Red & Blue On College Green

Penn's Campus Comes Together to Celebrate Sustainability  


 As many of you know, the University launched in October the Climate Action Plan 2.0, a renewed vision of our environmental stewardship. It has been five years since the launch of our original Climate Action Plan - five years since we embarked as a community on our mission to expand sustainability in our curriculum and reduce our carbon emissions. The many successes we have seen - the reduction of Penn's carbon emissions by 18%, the LEED certification of six buildings, the creation of degree programs in environmental studies - are described in the Climate Action Plan report, as are our newly defined goals for 2014-2019.

We join President Gutmann in thanking the students, staff, and faculty who have done so much to advance this mission over the past five years: the members of the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee who help us continue to lead in research and practice; the Eco-Reps and Sustainability Coordinators who implement our green initiatives across their offices, classrooms, and residences; and all the energetic participants in such programs as Green Office, Power Down Challenge, and Green Fund.

November's ReThink Your Footprint campaign called upon all of us to look beyond recycling at some of the wider ways in which we can impact the planet through zero-waste and related initiatives.  We encourage all of you to continue to think about what you can do in your homes, your offices, or your College Houses to make a positive impact on our community. You can always learn more about the many opportunities to get involved on the Green Campus Partnership website.

With all best wishes for a joyous holiday season and new year,


provost price
Craig Carnaroli
vp sign

Craig R. Carnaroli
Vincent Price
Craig Carnaroli
Executive Vice President


Penn Announces Climate Action Plan 2.0
ReThink Asks Penn to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Century Bond Funding Brings Renovations to Chem '73
SSAP Publishes Annual Report
Green Living Offers Incentives
Power Down Challenge Goes Greek
Eco-Reps Visit Waste Management Facility
Office Furniture Gets a Second Chance
An Orchard Takes Root at Penn Park
Leading the Green: Joe Gaither, Urban Park Supervisor
 Penn Green Campus Partnership Website
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Download the Penn Climate Action Plan Red & Blue On College Green Archives

Penn Announces Climate Action Plan 2.0

Five years after releasing its original Climate Action Plan, the University of Pennsylvania announced on October 21 the completion and launch of Climate Action Plan 2.0, a roadmap for environmental improvement and sustainability on campus to 2019 and beyond. Building on the successes of the last five years, Climate Action Plan 2.0 sets forth challenging new goals for campus building and landscape performance, expanded educational opportunities for students, and enriched support for faculty research.


"Penn is proud to be at the forefront of sustainable practices and conservation," President Amy Gutmann said. "As an environmental leader among American colleges and universities, we are putting our knowledge to work in comprehensive ways to improve our community and preserve the planet for generations to come."


Penn launched the Climate Action Plan - the University's collective commitment to reduce carbon emissions, engage the community, and expand sustainability related teaching and research -- in 2009, two years after Dr. Gutmann became the first Ivy League president to sign the Presidents' Climate Commitment. The goals and recommendations included in Climate Action Plan 2.0 build upon those outlined in the original Climate Action Plan.


Read Penn's Climate Action Plan 2.0 .

View our video, Penn's Climate Action Plan 2.0: Creating a Culture of Sustainability

View photos from the October 21 Climate Action Plan 2.0 Launch Event

Download Infographics illustrating achievements of Climate Action Plan 2009-2014.

ReThink Asks Penn to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Anxious to get started "being green" after hearing about the launch of Penn's Climate Action Plan 2.0? Then this fall's ReThink Your Footprint campaign was the perfect way to begin. The goal of the annual ReThink Your Footprint campaign is to raise the level of conversation about waste management beyond recycling and engage the campus in a broader discussion of source reduction and reuse. As a University, Penn has already made great strides in reducing overall waste and managing its trash, and this year we continue to build upon this work.

The ReThink campaign asks all of us to take a second look at the products we use and what we throw away. Held November 1 through 21, ReThink started off with a zero-waste QuakerFest picnic, held during Homecoming Weekend. Eighty-nine percent of the waste from this event was diverted from landfill.

