Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.58
Liaison Derek Nichols
Submission Date Dec. 14, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University at Buffalo
PA-2: Sustainability Planning

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Ryan McPherson
Chief Sustainability Officer
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a published strategic plan or equivalent guiding document that includes sustainability at a high level? :
Yes

A brief description of how the institution’s strategic plan or equivalent guiding document addresses sustainability:

The University's main strategic plan--Realizing UB 2020: Achieving Academic Excellence places a premium on sustainability by organizing its academic strategy into five key themes: humanity, justice, innovation, health and the environment. These themes when taken together provide the foundation upon which sustainability is based.

In addition, Building UB--the Physical Plan embeds sustainability as one of the six key guiding principles ("establish UB as a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainable development and design").


A copy of the strategic plan:
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The website URL where the strategic plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published sustainability plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the sustainability plan:
The website URL where the sustainability plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have a published climate action plan (apart from what is reported above)? :
Yes

A copy of the climate action plan:
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The website URL where the climate action plan is publicly available:
Does the institution have other published plans that address sustainability or include measurable sustainability objectives (e.g. campus master plan, physical campus plan, diversity plan, human resources plan)? :
Yes

A list of other published plans that address sustainability, including public website URLs (if available):

In addition to Realizing UB2020, Building UB--the Physical Plan embeds sustainability as one of the six key guiding principles ("establish UB as a leader in environmental stewardship and sustainable development and design") and sets standards and measurable outcomes for sustainability objectives.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Curriculum and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see pages 4-1 through 4-9 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Form a Sustainability in Higher Education Task Force
*Integrate sustainability into the Undergraduate Academies
*Develop new environmental degree programs
*Add environmental requirements to the General Education curriculum
*Employ web-based learning to reduce UB's carbon footprint
*Integrate Climate Change in Discovery Seminars (include collaborating with local colleges and universities to co-teach discovery seminars at multiple schools in the Buffalo area
*Create courses in applied sustainability and climate action


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Research?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Research and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 4-2 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Inventory ongoing research initiatives and leverage the strategic strengths initiative
*Develop a seed fund to finance sustainability research
*Develop a green technology business incubator


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Campus Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 4.3 of the of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Establish a Sustainability Coordinators Program
*Develop Campus Sustainability Series to achieve climate goals
*Use UB101 and employee orientations for sustainability education
*Create a campus climate change and sustainability lecture series

In addition, numerous other measurements and goals can be found through internal documents with UB Sustainability and throughout the engagement section on UB Sustainability portal: http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/engagement.html


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Public Engagement and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 4.3 (pages 12-15) of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Host Community Climate Change events on campus
*Expand Collaboration with local schools for climate education
*Establish a community Climate action outreach program

In addition numerous other measurements and goals can be found through internal documents with the UB Sustainability Office and throughout the engagement section on UB Sustainability portal: http://www.buffalo.edu/sustainability/engagement.html.

Some of these examples include a 7 year strategy to develop the Western New York Environmental Alliance (www.growwny.org) and the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable) (http://www.wnysustainablebusiness.org/)


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Air & Climate and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3.1 (pages 5-9 in chapter 3) of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Climate Action Plan goal of climate neutrality by 2030
*on site renewable generation
*purchasing of 100% REC's
*Implement and enforce anti-idling policy

As a state agency Our current measurable sustainability objectives also reflect those set out by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo through his Reforming the Energy Vision which call for a:
*50% electricity from renewables by 2030
*40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030
*23% decrease in building energy usage from 2012 levels by 2030


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Buildings and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3-5 through 3-10 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Enhanced sub-metering and performance bench-marking
*Retro commissioning and energy audits
*Increased building automation (9,621 MT/CO2)
*Building retrofits and upgrades: envelopes, HVAC, lighting and more (11,592 MT/CO2)
*Integrated energy considerations into space planning


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Energy and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3.2.10 and 3.2.11 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Onsite renewable energy generation (6,364 MT/CO2)
*Enhanced sub-metering and performance benchmarking
*retro-commissioning and energy audits
*Implement LEED Gold Standard across campus for new builds

In addition, the SUNY system has recently created the State University of New York Clean Energy Roadmap which the University of Buffalo (SUNY) will follow.

