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 or download full reports below to learn how our programs are engaging campus and community in preparing for a more sustainable future.


Download 2011-2016 Sustainability Strategic Plan Final Report  Download the Fiscal Year 2016 Sustainability Report


Academics and Research

Preparing students and innovations that create a more sustainable world

Five-Year Highlights

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Students gain real-world experience through campus projects that improve sustainability.

College-wide sustainability programs launch in Poole College of Management and College of Design.

Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program includes several interdisciplinary faculty clusters focused on sustainability-related research.

Sustainability is integrated into the cumulative student learning experience through research, global programs, events, service learning, internships and leadership programs.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

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Poole College of Management’s Business Sustainability Collaborative expands.

Campus hosts an inaugural sustainability-related career fair with 40 employers and 450 students.

First undergraduate research awards offered for sustainability-related research.

First cohort of students study Spring 2016 semester at NC State’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology.


Community and Culture

Creating a culture of sustainability on campus



By the Numbers


of incoming students in 2015 who said NC State’s sustainability commitments influenced their decision to attend the university.


in campus sustainability grants from the Sustainability Fund, which formed in 2012 when students voted to create a sustainability fee


Sustainability-related campus events during fiscal years 2012-2016


Campus individuals and organizations honored through Green Brick Awards from 2012 to 2016


Campus events and 30 campus workplaces earning sustainability certification since 2011


Five-Year Highlights

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Sustainability contributed to advances in wellness, which earned NC State the nation’s first Healthier Campus designation.

Change Your State awareness campaign launched in 2013, resulting in dozens of outreach events and 104,000 views of the campaign’s website.

NC State adopted a Sustainability Policy and Standard Operating Procedures in 2014.

75 students participated in the NC State Stewards sustainability leadership and ambassador program that started in 2013. Their impact includes removal of plastic bags from campus retail locations, cost-saving energy conservation competitions, outreach and installations of solar energy on campus.

Several programs, student trips and an Americorps volunteer position furthered vital campus partnerships between sustainability, equity and diversity.

220 total student participants in EcoVillage, an on-campus sustainability living and learning village that started in 2013.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

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New sustainability high-impact experiences for students: Make-a-thon innovation challenge, sustainability category in campus entrepreneurship competition, environmental justice tour of eastern North Carolina.

$161,000 in campus grants from the NC State Student Sustainability Fund awarded to 15 projects in 2016.

15 campus workplaces and 45 events achieved certification for sustainable practices.

NC State Earth Month features 42 sustainability events in April 2016.

Sustainability advocates honored at NC State’s Green Brick Awards.

NC State Sustainability Council appointed to lead university-wide sustainability efforts.


Energy and Water

Accelerating campus utility efficiency and cost-savings



By the Numbers


Campus energy use reduction since 2003


Campus water use reduction since 2002


Campus greenhouse gas emissions reduced since 2008


Five-Year Highlights

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$3+ million saved during winter break and summer energy initiatives.

The campus recommissioning team performed comprehensive HVAC audits and repairs on 13 buildings, generating $1.95 million in energy cost avoidance since 2014.

New solar energy projects bring campus total to 14 solar installations.

An energy performance contract added cogeneration technology in 2012 to the Cates Utility Plant, enabling NC State to generate some of its own electricity and avoid millions in annual energy costs.

Foundation created for Centennial Campus smart grid.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

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Reuse water pipeline installed on Centennial Campus.

NC State saved $288,990 in avoided energy costs during winter break 2015.

The Office of Information Technology launched PowerOn, a power management application that allows campus users to remotely power on certain desktops and servers, saving $50-$100 on the annual operation of a campus computer.

Students add solar energy sculpture and umbrellas to campus.

Summer energy saving scheduling saved $87,000.

Energy Management completed $650,000 of energy conservation measures to increase campus efficiency.


Green Development

Building an efficient, sustainable campus



By the Numbers


Campus square footage that is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.


Campus buildings within a 600-foot walk of a courtyard, plaza or neighborhood street



Five-Year Highlights

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Sustainability incorporated into campus Physical Master Plan and campus construction standards.

Students designed and installed gardens at Lake Raleigh, Honors Quad, College of Veterinary Medicine, Centennial Campus and at residence halls.

LEED Lab course launched, giving about 30 students annually real-world experience in evaluating a building’s sustainability.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

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During deconstruction, NC State aimed to send as little of Harrelson Hall to the landfill as possible — striving for a 90 percent diversion rate of non-hazardous materials.

