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Sustainability at Johns Hopkins University

Sustainability is the collection of smart and responsible actions that prioritize people, natural resources, and finances to safeguard the health of future generations. With this in mind, we see sustainability as a common vision that helps guide decision-making; it is the framework for building solid strategies that produce long-ranging benefits. Most importantly, sustainability is about people. People in the Johns Hopkins community are the core of JHU Sustainability, and they are the key to success.

The Green Guide

The purpose of this Green Guide is to provide tips on leading a more sustainable life at Hopkins. By adopting more sustainable habits, students can have a huge impact on reducing the university’s carbon footprint. Simple changes such as turning off the lights, using a reusable water bottle, or recycling make a difference. Climate change is a global issue, and the students of Johns Hopkins have the opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment and live more sustainably. This effort starts with YOU.

By 2025, JHU has set the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by


2,900+ solar panels on seven buildings on the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses. The solar panels are expected to produce 997,400 kilowatt hours of electricity each year while reducing the university’s output of sgreenhouse gases by 1.2 million pounds annually. JHU has installed


water fountains in nearly every building on Homewood have received gooseneck bottle fillers or bottle filling stations to make it easy to refill a water bottle anywhere on campus. President Daniels has pledged that at least tainable and fair-trade by 2020.

35% of the food purchased for the campus will be local, sus-

Over the first five years of the greenhouse gas reduction plan, Johns Hopkins University’s emissions have dropped by

101,000 metric tons, or roughly 30% below where we started in 2008.


Compost Recycle Reduce Waste Water Energy Transportation Academics Get Involved Green Dorm Checklist



id you know that ~75% of agricultural output in the United States goes to feeding livestock? What and how we eat significantly impacts the environment. There are many opportunities at Hopkins to eat sustainably and responsibly by taking a few conscious steps.

EAT “REAL” FOOD “Real food” is locally sourced, which means supporting local farmers, fresher food, and less energy used for transportation. It uses a method of production to reduce the amount of environmental impact, practe humane animal welfare, and provide a better wage and quality of life for food producers.

Eat on campus! 30% of food at Hopkins is real food and growing. Visit local farmers markets such as the Johns Hopkins Farmers Market on the East Baltimore campus, 32nd Street Farmers Market, or Shady Groves. Sign up for Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) and pay a set fee for a semester’s worth of locallly sourced groceries. Volunteer to garden at the Blue Jay’s Perch Community Garden. Grow vegetables to be donated to hungry people and take home some extra food for yourself!



The cattle industry generates more greenhouse gases than transportation. Eating meatless once a week can reduce health risks, reduce our carbon footprint, and save resources like fossil fuels and water.

Approximately 40% of food in the US is wasted and over 97% of food waste ends up in landfills. In one week, JHU threw away more than 200 pounds of food in the FFC alone!

Skip eating meat on Mondays

Take only what you can eat, especially at dining halls like the FFC.

Fun fact: Meatless Mondays, a national campaign, was founded at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2003

If you have leftovers, compost them (see next page). All campus dining facilities have compostable to-go items and offer composting.


Hopkins is active in reducing waste, and promoting recycling and composting on all of its campuses.

Composting can create valuable nutrient-rich soil which is proven to generate higher crop yields, prevent plant diseases and increase moisture retention.

Composting bins are conveniently located at all JHU dining facilities and in all Residential Buildings. Campus compost programs accept all food scraps; all paper products like plates, coffee cups, napkins, and paper towels; and compostable utensils made from biodegradable material. All food and beverage containers at JHU dining are compostable. Composting creates a new useful product and diminishes the public and environmental health problems caused by traditional waste disposal at landfills and incinerators. Air pollution from the burning and burying of waste in landfills causes public health and environmental problems such as cancer, asthma, and species and habitat loss.


All of Johns Hopkins’ campuses have robust and convenient recycling programs. Paper and

cardboard, glass bottles and jars, aluminum cans and foil, plastic containers #1-6 can all be recycled.

E-Cycling/ TerraCycling Every residence hall has e-cycling and TerraCycling receptacles for items not accepted in traditional recycling bins: batteries, electronics, writing utensils to energy bar wrappers. They are located near main entry, mailroom, or elevators.

Spring Cleaning with a Meaning During finals week, lightbulbs, furniture, & small appliances can be donated to the Spring Cleaning with a Meaning program that partners with Goodwill. This program parks a Goodwill truck outside residential halls to accept donations.




rash incineration is the most expensive and pollutive way to deal with municipal waste. Compared to the energy that is generated from burning waste materials, 3-5X more energy would be saved if those same materials were composted or recycled.

What is Incineration? Incineration involves the combustion of waste materials, which releases harmful pollutants into the air. These pollutants are dirtier and more hazardous than coal. It can be considered a form of environmental racism because incinerators are often located in communities of color or of lower income. Reducing the amount of waste you produce is always the first priority. For everything else, look for opportunities to Reuse. Finally, try to ecycle.

Reduce & Reuse Habits


Think about how much you will need.


Print less or use the back of printed on paper as scrap for studying or practice problems.

