Campus Sustainability has developed an updated list of Frequently Asked Questions about initiatives on campus. 
Updated: September 3, 2021.

General

  • What is the general scope of campus sustainability?

    Campus sustainability focuses on ensuring campus facilities (buildings, grounds, etc.) are maintained as efficiently as possible and outreach and engagement with the Catholic University community. Its purview does not cover academics, transportation, hazardous materials, or dining.
  • What is the mission and vision of campus sustainability?

    Sustainability Mission Statement
    As stewards charged with advancing the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic University of America is committed to improving the environmental well-being of the campus and the greater community.


    Sustainability Vision Statement
    All Catholic University of America community members are encouraged, engaged, inspired, and motivated to take steps, where they are, to reduce their carbon footprint and improve environmental quality.

  • Is there a campus-wide sustainability plan?

    In Fall 2020, the University released a 5-year campus-wide sustainability plan. The plan is intended to generate positive environmental change, promote education and research, preserve resources, raise awareness, reduce expenditures, generate exciting dialogue, and create new Catholic University community engagement touchpoints. In July 2021, the University released a progress report noting recent sustainability successes. 

  • Who can I get in touch with for additional questions?

    If you have additional inquiries, please contact:


    sustainability@cua.edu

Academics

Buildings

  • Does the University have LEED-certified buildings?

    Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most prominent green building certifications in the world. Catholic University is home to 4 LEED-certified buildings. LEED Certified buildings are:
    • The Crough Center
    • Opus Hall
    • Maloney Hall
    • Father O’Connell Hall
  • Will new buildings on campus achieve LEED certification?

    Yes, new buildings, including the New Dining Hall and the Conway School of Nursing, will be certified under the LEED rating system.
  • I heard there are green roofs on campus. Is this true?

    Yes, there are 3 green roofs on campus. A green roof or living roof is a roof partially covered with vegetation. These roofs can absorb rainwater, provide insulation, enhance existing wildlife habitats and, reduce the heat island effect. Father O’Connell Hall, the University Garage, and Aquinas Hall have green roofs.

  • How does the University ensure indoor air and water quality is safe for inhabitants?

    The Environmental Health and Safety Department maintains a safe and healthy place to learn, work, and visit. The Department ensures University operations operate in a manner that protects our environments in alignment with applicable federal, District of Columbia, and other codes and regulations. Contact EHS for information. 

Energy

  • Does the University have solar panels?

    Yes, the Catholic University of America has 2,600 solar panels on 7 different buildings and the O’Boyle Parking Lot. Catholic University has one of the largest solar installations in the District of Columbia at 677 kW of installed capacity.

  • Has the University saved on utilities since the COVID-19 Pandemic began?

    Yes, with a reduced campus population the University reduced its energy use. It was particularly noticeable in March and April 2020. Read more here.

    As campus occupancy increased in Spring '21, energy levels are beginning to normalize to pre-pandemic levels. 

  • What is the Energy Project?

    The Energy Project was the biggest effort to conserve energy on campus in recent years. This project removed the old campus-wide steam system and replace it with an energy-efficient, modern heating water system served from the campus central plant. Altogether, these efforts greatly reduced the campus natural gas, electrical, and water consumption. Learn more about the Energy Project in the blog.

  • Are LEDs widely used on campus?

    Yes, several buildings are undergoing upgrades to more efficient LED lighting. In the recent past, the Przybyla Center, Edward M. Crough Center for Architectural Studies, the athletic fields and the Franny Murray Court at DuFour Athletic Center, and Hannon Hall all have had significant lighting upgrades.

  • Can you share energy data with me?

    Monthly energy data is shared monthly in the newsletter. For a recap of 2020, check out this blog post.

Engagement

  • What are the sustainability topics that will be covered this year?

    In Summer 2020, an informal poll found that Catholic University community members were interested in:

    • Faith & Sustainability
    • Environmental Justice & Equity
    • Zero Waste
    • Food & Sustainability
    • Green Jobs
    • Green Buildings
  • How can I follow the latest developments?

    Keep up with the latest on:

    • Instagram: @cuasustainability
    • Twitter: @green_cua

    Be sure to sign-up for the newsletter, Green Cardinal, as well.

  • What student clubs focus on sustainability?

     

    • Catholic University Environmental Club: The Catholic University of America's environmental student organization is dedicated to demonstrating the efficiency, effectiveness, and importance of sustainability through interdisciplinary educational programs, services, and engagement.
    • American Conservation Coalition - Catholic University Chapter: This organization promotes free-market solutions to climate change through educational events and activism. 

    If you are interested in these student clubs, check them out on the Nest.  Reach out to the Office of Campus Activities if you are interested in starting your own.

  • How is the Student Government Association involved in sustainability initiatives?

    In Spring 2020, SGA unveiled its executive initiatives for the 2020-2021 school year. The Environmental Executive Initiative brainstorms and executes ideas on how to make Catholic University more environmentally aware and sustainable. The Initiative does this by working closely with Facilities. In the 2020-2021 school year, the initiative broke ground on a community garden. 

  • What are the main sustainability events that Campus Sustainability celebrates?

    During the academic year, sustainability initiatives focus on these challenges and environmental awareness days.

    • October - Campus Sustainability Month is an international celebration of sustainability in higher education.
    • February/March – Campus Race to Zero Waste – A nationwide competition to see which University can divert the most waste from the landfill.
    • April - Earth Month – Earth Day is April 22. It falls later in the academic year; therefore, it’s celebrated during the whole month of April.
  • I’m interested in doing a community service project related to environmental stewardship?

    Campus Sustainability can coordinate on such events in partnership with Campus Ministry as needed.

Transportation

  • I’d like to learn more about alternative transportation offerings on campus?

    The Department of Transportation and Parking has a great list of campus-available alternative transportation resources. 

Zero Waste Efforts

  • What is zero waste?

    According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the concept of zero waste goes beyond recycling and composting at the end of a product’s life cycle, to encompass the entire life cycle of a product, beginning with product design, and envisioning the use and management of materials in ways that preserve value, minimize environmental impacts, and conserve natural resources.

  • Does the University recycle?

    Yes, the university recycles and has contracted a hauler to handle waste. Recycling bins are preset all around campus. Learn more about what is recyclable here.

  • Does the University compost?

    Yes. In Winter 2021, the University started its composting at the Pryzbyla Center.
  • Does the University have a zero-waste plan?

    Campus Sustainability is in the beginning stages of drafting a zero waste campaign.

  • Are disposable utensils, take-away boxes, and napkins environmentally-friendly or compostable?

    Reach out to Dining Services for more information.

  • How much has the University diverted from the landfill?

    As of July 2021, the University has diverted 25.6% of all waste from the landfill.

    Diversion rates are shared monthly on social media and in the newsletter. For a recap of 2020, check out this blog post.