Several pollinator-friendly gardens were added to campus, and the Artist’s Backyard student landscape expanded.

Two campus buildings — Talley Student Union and Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse  — earned certification at the silver level for Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).


Purchasing and Waste Reduction

Striving for sustainable materials and zero waste on campus



By the Numbers


Campus waste diverted from landfill in fiscal year 2016


Pizza boxes composted on campus 2014-2016


Average annual percentage of local food purchased by NC State Dining


Pounds of campus-grown produce used in campus dining halls


Five-Year Highlights

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Compost collection added at dining halls, Talley Student Union, select administrative buildings and Carter-Finley Stadium’s concourse during home football games.

Tracking of reuse and recycling rates in campus construction projects began in 2013.

148 tons recycled and 50 tons of reusable items donated to local nonprofits during Wolf Pack N Give, NC State’s residence hall move-out waste reduction program, in fiscal years 2012-2016.

Green and sustainable products promoted in campus online purchasing system.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

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Students led the removal of plastic bags from campus dining and convenience stores in 2016.

NC State Athletics and NC State’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Office collaborated on a concourse-level stadium composting program, which allowed fans to compost food waste and other organic material from each game.

Recycling streamlined at residence halls into a central recycling dumpster collecting all recyclables.

In June 2016, Talley Student Union began hosting a student-designed aquaponics system to showcase one of the state’s fastest-growing agriculture practices.



Propelling sustainable transportation on campus



By the Numbers


Million Wolfline passenger boardings in fiscal year 2016


Total WolfTrails alternative commute program participants during fiscal years 2012-2016


Campus electric vehicle charging station ports


Total number of annual GoPasses issued during fiscal years 2012-2016 for student, faculty and staff use of regional transit


Five-Year Highlights

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13 percent growth in annual Wolfline bus passenger boardings from fiscal year 2012 to fiscal year 2016.

NC State added bike maintenance stations, lanes, a student-run bike share at a residence hall and Wolf Wheels campus bike rental.

NC State’s fleet incorporated a mix of alternative fuels, including flex fuel (E10 and E85) and biodiesel (B20), as well as some electric vehicles.

NC State added 8 ZipCars for campus car sharing.

Fiscal Year 2016 Highlights

Access the 2016 Report

With the addition of two new electric vehicle charging stations at the Dan Allen Deck and Coliseum Deck, the total number of campus charging stations reached 22.

In the Best Workplaces for Commuters’ annual Race for Excellence Awards, NC State earned a Gold rating and ranked among the country’s top 29 employers.

The Office of Information Technology released a mobile app that allows university users to access NC State’s cloud computing system, which provides 24/7 remote access to high-end lab computers and reduces unnecessary travel.

Wolfline sets a new ridership record with 3,220,569 passenger boardings during fiscal year 2016.


Awards and Honors

2015-2016 Awards and Honors

  • Gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)
  • Princeton Review Green College
  • City of Raleigh Environmental Awards: Outstanding Organization Award (NC State Stewards); Education Award (Agroecology Education Farm); Individual Award (Erin White); Agriculture Award (Advocates for Health); student Trashion Fashion Design Competition
  • Silver winner, Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities
  • National Association of College Auxiliary Services’ (NACAS) annual student author contest (2nd place).
  • Best Workplace for Commuters
  • Gold status for NC State Net Impact chapters
  • Invest for Impact Competition (2nd place)
  • 50 Top College Dining Experiences
  • L.E.A.D. Awards Student Organization Award of Distinction (NC State Stewards) and Outstanding Advisor Award (Stewards’ advisor, Rebekah Dunstan)
  • Sierra Club Cool Schools, Ranked 87th

Additional Awards and Honors (2011-2016)

  • 18 City of Raleigh Environmental Awards including the 2013 Raleigh Environmental Stewardship Award, the city’s highest environmental honor.
  • APPA Sustainability Award (2014). NC State is the first public university in North Carolina to receive the award.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance (2012-2014)
  • Bicycle Friendly University (2012-2015)
  • Best Workplace for Commuters (2010-2016)
  • Carolina Recycling Association’s Outstanding College Program Award (2015)
  • Net Impact chapter Gold rating (2013-2015)
  • Food Service Director’s Grand Goldie Award (2013)
  • N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Utility Savings Excellence Award (2014)
  • National Association of College and University Food Services Sustainability Award (2013)
  • Silver Winner, Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities (2015)
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for 10 campus projects
  • NC State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course named an Audubon International Signature Golf Sanctuary
  • NC State is the first university in the United States to earn Healthier Campus designation (2015)