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Report Card 2010

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University of Pennsylvania
College Sustainability Report Card 2010

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University of Pennsylvania

School details:

  Overall College Sustainability Leader

  Campus Sustainability Leader


Endowment: $6,200 million as of June 30, 2008

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Enrollment: 20,128

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  
A -
Recommendations from the six working groups of the 40-person Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee were used to create a detailed university plan for emissions reductions. Four staff members work full-time on sustainability initiatives. The university uses organic, biodegradable landscaping products whenever possible and purchases almost entirely EPEAT-registered computers.
The university has committed to cutting approximately one-fifth of its overall carbon emissions by 2017. Efforts to retrocommission HVAC systems and optimize building controls in nine campus buildings are expected to save Penn over $1.5 million in energy costs. Penn purchases 45 percent of its electricity in the form of wind power and uses some biodiesel for its nonelectric energy needs.
In a skylit portion of the main campus cafeteria, the university is installing a hydroponic garden to grow herbs and greens for use in dining locations. Dining halls feature food from 20 local farms and offer exclusively cage-free eggs, grass-fed beef, and sustainably caught seafood. Penn recycled over 126,000 pounds of electronic waste in 2008.
The university is awaiting LEED certification on nine projects, one of which is projected to achieve Gold-level certification, and one Platinum-level. All roofing projects are evaluated for the feasibility of green roof installation. Penn's new 14-acre recreation and athletic facility, Penn Park, will feature LED lighting and a rainwater reclamation system for irrigation needs.
The Penn Environmental Group developed a sustainability rating program for various food facilities located around Penn’s campus that awards green, gold, or platinum acorns depending on the depth of the facility's environmental efforts. The university offers students paid sustainability internships and 48 positions within the Eco-Reps program. During orientation, students are presented information about Penn's sustainability activities.
Penn plans to add six hybrid or alternative-fuel vans to its fleet each year. The PennPass, a heavily subsidized student transit pass, allows for unlimited rides on buses and subways. The university partners with a local car-sharing program that directs 1 percent of revenues from Penn users into the Penn Sustainability Fund.
The university makes a list of all endowment holdings available to trustees and senior administrators. A list of votes cast on proxy resolutions by category is sent upon request to the public.
The university aims to optimize investment return and is currently invested in renewable energy funds.
The Social Responsibility Advisory Committee, consisting of students, faculty, and staff, designs shareholder engagement policies and practices that advocate improvements to the social and environmental performance of the companies in which Penn has holdings.
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