Three separate e-waste collections across campus afforded students, staff, and faculty a secure way to safely dispose of computers, printers, phones, and various cables and accessories. More than 3,100 pounds of these materials collected at the School of Medicine, Engineering, Arts & Sciences, and the Facilities office (3101 Walnut Street) were taken by a local, state-certified e-waste recycler, ensuring that valuable materials would be extracted and recycled in an environmentally safe manner.

Read more stories from 2014 ReThink Your Footprint.


Century Bond Funding Brings Renovations
to Chem '73

Chem '73, the 1973 Wing of the Chemistry Laboratories in Penn's School of Arts & Sciences, is the first building in which a comprehensive mechanical and lighting systems renovation under Penn's Century Bond program has been completed.  This 150,000 square foot building is home to lab, lecture, and offices spaces, an auditorium and a library - all functioning with what, in many cases, were the original internal systems for cooling, heating and lighting. Chem '73 had been on a list of research buildings targeted for renovation based on its advanced age and the deteriorated condition of its Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). When the Century Bond funding became available in spring 2012, several buildings on this list were studied to determine their feasibility for renovation, examining cost, condition, and payback based on utilities savings, among other factors. Ultimately, eight Penn buildings were identified for Century Bond funding, and Chem '73 was selected as the first project.

Conducting extensive HVAC system work in an occupied building increased the visibility and complexity of the project, according to Michael Dausch, Executive Director of Design & Construction in Penn's Facilities & Real Estate Services. A temporary air handling unit (AHU) on the roof served each floor during the demo work. This set-up, combined with the fact that the building's ductwork did not need replacing, enabled the building to remain occupied during the HVAC system renovation.

The Chem '73 HVAC renovations converted the ventilation controls from a constant to a variable air volume system, automatically adjusting the amount of fresh air brought in to the building according to the level of occupancy.  New, more efficient air handler units were installed, as were automated Phoenix supply and exhaust valves throughout building and at fume hoods to deliver the precise amount of air flow necessary for occupancy comfort and research needs. New rooftop Strobic exhaust fans were installed with redundant capacity and variable frequency drives, which are tuned to the rest of the building airflow controls.


Inefficient T12 fluorescent lighting fixtures were replaced with new T8 fixtures, which reduced the number of lamps by 70% and reduced the wattage of the lamps from 40 watts to 28 watts.  Additional electrical savings have been realized by incorporating occupancy and vacancy sensors throughout the building.


The project wrapped up on time and on budget in early September 2014. Ken Ogawa, Executive Director of Operations & Maintenance in Penn's Facilities & Real Estate Services, reports that energy use is running at about 67% below the pre-renovation levels after two months of building operation.


To maximize the benefits of this new building, the Penn Sustainability Office is planning a series of sessions to educate occupants on the operation of their "new" building. Senior Project Manager Margo Pietras-Barnes presented the Chem '73 project as a case study in energy saving building renovations to students in the School of Design Masters of Environmental Building Design program.



SSAP Publishes 2013-2014 Annual Report

As the official student umbrella group for environmental sustainability, the Student Sustainability Association at Penn (SSAP) was founded in 2010 to foster cohesion among environmentally focused student groups, develop strategies for impacting campus performance, and create a unified student voice on green issues.

"The student environmental community has grown immensely since the 2009 launch of Penn's Climate Action Plan. SSAP plays a crucial role in helping foster increased collaboration among the 18 student environmental groups on campus, as well as between students, staff, and faculty working on environmental issues," said SSAP Executive Board Co-Chair, Emily Wei.


"For the administration, SSAP has been an enormous ally, and has served as a sounding board when we are considering launching new initiatives," said Penn Sustainability Director Dan Garofalo. "Having a committed group of students to partner with on programs and policies makes our work much more effective. These students are thought leaders on sustainability, and we value their contributions tremendously."  Download the SSAP 2013-2014 Accomplishments document.


'Green Living' Offers Incentives from
Corporate Partners

Now in its second year, the Green Living Certification program offers enhanced rewards for students making conscious decisions to reduce their environmental footprint at Penn. Partnerships with four local restaurants in University City offer a selection of discounts and incentives to certified students.

