The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University works to integrate sustainable practices, programs and projects across all functions – academics, research, campus operations, policy development and outreach.
The Discovery Themes of Health and Wellness, Energy and Environment, and Food Production and Security leverage Ohio State’s strengths to address the technological, social, and environmental stresses that define today’s global world. Over the next 10 years, investment in the themes will provide the basis for attracting an additional 500 research- and teaching-active, tenured/tenure-track faculty.
Ohio State researchers have earned a number of national grants to further clean energy research ranging from innovative chemical looping technology that efficiently removes carbon from coal, gas and biomass to using molecular biology to turn carbon dioxide into biobutanol.
Ohio State offers hundreds of sustainability-focused and sustainability-related courses across various disciplines. The university’s sustainability major (and minor) is a multi- disciplinary degree focused on the human dimensions of sustainability providing the core knowledge and skills students need to launch a career in sustainability in the private, public or non-profit sectors.
Students are exposed to sustainability throughout their college experience, from orientation to their zero waste commencement. The First Year Experience program includes opportunities to learn about campus and community sustainability efforts, and dedicated staff build opportunities for every student to learn about sustainability- oriented careers and participate in sustainable practices on campus.
The Environmental Sciences Network, an information hub for researchers and academic units, helps collaborators get funding, reduces institutional barriers and connects individuals and groups.
Campus is used as a living laboratory to test technologies, improve operations, and engage students in cutting-edge research. Ohio State used Ohio Stadium as a laboratory, achieving over a 98% diversion rate at a home football game, paving a path for the campus-wide zero waste initiative.
Ohio State has identified near-term strategies to annually abate an average of more than 125,000 MTCO2e and long-term strategies that could create reductions of nearly 500,000 MTCO2e by 2050.
The university entered into its first building energy conservation contract targeting five of the most energy intensive buildings. The university installed a 407 well geothermal system that provides heating and cooling to the south district residence halls. The university contracted 25% of its campus electricity from an Ohio wind farm, potentially reducing emissions by 15% and winning the 2013 USEPA Green Power Partner of the year award. This contract also provides researchers unprecedented access to production, operation, and market data. In recent years, the university has invested several hundred million dollars to add, upgrade and improve utility infrastructure efficiency .
Ohio State’s Green Building Policy requires that all new construction be at least LEED- Silver certified and currently there are two LEED-Gold buildings on campus.
The university contributed to the funding of a Columbus initiative to remove a low-head dam and restore the river corridor, improving water quality and the ecosystem.
Ohio State also achieved Tree Campus USA certification through a coordinated effort with student volunteers.
Ohio State has and will continue to demonstrate its dedication to advancing sustainability education, research, innovation and engagement.