Sustainability 2020 Plan Updates

Status Reports (PDF)




Update August 2018

Recent progress on achieving our 2020 Plan Goals include:

Education and Research

The new Center for Sustainability Solutions co-hosted its first event on August 23-24, Rethinking Water Management: A Data-Driven Future.

Energy Conservation

The university CFO funded the LED lighting retrofit, HVAC automation, and building retro-commissioning projects. FMS is hiring project managers and assembling implementation plans and schedules, which will be announced as soon as they are finalized.


USC Transportation is launching a comprehensive mobility hub platform this fall that will meet the university’s Sustainability 2020 goals and enable travelers to plan alternative transportation from any point-A-to-point-B in Los Angeles.

Engagement: Waste Diversion

In fall 2018, FMS, USC Housing, and USC Sustainability will launch Trojans Recycle Right, the first university-wide waste management engagement initiative to accompany the installation of hundreds of new recycling receptacles that will be located in classroom buildings and in outdoor/public spaces. The indoor receptacles are scheduled to be completely installed by the end of calendar year 2018. The outdoor recycling receptacles are scheduled to be completely installed by June 30, 2019.

Water and energy engagement campaigns are planned for launch in spring 2019.

Update April 2018

University senior leadership has approved three 2020 Plan energy conservation projects for funding. When completed by 2020, these will exceed the University’s Sustainability 2020 goal of a 20% reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions below 2014 levels. The three new projects are an indoor/outdoor LED lighting retrofit, an HVAC automation initiative, and a comprehensive energy efficiency recommissioning in select buildings.

In the 2014-2017 USC Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Summary, prepared by Unlimited Carbon Assistance Network in February 2018, USC rated #2 of eight peer universities for emissions per 1,000 gross square foot (GSF) resulting from burning fuels or using chemicals (natural gas, boiler, refrigerants, etc.); and #1 of seven peer universities for emissions resulting from generating electricity. USC rated #2 of eight  peer universities for net emissions per student FTE resulting from burning fuels or using chemicals; and #5 of seven  peer universities for emissions resulted from generating electricity.

Update April 2017

University senior leadership has approved five new Sustainability 2020 Plan projects for funding.  These include three water conservation projects that, when completed by 2020, will meet or exceed the water conservation goals in Sustainability 2020.  A comprehensive waste diversion proposal also was approved that will meet the 2020 Plan goals, and resources for USC Purchasing were approved that will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive sustainable procurement program by 2020. Approved proposals include:

Water Fixture Upgrade

Funding has been approved for the 2020 Plan water fixture upgrade project.  The project is estimated to be complete by the end of 2019.

Water Metering

Funding has been approved for the 2020 Plan water metering project.  This project brings 19 sub-meters to the UPC campus, providing a better profile of building types. The project will be implemented on the following schedule:

  1. Phase 1: April 2019 = Approximately ten sub-meters.
  2. Phase 2: July 2019 = Approximately nine sub-meters.

Recycled Water

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has delayed their targeted start of construction of the Downtown Water Recycling Project (WRP) which will provide a source of recycled water for the University campus.  The updated timeline has a targeted start of construction of 2020. Therefore, the USC Sustainability 2020 project for installation of recycled water pipe to connect to the city infrastructure will be delayed until such time as the LADWP project is confirmed or completed.  For more information on the recycled water infrastructure proposal, click here.

Waste Diversion Plan

Funding has been approved for the 2020 Plan waste diversion project, which will be implemented as following:

  • Phase 1 (75 bins): USC Village to 34th St., west of Trousdale to Jefferson, Vermont on the east and Downey on the south – COMPLETE
  • Phase 2 (95 bins): Beginning December 20, 2017 = Inside Exposition, Trousdale, Downey, Vermont – COMPLETE
  • Phase 3 (105 bins): Beginning September 1, 2018 = East of Trousdale to Figueroa, Jefferson and Exposition.
  • Phase 4 (100 bins): Beginning December 30, 2018 = Center campus between 34th, Downey, Trousdale and McClintock

Procurement Assessment

USC Business Services engaged a fixed-term Senior Procurement Specialist to assist with drafting a procurement sustainability policy, integration strategy, and benchmark sustainable surplus sales programs.  The specialist’s assessment was completed in the fall of 2017 and the program’s implementation phase is now being created. Sustainable purchasing programs will be implemented for paper, cleaning supplies, and janitorial paper in the first quarter of 2018. Programs for ink/toner, office supplies, electronics, and medical research supplies will be implemented later in 2018, TBD.

Food Procurement

USC Hospitality is trending at 33.7% sustainable food procurement. The 2020 Plan goal is 20%.