Two buildings on Northeastern’s main campus have achieved LEED Gold certification: Dockser Hall and International Village, which represent nearly 540,000 square feet of building space. Dockser Hall was a complete renovation project that allowed for expansion of the School of Law. International Village, a 21-story residence hall and home to Northeastern's Honors Program first-year Living Learning Community, opened in September 2009 and features the first college/university dining room in the United States to earn both the 3-star certified Green Restaurant® distinction and LEED Gold status.
Northeastern’s Dining Services is a forerunner in sustainable practices.
Partnerships include Red’s Best, an operations management company that works exclusively with local fishermen to bring seafood fresh from the New England coast; Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming through research and education; and Northeast Family Farms, which provides all-natural ground beef from cattle that are locally pasture-raised on family-owned farms using sustainable, humane practices.
Through waste reduction, energy and water efficient equipment, compostable disposables, cage-free local produce without antibiotics or added hormones, and fair trade products, Dining Services has helped the university garner an impressive roster of sustainability accolades. Learn more by reading the full Green Plan.
The university has acquired several small electric vehicles for use on campus by facilities personnel. For faculty and staff using Northeastern’s on-campus parking facilities, parking permits may be purchased quarterly or annually through payroll deduction using pre-tax dollars.
Employees and off-campus students are encouraged to use public transportation to travel to and from campus, specifically through participation in the Green Streets Initiative’s Walk/Ride Days; check-ins occur every month. Passengers riding the MBTA commuter rail are encouraged to purchase their tickets before boarding, to avoid on-board fees ($3) and expedite service. Faculty and staff may purchase transit passes on a pre-tax basis through payroll deduction and students can access additional transportation resources—including discounted rail passes—on the Off Campus Student Services website. Northeastern is also a partner of MassRIDES, a service of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) that promotes smarter commuting options and practices.
WalkingWorks at Northeastern—a physical-activity group—also encourages walking, including the “Walking and Talking” program that connects faculty and staff with university leaders.
Bicycle racks are located throughout campus, including use of an indoor bicycle-locking area at Renaissance Park Garage. The university offers cyclists use of showers and lockers at the Marino Center and Squashbusters, as well as a self- service bike- repair stand (featured in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education bulletin) underneath the archway near the north tower of West Village A.
The Northeastern University Police Department offers a bicycle registration program that provides valuable discounts and security benefits. The university has also partnered with the city of Boston by sponsoring a bike station in the North Lot (the surface lot next to Stetson East) as part of the New Balance Hubway bike-share system.
In recognition of these efforts, Northeastern received a Pinnacle Award at the 2012 Massachusetts Excellence in Commuter Options (ECO) Awards.
The university strives to provide a landscape environment that is attractive to prospective students, aesthetically pleasing for the university community, cost-effective, and environmentally sound for both the campus and neighboring communities. In fall 2009, for example, Northeastern retrofitted more than a dozen trees lining the sidewalks of a main campus thoroughfare with permeable asphalt bases to help mitigate storm-water runoff, a major environmental issue in urban areas.
Northeastern recycles more than 255 tons of paper, 295 tons of corrugated cardboard, 71 tons of bottles and cans, and 58 tons of computers and electronics a year; in fact, nearly 38 percent of our waste is recycled (compared to 13 percent for the surrounding community). Recycling bins are located throughout the campus to encourage members of the Northeastern community to recycle. The university even recycles many of the canvas banners that appear around campus, turning them into useful items that are given to students and alumni. The university also participates in the Hewlett Packard Planet Partners program to recycle LaserJet and inkjet cartridges.
Approximately 660 tons of food waste is now composted annually through the Dining Services’ “Compost Here” program (formerly “Project Clean Plate”), an aggressive food-composting effort initiated by students in 2008. Improved signage, peer-to-peer composting education, and newly designed composting bins have led to increased and more consistent composting campus-wide.
Northeastern uses low-flow water fixtures and compact fluorescent bulbs; has reduced its overall consumption of oil, gas and electricity; and burns primarily natural gas in the central heating plant. At the end of 2008, Northeastern replaced nearly 70,000 lightbulbs—or “lamps” as they’re known in the industry—with more sustainable alternatives campus-wide, reducing the university’s carbon emissions by an estimated 686 tons per year and saving Northeastern about $1.2 million over the course of the six-year life expectancy of the lamps.
The Purchasing Department selects goods and services that provide the best value to the university while protecting the environment for future generations. For example, since 2005 all cleaning products purchased by facilities for campus use are Green Seal certified; most recently, the bookstore began offering sustainable sugarcane copy paper for printing. Purchasing deliberations consider issues such as energy efficiency, raw materials utilized, manufacturing processes, and the lawful disposition of obsolete equipment.
All new copiers and desktop computers are ENERGY STAR qualified, and all purchasing decisions for desk and laptop equipment are made in accordance with standards such as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and are EPEAT Gold compliant. The university uses Dell as its preferred vendor for personal computers and works with the company on standard lab-use and faculty/staff computer configurations.