Key Milestones of AU’s Sustainability Journey
Carbon neutrality achieved
AU became the first US university, the first urban campus, and the first research university in the US to reach carbon neutrality. This goal was achieved two years ahead schedule by using innovative strategies to reduce our overall emissions, use renewable energy, and offset the small remainder.
"We Are Still In"
AU joined more than 1,200 colleges, universities, elected officials, and businesses to declare our ongoing commitment to reducing carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement through the “We Are Still In” declaration.
Charter Signatory of Climate Commitment
AU became a charter signatory to the Climate Commitment through Second Nature, a nonprofit organization that helps colleges and universities expand their sustainability efforts.
District Sustainability Award
American University won the 2016 District Sustainability Award in the People's Choice category. The award recognizes outstanding achievements and leadership in areas such as energy and water conservation, renewable energy production, stormwater management, and sustainable waste management.
50% of Campus Power from Solar Energy
AU announced a 20-year solar energy purchase with partners George Washington University and George Washington University Hospital. Solar panels at three sites in North Carolina supply the partners with emissions-free electricity. At the time, it was the largest non-utility solar PV power purchase agreement in the US and the largest PV project east of the Mississippi River.
Creation of Fossil Free Fund
The AU Board of Trustees, based on a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing, created a Fossil Free Investment Fund within the university’s endowment.
First LEED-Certified Building
The School of International Service was the first building on campus to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, awarded to green buildings for meeting sustainability standards.
Solar Hot Water System Installed
A solar hot water system with 134 racks of thermal energy panels was installed on the roofs of the Mary Graydon Center and Letts, Anderson and Centennial Halls. At the time, this was the largest solar hot water system on the East Coast.
Office of Sustainability Created
AU’s Office of Sustainability was founded to help meet the university's goal of "acting on our values of social responsibility, service, and an active pursuit of sustainability."
first Climate Commitment
American University joined more than 500 other US universities in signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to address the threat of climate change.