Best Higher Education Institution

Emory University

Emory University has identified sustainability as one of its top priorities -- to help restore the global ecosystem, foster healthy living, and reduce the university’s impact on the local environment. The university was responsible for one of the first LEED-EB Gold buildings in the U.S. (Goizueta Business School, 2004) and the first LEED Certified building in the Southeast (Whitehead Biomedical Research Building, 2002). Not only is all new and future construction required to seek at least LEED Silver certification, many of the existing buildings are being retrofitted to incorporate green attributes. Emory has among the highest number of square feet of LEED-certified space of any campus in America.

Emory’s Piedmont Project is a standout on campus, and was sparked by faculty concerned over the Atlanta area’s environmental problems. The Piedmont Project is an annual workshop for faculty and graduate students to foster cross-disciplinary discussion and develop sustainability curricula. Several new classes and modules have emerged from the workshop, and it is now a national model for teaching faculty how to incorporate sustainability into the classroom. Overall, sustainability-related courses are offered in 47 departments across campus. The university has also set the impressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent (85 percent reduction per square foot) by 2050; Emory’s bus fleet is 100 percent powered by a biodiesel blend made with used cooking oil from campus cafeterias; and by 2015, will be serving 75 percent local or sustainable ingredients in campus and hospital cafeterias.