Track Our Progress

Sustainability at NC State is about creating impact where it matters most: the economy, the environment and society.

The university’s sustainability efforts are driving down costs, improving efficiency, advancing transformative research, educating a new generation of leaders and ultimately helping create a better world.

Browse the highlights to learn how our programs are engaging campus and community in preparing for a more sustainable future.

Download 2014-2015 Report


“At NC State, we solve global challenges and create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity. These advances result in a better, more sustainable future for our campus, state, nation and world.”Randy Woodson, NC State's Chancellor


Academics and Research

Preparing students and innovations that create a more sustainable world

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Courses Use Real-World Sustainability


Sustainability was integrated in many courses including:

Students Solve Sustainability Challenges


Between PackLink, an online listing of campus sustainability projects, and courses that integrate experiential learning, NC State’s Facilities division participated in 20+ projects that connected student learning with campus sustainability improvements.

New Programs Boost Sustainability


The Office of Faculty Development and the University Sustainability Office partnered to offer two Sustainability in Teaching workshops in 2014. Also, two programs started along the N.C. coast: a Coastal Design Lab and a semester-long academic program for NC State students to study marine science.

Researchers Advance Sustainability


NC State researchers addressed many sustainability-related issues, including:


Community and Culture

Creating a culture of sustainability on campus

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Certified Sustainable Program Grows

Campus events both large and small continue to pursue sustainability certification, and new in 2014 is a sustainable workplace certification program.


Sustainability Aids in Student Recruiting

On a survey, incoming students indicated that NC State’s sustainability commitment influenced their decision to attend the university.

63% of Incoming and Transfer Students
Sustainability Fund Awards Campus Grants


In May 2015, the student-led board of the NC State Sustainability Fund awarded $117,000 of
grant funding to 10 project proposals that further sustainability. The grant funding is generated
by a $1.50 per semester student fee that students voted to create in 2012. This year’s funded projects include solar-powered trash and recycling compactors, performance of the Great Animal Orchestra Symphony on campus, funding for the student-led SOUL Garden, a “BioBlitz” to survey the diversity of campus wildlife. aquaponics system for University Dining, marketing for Campus Farmers Market, solar charging station near Tucker Hall, and student internships at NC State’s Compost Training Facility and Agroecology Education Farm.

Students Engage in Sustainability


Student engagement highlights in 2014-2015 include:


Energy and Water

Accelerating campus utility efficiency and cost-savings

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Campus Energy Use

Goal is 30 percent reduction by 2015.

28% Campus Energy Use Reduction since 2002-2003
Campus Water Use

Goal is 50 percent reduction by 2015.

50% Campus Water Use Reduction since 2001-2002
Seasonal Programs Save Energy


NC State saved $274,987 in avoided energy costs during winter break. Since the Winter Holiday Energy Savings Initiative began in 2004, $2.76 million in utilities have been avoided. In July 2014, cooling was reduced in campus buildings when classrooms were not in use in order to save energy. The initiative expanded summer-wide in 2015.

Programs, Retrofits Net Energy Savings


Building recommissioning, University Housing renovations, student residence hall energy competitions, a new real-time energy dashboard for select campus buildings, lighting retrofits and a new solar installation contributed to NC State’s energy saving efforts.


Green Development

Building an efficient, sustainable campus

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Buildings Earn LEED Certification


Wolf Ridge Student Apartments and Cates Utility Plant earned LEED Silver certification for sustainability. Seven other buildings on campus are expected to receive LEED certification in addition to the 8 buildings — about 618,085 square feet — on campus that are already LEED certified.

Students Add Garden, Apiary to Campus


With a grant from the NC State Sustainability Fund, a group of College of Veterinary Medicine students established a habitat for bees and an educational community garden just outside the college’s main building. Also, the NC State Stewards student group created GIS-mapped campus plant walks that highlight native plants and trees.

Sustainability Standards Integrated


Since LEED certification is only pursued for the construction of major campus buildings, an NC State-specific sustainability standards checklist was developed to ensure that sustainability principles are incorporated into smaller campus projects, including more than 650 in fiscal year 2014-2015.


Purchasing and Waste Reduction

Striving for sustainable materials and zero waste on campus

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Where Does Campus Material Go?
49% of Campus Waste Diverted From Landfill


Campus Compost Efforts Grow


Compost collection expanded to Talley Student Union, which collected 26+ tons during the fiscal year, while pizza box composting soared to 10,760 boxes. Meanwhile, students aided in two projects testing whether compost and compost tea could replace the use of traditional fertilizer on campus. Other waste reduction efforts include a 32-dumpster Waste Characterization Study as well as the addition of solar-powered trash and recycling compactors on campus courtesy of the NC State Sustainability Fund.

Local Food Purchases Hold at 27 Percent


Local purchasing continues to build as University Dining’s primary food vendor increased its inventory of local products. Purchasing local is still the primary goal, along with supporting increased production at NC State’s Agroecology Education Farm. With the purchase of two season-extending hoop houses for the farm, Dining has demonstrated its commitment to the farm and the value of serving campus-grown food in on-campus dining locations.



Propelling sustainable transportation on campus

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Wolfline Tops 3 Million Riders


The Wolfline campus bus system transported more than 3 million riders in fiscal year 2014-2015. The
Wolfline also expanded service with six new buses added during fall 2014.

First Campus Bike Lanes Installed


Along Varsity Drive on Centennial Campus, about 2,000 feet of bike lanes were added to promote safer cycling. Campus also added two new ZipCars for its 1,000 registered car share users. NC State issued 8,557 GoPasses for regional transit and had 835 student and employee participants in its alternative commuting program.

Alternative Vehicles Join University Fleet


In 2015, NC State Transportation added a hybrid car to its fleet and NC State Repair and Renovation added a power-assisted bike, creating more sustainable methods of employee travel around campus. Also, Facilities Operations — one of the university’s largest fleets — decreased its fuel usage.


Awards and Honors


The Princeton Review named NC State in its annual Guide to 322 Green Colleges.


Net Impact’s 2014 Business as UNusual Guide named NC State’s Jenkins MBA program as a leading program making a social and environmental impact and the NC State graduate Net Impact chapter was highlighted as a Gold chapter.


NC State University received the 2014 APPA Sustainability Award in recognition of sustainability
excellence in campus educational facilities.


The NC State community won five 2015 City of Raleigh Environmental Awards, as well as a 2014 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for a student-designed Artist’s Backyard on campus.


NC State’s 2015 Green Brick Awards honored student Hannah Frank, staff member David Johnson, faculty member Danesha Seth-Carley and University Student Centers.


Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Delta Zeta Sorority and Sigma Chi Fraternity received the Most Sustainable Chapter Awards at the 2014 NC State Greek Life Awards.


Winds of Change, the journal of the American Indian Society for Engineering and Science, named NC State as a leader in academic programs focused on sustainable energy.


NC State received Carolina Recycling Association’s Outstanding College or University Program Award for its pizza box composting program.