Sustainability Goals

The University of Maryland became a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment in 2007 and put itself on the path of greater environmental stewardship and sustainability. Since that time, the university adopted a Strategic Plan in 2008, a Climate Action Plan in 2009, a Facilities Master Plan in 2011, a Sustainable Water Use and Watershed Report in 2014, and several other guiding documents that together paint a vivid picture of a SustainableUMD.

This website consolidates goals and strategies published in various documents to make it clear to see the University of Maryland’s trajectory related to sustainability.

The goals presented here do not reflect all campus sustainability goals, the full breadth of sustainability work being carried out, nor preclude the development of new goals and strategies. The campus sustainability effort is one that continues to evolve, inspires creativity and recognizes the critical importance of collaboration both internally and externally. The aspirational goal of being a national model of a green university requires constant innovation, flexibility and the recognition of new and better approaches.

  • The university will reduce its energy consumption, design energy efficient buildings, institute conservation efforts, measure building energy performance, and increase its use of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2020 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

    • Operate all new buildings and major renovations as carbon neutral through a combination of energy efficient design and utilizing renewable energy.
    • Reduce total electricity consumption by 20% by 2020 through infrastructure upgrades and behavior change initiatives.
    • Purchase only renewable energy from the grid by 2020.
    • Reduce transportation related emissions through expanded public transportation, increased local housing, administrative controls, incentives, technology and market-based offsets.
    • Improve the fuel efficiency of the campus bus and vehicle fleet through vehicle selection and proper maintenance.
    • Adhere to the milestone goals of the campus Climate Action Plan.
  • The university will continuously seek ways to provide students with educational opportunities that will advance their knowledge, skills and awareness of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Opportunities will include degree programs, internships, research experiences, volunteer and employment positions, and participation in campus committees and student organizations. Sustainable behaviors will be modelled in residence halls, dining operations, student activity locations, and as part of campus events.

    • Integrate sustainability broadly across the curriculum and student life so that all students demonstrate skills and knowledge related to the Sustainability Learning Outcomes.
    • Use the campus as a living laboratory by enhancing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to work together to develop and implement solutions to campus sustainability challenges.
    • Adhere to strategies outlined in the Education for Sustainability Report .
  • The university will continue to create partnerships and other opportunities that further sustainability and smart growth principles and policies with state and local communities, businesses and suppliers, agencies and organizations. In particular, the university will work collaboratively to further research, stewardship and investment in local food and agricultural systems, renewable energy and environmental technologies, natural resources, resilient communities, and healthy living throughout the State of Maryland and beyond.

    • Create and support academic initiatives and other learning opportunities that further sustainability research and solutions within local communities.
    • Expand sustainability knowledge and collaboration through demonstration and outreach projects, joint agreements, professional conferences, and participation in university-agency initiatives.
    • Achieve campus-wide compliance with the Environmentally Preferable Procurement Policy.
    • Increase sustainable food purchasing to 20% of all food purchases per the Sustainable Food Commitment.
  • The university will carry out campus development, new construction and major renovations in a manner that minimizes environmental impacts, embraces the concepts of smart growth and sustainable design, and supports connectivity.

    • Practice environmental stewardship in landscape design and maintenance.
    • Enhance environmental performance of buildings and utilities on campus.
    • Encourage the use of transportation other than personal vehicles.
    • Increase the access and appeal of the campus for pedestrians.
    • Strengthen community relations by creating greater connections to surrounding neighborhoods.
    • Emphasize the importance of open spaces.
    • Adhere to the development guidelines described in the 2011-2030 Facilities Master Plan.
  • The university will reduce its purchases of potable water, seek opportunities and expand its harvesting and reuse of water, and responsibly manage stormwater to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

    • Reduce purchased potable water use 20% by 2020.
    • Increase water capture, treatment, and re-use to decrease stormwater runoff and use of purchased water.
    • Develop Partnership Memorandum of Agreements with key agencies and external entities to facilitate regional stormwater planning and campus projects.
    • Capture the first one-inch of rainfall from 50% of all impervious surface area.
    • Adhere to the strategies outlined in the Sustainable Water Use and Watershed Report.
  • The university will divert a minimum of 75% of its total solid waste from landfills and seek opportunities to further reduce waste generation.

    • Expand and maintain single stream recycling in all campus buildings and for campus events.
    • Continue to expand the collection of compostable waste materials, particularly in food service areas and major events.
    • Increase individual awareness and participation in campus waste minimization through behavior change programs including the Green Offices program, Sustainability Pledge program, Recyclemania, etc.
    • Reuse and re-purpose materials through sales (Terrapin Trader) and charitable donations.