Sustainable Operations at Penn State

Green Buildings

Penn State has developed and implemented a University policy that guides sustainable elements in the design and construction of University facilities in accordance with USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). All new buildings at Penn State will be, at a minimum, LEED certified.


As Penn State continues to grow, the pressure is on for Transportation Services to accommodate transportation and parking for students, staff, and visitors. The University is working to sustainably manage its growing transportation demands by switching to alternative fuels, reducing oil consumption, increasing the fuel efficiency of fleet vehicles, and encouraging the use of public transportation.

Recycling, Composting and Waste

Reducing what and how much we consume is the most difficult, but most important part of waste management. Penn State takes pride in the programs and efforts taking place related to recycling and composting at Penn State, but it takes everyone to drastically reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill each year, especially as recycling policies continue to change. Learn how to avoid creating unnecessary waste at Penn State and how to properly recycle the rest.

Food Services

Penn State is serious about reducing waste, educating our students about sustainable practices, and encouraging a sustainable lifestyle. Visit Penn State Food Service’s website for information about their food waste reduction program, efforts to incorporate local foods into dining halls, and other efforts.


Energy usage is the largest contributor to Penn State’s direct emissions profile. Penn State has reduced its campus greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent since 2005. This reduction in emissions has been based on a foundation of increased levels of combined heat and power (CHP), energy conservation, and targeted renewable energy purchases.

Renewable Energy

The University has invested in a variety of renewable energy projects, included a large-scale solar power purchase agreement, hydroelectric and ground-source heat pumps.