Cleaner, greener, safer

The university is determined to help save the planet.

WashU is committed to creating a cleaner, greener, safer and more sustainable world for future generations. It is doing that by collaborating on campus, in the region and across the globe with other universities, nonprofits, corporations and government entities. Here’s a by-the-numbers look at what the university has
achieved — along with its many partners — during the past 18 months.

WashU is one of 23 universities from the United States, Canada and Mexico actively involved in the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3. The coalition focuses on accelerating local solutions via collaborative action among universities, businesses, cities, states and other organizations committed to advancing climate action. Through the UC3 engagement, WashU sponsored a postdoc fellow, who is now developing a Midwest climate research agenda.


Washington University’s Climate Change Program presented a series of special talks and events, with more than 700 people from across the region participating. A highlight: U.S. Rep. Cori Bush joined an online panel — along with local climate experts — to address the intersection of green recovery, climate solutions and environmental justice. The discussion was part of the Solve Climate by 2030 Initiative, an international collaboration featuring 100+ global climate dialogues in 50 countries.


Forty-three labs at the Medical and Danforth campuses are now in the Green Labs Program, supported by the School of Medicine’s Sustainability staff. The Green Labs Program encourages labs to implement small changes that make a big difference in reducing our environmental impact, such as reducing energy use, water consumption and chemical use.


More than 1,000 people took part in the Midwest Climate Summit, hosted by WashU in October 2020. This gathering of universities, organizations and governmental agencies took place over four intensive online sessions and featured nationally renowned keynote speakers and panel discussions. All conversations were focused on addressing climate action and working collaboratively to identify solutions. These initial conversations led to a July 2021 panel discussion featuring federal climate experts, with more events and collaborative action planned for 2022.


Homes in the St. Louis area got a boost of more than 886 kilowatts through solar panels thanks to Grow Solar STL, which offers residential property owners access to solar energy at reduced costs or with no up-front costs. (That’s the equivalent of removing greenhouse gas emissions from 173 passenger vehicles driven for one year and represents the carbon sequestered by 973 acres of U.S. forests in one year!)

Renew STL Solar, a commercial group buy program, aims to install 2 megawatts of solar before the end of 2021. Both programs are a partnership of WashU, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.

For more information on sustainability initiatives at the university, visit sustainability.

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