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American University is Carbon Neutral

Through our innovative approach to reducing emissions, using green power, and purchasing strategic carbon offsets, American University achieved carbon neutrality two years ahead of schedule.

First University to Reach Neutrality

AU is proud to be the first urban campus, the first research university, and the largest higher education institution in the United States to achieve carbon neutrality.

AU achieved carbon neutrality two years ahead of an ambitious target of 2020 by approaching the goal with three innovative strategies: 1) Reduce our overall emissions, 2) use renewable energy, and 3) offset the small remainder.

This milestone was achieved through commitment, leadership, and community effort. Students led every step of this journey; they have always encouraged the university to broaden how we think about sustainability and strive for more. Staff who build and manage our campus embraced the commitment to sustainability, while faculty integrated sustainability into classes and processes to reflect their sustainability commitment. 

Achieving Carbon Neutrality

Carbon Neutrality Case Study

Carbon Neutrality in the Media


Three Strategies for Achieving Neutrality

Carbon neutrality at AU = X trees

Reduce Our Use

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was the most important step AU took to achieve carbon neutrality. To maintain neutrality, AU has programs to engage the whole community in practicing sustainable habits.

Zero Waste
Community Engagement
Water Conservation
Energy Saving Programs
Green Buildings

Use Renewable Energy

Using 100% emissions-free electricity drives down AU's carbon footprint and contributes to sustainable practices.

On-site and Off-site Solar
Renewable energy credits

Offset the Rest

Some sources of GHG emissions cannot be completely eliminated with our current technology. Strategic offset initiatives allow AU to balance the GHG emissions our community produces from sources like air travel and commuting.

Efficient Trucking
Tree Planting
Investment in Cookstoves in Kenya
Landfill Gas