MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Tufts University has released its 2014 Campus Sustainability Progress Report, a year after the Campus Sustainability Council issued a report presenting recommendations for the university in the areas of waste, water, and energy use and emissions. The council, established by Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco in 2012, includes students, faculty and staff from across Tufts’ three Massachusetts campuses.
The 2014 progress report highlights sustainability-related developments and achievements made over the past year, including the creation of an energy master plan for the Medford/Somerville campus, establishment of a solid waste minimization program, and improvements in the capital planning process to integrate sustainable design principles in planning construction projects.
“Universities play a vital role in helping the world address challenging environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion, and sustainability is a strategic priority for me and for Tufts,” said Monaco. “The Campus Sustainability Progress Report shows how our university community has worked together to make significant strides toward achieving many of the recommendations put forth by the Campus Sustainability Council in 2013. We want to build on that momentum and continue to be a leader in the area of sustainability in higher education.”
The report highlights a wide range of current and upcoming sustainability initiatives across the university, among them:
- The installation of water- and energy-conservation features like Tufts’ first rain garden, an electric vehicle charging station, and solar arrays planned on in both the Medford/Somerville and Grafton campuses;
- A transportation working group focused on reducing the impact of Tufts-related travel and improving access to multiple modes of transportation to the community;
- LEED™ certification of two more spaces at Tufts – the Biology Collaborative Cluster at 200 Boston Avenue in Medford and the Sackler building in Boston; certification is also planned for two upcoming projects: renovation of a warehouse at 574 Boston Avenue, Medford, into an classrooms and teaching labs, and proposed construction of a Science and Engineering Complex near the School of Engineering
- Enhanced recycling programs which handle laboratory-specific material like Styrofoam™.
Despite 38% growth in Tufts’ built environment since 1990, the university’s greenhouse gas emissions per square foot have decreased 27%. Tufts formally adopted goals in the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan in 2003; these goals call for reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, a goal Tufts has achieved; reducing them to at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and at least 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050. The Campus Sustainability Council reaffirmed these goals by committing to the Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas reduction goals, which include a target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Tufts is also working to reduce and reuse waste and cut water consumption. The university’s current recycling and composting programs mean Tufts already complies with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s waste bans. Water consumption across all campuses decreased in 2013, while the stormwater regulation features of our ongoing construction projects are designed to exceed federal and state requirements.
“While the university has made great progress, there is still much to do,” said Tina Woolston, Tufts’ Sustainability Program director. “In addition to highlighting our achievements, our annual report talks about important next steps for Tufts. Examples include performing waste audits on the Grafton campus, installing a heat recovery system on the Boston campus, and opening more freecycle stations so that students on the Medford/Somerville campus can exchange reusable items this summer.”
To read the progress report and learn more about Tufts’ sustainability programs, visit the Tufts Office of Sustainability website at sustainability.tufts.edu.