Bailey Rowland, Emily Wei, and Austin Bream, student interns in Penn's Sustainability Office, organize the Green Living Certification program. Sweetgreen, Picnic, Shake Shack, and Metropolitan Bakery all offer discounts or coupons to certified students. In gratitude for their partnership, the Sustainability Team has agreed to publish in this newsletter some information about each company's sustainable practices. 



Lisa Jackson, Environmental Business Leader, Speaks at Penn

Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environmental Initiatives and former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gave a special presentation at Penn on November 7 entitled "The Private Sector as Public Servant."  Lisa described her journey from a child growing up in New Orleans to serving as President Obama's EPA chief; her efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and fight global warming; and Apple's efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials, and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources.



Power Down Challenge Goes Greek 

Greek chapters at Penn have participated in their own version of the Power Down Challenge. This month-long energy reduction competition, hosted by Greek Eco-Reps in partnership with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, took place in November. Thirteen chapters competed to see which fraternity or sorority lowered its electricity use the most. Baseline usage was determined by averaging the previous two years of data (November 2012 and November 2013). 

Chapters could win in two categories: achieving the greatest percent electricity reduction from the baseline and achieving the greatest gross electricity reduction from the baseline. Prizes include reusable water bottles, a trophy, and a dessert reception catered by a local campus restaurant. Results are expected in mid-December and winners will be posted on the Green Campus Partnership website.

Chapters got creative to reduce their electricity use. They encouraged residents to unplug electronics and turn off lights when not in use. FIJI turned off lights and taped down light switches in areas of the house that are rarely used. Pike encouraged residents to do laundry on the cold-water setting. The St. Elmo Club made sure appliances were unplugged when not in use. Chi Omega used CFLs and power strips, and held a competition between residents to see who got the most involved in the house.

Greek Eco-Reps hope that raising awareness about electricity use during this competition will lead to reduced usage throughout the year. As FIJI's Eco-Rep said, "We hope to encourage this activity in the future and that these good habits last past the month of November."



Eco-Reps Visit Waste Management Facility

Penn's Staff & Faculty Eco-Reps came face-to-face with the literally mountainous volume of waste generated in our city during their visit to Waste Management's Philadelphia Material Recovery Facility.

Geared up in hard hats, safety vests, glasses and ear plugs, the Eco-Reps and Andrea Kreiner, Penn's Sustainability Consultant, toured the facility while the full Waste Management staff was on the sorting lines. At this residential recycling facility in Northeast Philadelphia, the Eco-Reps watched giant magnets pull out ferrous metals from the conveyor belt, kick aluminum cans out of the waste stream, and sort cardboard, paper, and plastic bottles.

Lessons learned from the tour included insight that plastic bags are better returned to the grocery store than put in the recycling bin because they clog up the sorting machines, and that recycled items should be clean and empty, but they don't need to be pristine to go in the bin. The Eco-Reps plan to use what they saw at Waste Management to improve their green programs back in their own offices. View their tour photos here.


Office Furniture Gets a Second Chance
at Life in SAS

The SAS Sustainability team started last summer a new Furniture Reuse Process in the School of Arts & Sciences. The goal is to divert serviceable SAS furniture from landfills - achieved through reuse within the School when possible, then through the Netter Center for Community Partnerships via coordination with outside nonprofit organizations. 

So far 0.77 tons of furniture has found a new home through this program. If no reuse can be found, the furniture is recycled using Revolution Recovery.  SAS has sent 2.76 tons to Revolution Recovery, 80% of which has been diverted from a landfill. This process is an important sustainability stepping-stone toward reuse of all serviceable furniture, and works in coordination with the overall University's goal of reducing waste.



Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall Wins Philadelphia TOBY Award

Wharton Operations announced in September that Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall won the Philadelphia BOMA 2014 TOBY Award - Best of the Best for Green Practices.  The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Awards were created in 1985 by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to salute excellence in the office building industry.  Twenty-nine years later, it remains the most prestigious and comprehensive program of its kind, recognizing quality in office buildings and awarding excellence in office building management. 