3. 4.

Buy used books or opt for ebooks (which can be free and are much lighter).


At any of the JHU dining facilities, you can always opt out of taking your items in a plastic bag if you don’t need one. Or you can reuse your plastic bags as trash liners.


Bring reusable bags or containers when shopping, traveling, or packing leftovers.


Shop at second-hand stores such as Goodwill (8 minute walk from campus) or look on Hopkins Facebook groups such as Free & For Sale for cheap, lightlyused finds from other students.

Limit yourself to one paper towel to dry your hands.


Our campus’s commitment to sustainable water systems dates back to the father of sanitary engineer-

ing, Baltimore-native Abel Wolman, who was one of JHU’s first engineering graduates. His discoveries on chlorination of public water supplies ushered in what would be an undying focus on water issues at the university. Across campus, people are changing their behaviors and making decisions to reduce our water usage. Now, the standard for new construction and renovations is to install low flow urinals, toilets and showerheads along with other water conservation devices to reduce overall consumption.

7 Water Saving Habits up! New installation of dual-flush toilets around campus offer the 1. Flush option to use only the water you need. Just remember #1 = flush up, #2 = flush down.

a reusable water bottle. Over 100 newly installed bottle filling stations 2. Use make it easy to refill a water bottle anywhere on campus. Making plastic bottles uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars. 5 Minute Showers. By cutting your shower time to 5 minutes, you can 3. Take reduce your water usage and CO2 emissions by 70-80%. 1 minute = 12 bottles of water.


Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Leaving the sink on while you brush your teeth will start to add up! Just wet your toothbrush, fill up a glass for rinsing, and you’re set.

off the tap when handwashing dishes. You don’t need to leave the 5. Turn water running while scrubbing. a “Water Reuse Bucket” to water your plants. Stick a bucket under 6. Make the shower while you wait for it to heat up or reuse your pasta cooking liquid. full loads of laundry. Save your laundry for later and wash with cold 7. Wash water to save the energy required to heat water.


In 2007, the President’s Task Force on Climate Change was formed to develop a set of recommendations

for how the university should address greenhouse gas emissions. The Task Force set a goal for JHU to cut emissions in half by 2025. JHU’s emissions have since dropped by 101,000 metric tons, or roughly 30% below where we started in 2008. You can help reach this emissions goal by making eco-smart desicions about your own energy use each day.


Unplug electrical devices not in-use or use a “smart” power strip that automatically shuts them off for you. “Vampire energy” can account for up to 10% of energy use.


Shut down your computer and monitor or enable the sleep/ standby mode when not in use (don’t use a screensaver).


Share one fridge. Coordinate with your roommates to have one fridge for your room or suite. Mini fridges consume almost as much energy as full-size refrigerators at around 280 kWH/year.

4. Switch off the lights when you leave you room or suite. 5.

If you bring your own lamps, buy ones with CFL or LED bulbs. They use 75% less energy, last 10X longer, and are much cheaper to operate.

6. Use a drying rack instead of a dryer. Save the extra jcash too! 7.

Set the thermostat to higher in the summer (76°) and lower in the winter (68°). Make sure windows are tightly shut to keep air in.

Energy Star/ EPEAT-certified appliances and 8. Purchase equipment (printers, refridgerators, microwaves).

TRANSPORTATION How we get to and from our Johns Hopkins campuses may have large impacts on our local air shed,

traffic congestion, and pocketbooks. Driving is convenient, but there are alternatives that might be equally as convenient, while creating less stress and environmental impact.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION (FREE) • Collegetown Shuttle: a free shuttle for students, staff, and faculty to get around the

city and between campuses. Stops in front of Barnes & Noble at 33rd and St. Paul and takes you to Towson Town Center (Target, Marshalls, and Michaels). • Charm City Circulator: Baltimore’s free public transportation. Take the purple route

which picks up in front of Niwana and makes stops at the Inner Harbor and Fed Hill.



The JHMI shuttle and Blue Jay shuttle connect Hopkins faculty, staff and students among the Baltimore campuses. The JHMI shuttle stops at Baltimore's Penn Station to pick up commuters who arrive by train, bus, and rail.

JHU campuses prioritize bike infrastructure such as convenient bike racks, covered parking, and signs. Fun Fact: Baltimore’s first outdoor bike repair station was the result of the Johns Hopkins Bloomburg School of Public Health.



There are over 18 Zipcar vehicles – many of which are hybrid or fuel efficiency vehicles – parked around Hopkins’ Baltimore campuses that are available to conveniently borrow for errands or longer distance trips whenever needed.

Carpooling can cut driving costs and decrease carbon emissions. Form carpools or Uber-sharing groups for regular trips to the grocery store or Medical Campus. iRide Baltimore is a convenient resource to find other commuters looking to carpool.

ACADEMICS Today’s student faces a world with tremendous environmental challenges requiring thoughtful

consideration and innovative solutions. At Johns Hopkins University, many academic opportunities with a focus on sustainability and environmental issues are offered.

