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Report Card 2010

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California Institute of Technology
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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California Institute of Technology

School details:

Endowment: $1,404 million as of June 30, 2009

Location: Pasadena, California

Enrollment: 2,126

Type: Private


Campus Survey: Yes (see response)

Dining Survey: Yes (see response)

Endowment Survey: Yes (see response)

Student Survey: Yes (see response)


Data compiled from independent research. For information on data collection and evaluation, please see the Methods section.

Overall grade  
Caltech's strategic plan incorporates sustainability objectives. The Sustainability Committee works on projects in the areas of energy efficiency, waste reduction, and sustainable transportation. The purchasing policy establishes guidelines pertaining to durability, toxicity, energy use, packaging, materials, and disposal. A policy is being drafted to make Energy Star appliances standard.
The institute has pledged to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The campus has a cogeneration plant. About half of all buildings are being retrocommissioned using money from a revolving loan fund. The money in this fund will be reimbursed in the form of savings on the utility bill. Energy conservation is encouraged through the use of real-time dorm room monitoring. Caltech buys renewable energy credits to offset the electricity that powers off-campus housing.
Caltech purchases produce from 21 local farms. Some food in the dining halls comes from on-campus gardens. All coffee is fair trade, the majority of steak is hormone-free, and most seafood is sustainably harvested. All take-out containers, as well as trash can liners, are compostable. There is a comprehensive recycling program, including extensive electronics recycling.
Caltech has set a goal for all large building projects to follow LEED Gold specifications. Four buildings are pending LEED certification, one is anticipated to be Platinum level and three Gold. Low-flow fixtures and waterless urinals have been installed. Caltech is performing lighting retrofits, and re-roofing buildings with reflective materials to absorb less heat.
New students are given information about sustainability at a variety of orientation sessions. The student Caltech Solar Initiative has planned, designed, and built a 14-kilowatt solar installation on campus. Various student groups also serve to maintain the campus gardens, produce biodiesel, and build electric vehicles.
Caltech offers financial incentives and reserved parking spots for employees who carpool to work. Students receive monthly subsidies and discounts on public transportation. Bike commuters have access to bike storage, a repair shop, showers, and lockers on campus.
The institute makes a list of endowment holdings available online to trustees, senior administrators, and other select members of the school community. Asset allocation is made available to the public. The institute does not make the shareholder voting record of its mutual funds public.
The institute aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds. Caltech uses investment managers that have renewable energy funds or similar investment vehicles and/or targeted investments in renewable energy within their funds.
The institute does not have the ability to vote proxies, as the entire endowment is invested in mutual funds.
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