible. Please read the Environmental Assessment Memo for more information.

Why Conduct an Assessment?

  • To baseline current environmental impacts, and benchmark progress toward sustainability
  • To observe trends and changes over time
  • To enable us to use energy, water and other resources more efficiently, and save money
  • To clearly define environmental problems, and the need for new sustainability projects
  • To prioritize environmental interventions, given limited time, energy and resources


A specific and immediate goal is to apply metrics derived from Assessment data to the Sustainability Task Force's recommendations in future annual reports.

A longer-term goal is to develop effective means for sharing environmental data and key statistics with Task Force members, the NYU community and the public. Another is to establish lines of communication and procedures so that a similar assessment may be performed iteratively in future years to measure progress over time.


December 2007
Developed final list of key information to collect, as well as which administrative departments and staff have access to the data, and the purpose/end use for each type of information.

January 2008
Begin receiving data from administrative departments, including: electricity and commodity fuel use; building systems and performance; water use; transportation fuel efficiency; commuter habits; waste production and recycling; food consumption and sources in dining halls; employee commuting habits; academic course offerings; and surveyed levels of awareness and engagement among students, faculty and staff.

April 2008
Begin data analysis and evaluation of findings.

February 2009
Assessment Report completed and released.

Key Assessment Areas

Data for the assessment will include: electricity and commodity fuel use, cost and sources; water use; transportation fuel efficiency, commuter habits, and fleet data; building inventory and performance; waste production and recycling; food consumption and sources in dining halls; academic course offerings; awareness levels among students, faculty and staff; and other information.

Links and Resources

Gallatin Student Team Sustainability Assessment, 2005-2006
This detailed report was compiled by a team of Gallatin students and presented to the Task Force in December 2006. Disclaimer: while the Gallatin assessment provides a wealth of useful data and background about sustainability at NYU, some information is incomplete and may be inaccurate, due to limitations of time and resources on the part of the student team.

Yale University Sustainability Metrics
Yale is one of many universities that conduct regular, comprehensive environmental assessment studies.

Campus Sustainability Assessment Project
Western Michigan University maintains this database of Environmental Assessments conducted by dozens of universities over the past decade.

For more details, or if you have questions about the Environmental Assessment, please contact Jeremy Friedman, STF Project Administrator.