Focusing on 2020 Plan, USC Makes Strides Towards Carbon Neutrality and Zero Waste

The USC Sustainability 2020 Plan established the University’s first carbon reduction goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per square foot by 20% from 2014 levels. According to its first official GHG assessment, completed in February 2018, the University already has reduced its GHG emissions by 16% below 2014 levels. Additionally, this Spring, President Nikias approved three major campus energy efficiency projects – an indoor/outdoor LED lighting retrofit, an HVAC automation initiative, and a comprehensive energy efficiency recommissioning in select buildings. Combined, these will exceed the University’s Sustainability 2020 goal for carbon reduction.

To achieve its Sustainability 2020 goal of 75% waste diversion, the University also is moving aggressively to target waste recycling and composting. In 2017, Provost Quick and CFO Jim Staten approved funding for a comprehensive waste management program that includes end-user recycling via new multi-stream waste bins. The plan is being implemented campus-wide in four phases, with bin-installation completion targeted for 2019. The University’s Facilities Management division already composts all green waste generated by grounds management crews. In 2015, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum implemented a major Zero Waste (ZW) initiative for all Trojan and Rams home football games. ZW signifies 90% diversion of all waste from landfills.

Finally, USC maintains a comprehensive series of new building and design standards, all of which ensure high levels of energy efficiency and sustainable construction practices. Since 2005, five USC buildings have been LEED certified by theĀ US Green Building Council (USGBC). Now, all new USC buildings meet or exceed voluntary standards promoted by USGBC and others.