Johns Hopkins Gets Greener

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A green roof at Johns Hopkins Hospital helps the university reduce emissions
A green roof at Johns Hopkins Hospital helps the university reduce emissions

It’s not Earth Day anymore, but this is still great news: Since 2010, Johns Hopkins has managed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent.

Climate change is undeniable, and just switching out your regular lightbulbs for more-efficient CFLs isn’t going to stem the tide. That’s why it’s encouraging to see major institutions step up to the plate to cut their emissions. Hopkins has pledged to reduce the greenhouse gases it sends into the atmosphere by half by 2025; this recent report indicates they’re well on their way.

The university managed the reduction by investing in smart technologies–sensors that optimize heating, lighting, and cooling systems; rainwater catchment; green roofs; and other green systems. Looking forward, the university’s sustainability committee has recommended five priorities for the next decade:

  • Develop additional metrics for measuring energy consumption per square foot to better track conservation efforts while accounting for the addition of new buildings and workspaces
  • Make utility billing separate from space rates in order to help departments (and other users) see their energy use and be incentivized to reduce it
  • Incorporate sustainability at the earliest stage of project planning and maintenance in deliberate ways, such as in capital planning and budgeting, deferred maintenance planning, contract negotiations and RFPs
  • Set an institution wide waste diversion goal to encourage more people to use less materials and recycle more
  • Investigate the impact of and opportunities associated with university-related transportation

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