Rafael de Luna, Associate Director of Sustainability, Wharton Operations, calls Steinberg Hall - Dietrich Hall, "a great example of sustainability in the built environment and green operations."  Steinberg Hall - Dietrich Hall features two LEED Gold Certified areas, Joe's Café and the SHDH West Tower Entrance. Wharton earned Penn's first LEED for Commercial Interiors certification at Joe's Café (named for the Wharton School's founder, Joseph Wharton). Joe's Café earned two innovation credits in Operations and Maintenance - one for green cleaning and one for sustainable cafe operations focused on waste diversion, composting and sourcing local/organic/healthy food options.

The new West Tower Entrance takes building performance a step further.  The new office and classroom addition integrates advanced insulation techniques into the building's limestone and glazed facades. Sustainable features include green roofs above the ground floor classrooms to help manage storm water runoff and reduce cooling loads, a white roof and light colored pavers to reduce the local heat island effect, and chilled beam cooling technology to reduce energy use.  A state-of-the-art demand ventilation system and high efficiency lighting complete the sustainable building system design. Steinberg Hall - Dietrich Hall has a comprehensive solid waste management plan for all waste streams, including e-waste, and waste audits are performed annually to measure recycling rates and identify areas for improvement.



League of American Bicyclists Gives Penn a Silver Ranking

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the University of Pennsylvania with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) award.  With this recognition, Penn joins a list of 100 BFUs in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

Through the relationship with the League of American Bicyclists, Penn will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance to become even more bicycle-friendly. Already an advocate for green transportation, Penn has in the past few years increased the number of bike racks on campus, installed two bicycle repair stations, and created an interactive biking map posted on the Facilities & Real Estate website.



Crabapple Harvest at Penn Yields 40 Pounds

The partnership between Penn and the Philadelphia Orchard Project continues to grow.  In September, nearly 20 volunteers joined POP staff to pick close to 40 lbs of crabapples from three clusters of trees on Penn's campus. According to Robyn Mello, Education & Outreach Director at the Philadelphia Orchard Project, "Everyone went home with at least a pound of crabapples to experiment with their own recipes." A few volunteers spent the whole day with POP, to harvest, make crabapple jelly, and learn basic canning procedures at the Center for Culinary Enterprises with Molly Haendler, owner/operator of Spruce Hill Preserves.


View photos from the Crabapple Gleaning on POP's Facebook page.

An Orchard Takes Root at Penn Park

Braving a damp, drizzly day, volunteers joined Penn's Urban Park staff to plant trees as part of a new fruit orchard in Penn Park.  Designed for research, this orchard will be used to study the development of fruit-bearing plants in urban environments. Bob Lundgren, University Landscape Architect, described how the study of this orchard will be used to make adjustments to the care of the trees and potentially expand this location: "We aim to promote biodiversity and ecological environments through more productive plantings of natural habitats, and increase our biological pest control by attracting beneficial insects in order to mitigate pest and disease problems naturally."  "Fruit trees encourage beneficial insects, especially native bees, which are some of the most important pollinators in our regional landscape," he added.


Penn and the Philadelphia Orchard Project have selected a variety of fruit trees and berry bushes that will provide plant diversity and a harvest season from June through October. Plantings include: Paw Paw, Fig, Apple, Sweet Cherry, Pie Cherry, Peach, Plum, Pear, Asian Pear,  Flowering Quince, Goumi, Currant/Gooseberry, Elderberry, and Highbush Blueberry. As the plants mature, members of the Penn community will have the opportunity to join harvest events scheduled by the Philadelphia Orchard Project.  Sign up for their volunteer newsletter at


View the photo gallery from the orchard planting event.


Joe Gaither -  

Urban Park Supervisor
Facilities & Real Estate Services

Joe Gaither knows all about trash and recycling on campus, where it comes from, and where it goes. As a supervisor in Penn's Facilities & Real Estate Services Urban Parks Department, Joe acknowledges that his may not be the most glamourous job in the world, but it's certainly important, and waste minimization is not an issue that is going away any time soon. Joe is Co-Chair of Penn's Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) Waste Minimization & Recycling Subcommittee. Joe also co-chairs the Solid Waste Working Group which has been charged with piloting new sustainable practices and increasing our diversion rate on campus. In this role Joe works on educational programs for students and staff as well as partnering with dining, housekeeping and building administrators. Joe oversees maintenance and repair of all hard surfaces in Penn's outdoor spaces, large outdoor events, as well as seasonal projects like snow removal.