TU achieves sustainability milestones

In 2016, the campus reduced carbon emissions by 44 percent and recorded its best recycling rate ever.

By Pam Gorsuch on April 10, 2017

Inside TU's recycling center
Inside TU's recycling center

Recent reports show that Towson University’s main campus has reduced its carbon emissions by 44 percent and recorded a recycling rate of 35.6 percent—the best ever reported for the university.

TU’s total carbon emissions for fiscal year 2016 is 64,392 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e)—a 44 percent decrease over the campus’s fiscal year 2008 baseline. The emissions are calculated through an annual greenhouse gas inventory that measures the environmental impact of all campus activities, including those stemming from heating and air conditioning, electricity, fuel used by the campus fleet and shuttles, faculty, staff and student commutes and university-sponsored travel.

As a 2007 signatory of the Carbon Commitment, TU pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020, 30 percent by 2030, and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We’re ahead of pace and trending in the right direction,” said Campus Planning and Sustainability Manager Patricia Watson. “Energy-efficient lighting upgrades and smart meters are helping the campus improve its environmental impact, and students can track energy usage in real-time via eco-touchscreens located across campus.”

The university’s 2016 recycling rate is 35.6 percent, up from 26.2 percent in 2015 and the highest ever reported on campus. The rate is calculated based on the percentage recycling comprises of the total campus waste stream. The improved 2016 rate reflects new campus efforts to donate surplus furniture and divert construction debris, as well as better general recycling and composting habits from the campus community.

“Sustainability is a shared responsibility,” Patricia said. “Every time we compost or recycle, ride a bike or walk instead of drive, turn out the lights or moderate the thermostat we are making an impact. It all adds up.”

For more information on the campus greenhouse gas inventory and recycling program, visit TU's sustainability website. For information on upcoming tree plantings, bike tune-ups and other sustainability events, go to www.facebook.com/TowsonGoesGreen.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Strategic Plan Alignment