Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Since 2005, Pitt has been expanding its recycling efforts to include cardboard, aluminum, glass, plastics, paper, batteries, cell phones, and even iPods. These materials are collected in bins and boxes in residence halls and other buildings across campus.

Read Green @ Pitt

Through Pitt's Read Green service, faculty and staff members receive many otherwise-paper-based University mailings via e-mail, reducing paper waste and providing faster communication. For the first two years of the service, participation was voluntary. But based on its popularity and effectiveness, Read Green was made the default service for all Pitt faculty and staff members in 2014.

Sustainable Design and Construction

Rain garden at The PetePitt's Office of Facilities Management continually develops and updates University design standards with sustainable and energy-saving features.

Standard energy-efficient lighting is required, and no new incandescent lighting may be installed unless required for research. Occupancy sensors are installed in many areas to turn off lights when the space is not in use, and Pitt's building-automation system controls space temperatures in accordance with occupancy schedules.

Carpet installations must include a minimum of 25 percent recycled content, and most paints and adhesives contain no, or very low levels of, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Low-flow plumbing fixtures are installed to reduce water use on campus, and most new laboratories are equipped with energy-saving heat-recovery systems.

Pitt construction follows a "salvage and reuse" strategy to minimize waste, recyling as much as 97 percent of construction debris.

Green Housing

Pitt student housing facilities include many sustainable features. The University's newest residence building, Mark A. Nordenberg Hall (a freshman housing facility that opened in fall 2013), is among Pitt's greenest, with high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and lighting, and light-colored pavement and a light-colored roof to absorb less external heat, among other features.

Clean Steam

The Carrillo Street Steam Plant

Pitt and UPMC together constructed the Carrillo Street Steam Plant, which began operation in 2009. It's fueled entirely by natural gas and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that substantially lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Carrillo has been named one of the cleanest university heating plants in the United States.
Prior to the Carrillo plant's construction, Pitt's Oakland campus and UPMC received all of their steam from the Bellefield Boiler Plant, which was fueled primarily by coal—until 2009 when it, too, was converted to an all-natural-gas facility. The Bellefield plant still supplies a portion of the University's steam heating.

Dining Hall Recyling

As part of Pitt’s Dining Services Sustainability Initiative, the Sodexo-managed Market Central now composts pre-consumer and post-consumer waste, reducing food waste by nearly 75 percent in the dining hall. Trays are no longer available at the all-you-care-to-eat facilities, to discourage students from loading up trays with foods that ultimately end in the trash. And waste cooking oil from Market Central, The Perch, Cathedral Cafe, and Schenley Café now goes to Fossil Free Fuel through the Refuel Pittsburgh initiative.

Green Catering

Pitt's Campus Catering offers eco-friendly products, supports local food purveyers, and offers the options of compostable and recyclable dinnerware.

Up on the Roofs

Pitt has installed green roofs atop Benedum Hall and Fanny Edel Falk Elementary, a K-8 campus laboratory school affiliated with the University's School of Education. Another such roof is planned for Hillman Plaza. Green roofs collect and recycle rainfall, lessening the amount of storm water draining into the city's sewer system, among other benefits.

Pitt's First Rain Garden

Located on the lawn of the Petersen Events Center, the garden soaks up excess rainwater and naturally infiltrates it into the soil. The garden was designed and built in 2011 by student members of Engineerings for a Sustainable World, with support from Pitt's Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and Office of Facilities Management.

Self-Service Printing

For students, printing is free, easy, and convenient on campus. Thanks to self-service printing, the number of print jobs left on the printer tray has been significantly reduced. The service, which is 20 times less wasteful than full-service printing, requires students to use an ID card to print documents. Since its introduction four years ago, hundreds of thousands of sheets of printed (and then discarded) sheets of papers have been saved. Self-service printing is available in all seven of Pitt’s computer labs and in a number of other student-centered buildings across campus.

Server Consolidation

Virtual servers allow one machine to do the job of many. Pitt's Computing Services and Systems Development has consolidated 300 servers onto a VMware cluster comprising just 30 computers. Fewer computers mean less energy usage, and virtual server hosting has helped departments pay only for the hardware resources they need, lowering costs across the board.