DEPARTMENTS, MAJORS, MINORS Krieger School of Arts and Sciences: Earth and Planetary Sciences (BA and minor), Global Environmental Change & Sustainability (BA and minor) Whiting School of Engineering: Environmental Engineering (BS and minor) with concentrations in Environmental Management and Economics, Environmental Engineering Science, Environmental Transport, Environmental Health Engineering. Mechanical Engineering with concentration in Energy and the Environment. Minors: Environmental Sciences, Engineering for Sustainable Development


Find academic courses that cover environment, energy, sustainability and related health topics from Freshmen Seminars, to policy, ethics, and engineering classes. Intersession Class: B’More Cleaner, Greener, and Sustainable Baltimore: An Inside Look Learn principles of sustainability and applications to JHU and Baltimore City.

INSTITUTES AND CENTERS Center for a Livable Future: Programs, fellowships and research related to sustainability and the interactions of health, food systems, and the natural environment. JHU Water Institute: Research in water health, security, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and environment. The Environment, Energy, Sustainability & Health Institute (E²SHI): Environment, energy, sustainability and health related research and education across JHU; includes grant opportunities, events, internship/job, research/fellowship and JHU research activities.



“Green Lead: Whole Impact Training”: Introduces freshmen to campus sustainability programs and initiatives, exposes them to concepts in behavior change and strategic project management, and fosters a network of like-minded peers. Sustainable Hopkins Innovative Projects (S.H.I.P.): Students identify and collaborate on sustainability projects directed towards the Homewood campus in a team environment. The Green Guide is one of our recent projects! Idea Lab–Hopkins Eco-Smart Acorn Grants: Submit an idea which advances the university’s sustainability mission to encourage smart and responsible actions that prioritize people, natural resources, and finances to safeguard the health of future generations. Open to submission in late March - early April.

STUDENT GROUPS Alliance for Clean Water (AFCW): Takes students into the community where they can learn about, and further, our vision for universal access to clean water. Campus Kitchens at JHU: Working to recover surplus food as donated from nearby restaurants and dining halls and deliver it to those in need. Engineers without Borders (EWB): Partners with disadvantaged communities to improve their quality of life through environmentally and economically sustainable projects. Hopkins Fair Trade (HFT): Raises awareness of the fair trade movement on campus as well as implements product shift towards fair trade products in dining halls, cafes, and stores. Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club (JHOC): Runs trips during the academic year which include hiking, backpacking, climbing, canoeing, caving, and other outdoor activities. JHU Take Back the Tap (TBTT): A coalition of students, researchers, and staff at JHU committed to reducing the University’s consumption of bottled water. Real Food Hopkins (RFH): A student-run chapter of the Real Food Challenge movement committed to bringing local, sustainable, humane, and fair food to the Johns Hopkins campus and the surrounding Baltimore area. Refuel our Future: Working in collaboration with university, students and faculty to urge Johns Hopkins University to divest from fossil fuels. Students for Environmental Action: Dedicated to environmental advocacy and change in and around the Johns Hopkins campus. Works to make our campus more sustainable in infrastructure and mindset.


Printer/ paper: Print double-sided or use already printed-on paper as scrap. Recycling bin: Recycle paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic #1-6. No plastic bags. Reusable Water Bottle: Replace plastic water bottles with a reusable one to be used with the 100+ water filling stations on campus. Brushing Teeth: Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or washing the dishes. Electrical devices: Unplug when not in-use or use a “smart” power strip that automatically shuts them off. Lights: Switch off the lights when you leave your room or when daylight is sufficient. Computer: Shut down your computer when it’s not in use. Set on sleep mode after 5 minutes of inactivity. Laundry: Wash full loads of laundry using cold water (Bright Colors option).


Reusable dishware and silverware: Reduce waste generated from disposable plastic utensils. Avoid Styrofoam. Reusable shopping bag: Bring reusable bags or containers when shopping to avoid plastic bags. Secondhand Goods: Buy and sell clothes, furniture, or textbooks at second-hand stores such as Goodwill or look on Hopkins Facebook groups such as Free & For Sale. 5 Minute Showers. By cutting your shower time to 5 minutes, you can reduce your water usage and CO2 emissions by 70-80%. (1 minute = 12 bottles of water!). Stairs: Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Thermostat: Adjust the thermostat to 76° in the summer and 68° in the winter. Lightbulbs: Use CFL or LED bulbs. They use less energy and last much longer. Fridge: Share one fridge per room. Look for the Energy Star when purchasing appliances.



Buy in bulk: Reduce waste by buying food, drinks, or supplies in bulk and split with friends. Sustainable textiles: Opt for organic and natural textiles, personal care, and cleaning products. Check out brands such as Seventh Generation or this guide to beauty labels. Water Reuse Bucket: Stick a bucket under the shower while you wait for it to heat up or reuse your pasta cooking liquid to water your plants. Plants: Decorate your dorm with plants as a natural air filter. Go cold turkey: Completely turn off all computers, lights, appliances, heat etc before leaving for the holidays. Drying rack: Air dry your wet clothes instead of consuming energy with a dryer.

Johns Hopkins University Green Guide  
Johns Hopkins University Green Guide