Finally, The university is also working to achieve the goals of New York State Executive Order 88 which calls for a 20% reduction in energy source intensity by 2020 (with 2010 as the baseline)


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Food & Dining and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Numerous measurable objectives are listed in the University at Buffalo Campus Dining and Shop's strategic plan including, but not limited to:
*Creation and implementation of the Made & Grown In New York campaign that enable students to know they are tasting products that are fresh from the farm, supporting New York jobs and helping to reduce carbon emissions.
*An increase in locally sourced foods
*An increase of 50% in captured food waste from the Residential Dining Centers
*Working with local produce distributors to secure organic produce for Center for the Arts


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Grounds and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Over 15 measurable outcomes are listed in Building UB--the comprehensive physical plan on pages 75-77. These include but are not limited to:
*Simplify landscape maintenance
*Create self-sustaining campus ecosystems through tree cover, lawn, alternative ground cover, meadow, rain gardens and bioswales, detention basins, and lake edge restoration plantings
*Improve campus soils through sustainability practices to counter clay intensive fill
*Minimize stormwater impacts through implementation of porous pavements, green roofs, detention basins and retention ponds, tree trenches, rain gardens and bioswales
*Harness sustainable sources for irrigation
*Rationalize campus hardscapes
*Reduce salt application


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Purchasing and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3-27 through 3-28 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Require that all computers purchased be Energy Star or EPEAT labeled
*Increase purchasing of recycled products to reduce emissions associated with extracting and processing raw material
*Increase local foods, services and materials to reduce emissions


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Transportation and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3-16 through 3-20 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority improvements (reduction of 540 MT Co2-e)
*University transit pass program (reduction of 585 MT Co2-e)
*Increase carpooling (reduction of 270 MT Co2-e)
*Satellite park and ride program (reduction of 225 MT Co2-e)
*Implement Car Sharing program (reduction of 90 MT Co2-e)
*Reduce resident student vehicle utilization (reduction of 382 MT Co2-e)
*Increase campus fleet efficiency (reduction of 811 MT Co2-e)
*Campus bus and shuttle improvements (reduction of 406 MT Co2-e)

In addition, the Comprehensive Physical plan includes these measurable objectives in sustainable transportation (see page 67):
-Providing monetary incentives to employees
-Provide limited free parking passes
-Guarantee a ride home
-Price parking by proximity
-Unbundle student parking fees
-Restrict resident student parking on campus to residential lots
-Prohibit resident freshman parking on campus
-Bikeshare program
-Support a car sharing program on campus
-Develop UB Rideshare networking tools
-Create UB park and ride lots for carpools or van pools
-Reserve preferential parking for carpools and van pools
-Support telecommuting and flexible work schedules


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Waste and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3-27 through 3-28 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Creation of campus-wide material use reduction policy
*Implement a series of materiel use reduction new pilot projects and programs
*Increase waste audits
*Expand composting program
*Enhance recycling program

In addition, Moving Towards Waste---A Roadmap of Strategic Recommendations for Reducing UB's Waste Footprint lists out 15 key recommendations with specific metrics and potential timelines for implementation.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Water?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Water and the published plans in which each objective is included:

A host of measurable objectives are listed in Building UB--the Comprehensive Physical plan on page 76, including, but not limited to:
*Replace existing parking lots and pathways with pervious pavements
*Install green roofs on new buildings
*Divert building stormwater to detention basins for absorption into the ground
*Create tree trenches adjacent to walkways to catch stormwater

In addition, the university follows policy and measurable objectives on waste reduction that are embodied in our compliance and participation in New York State Executive Order 4. This requires the collection of annual waste, recycling and diversion data.


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Diversity & Affordability and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see the University at Buffalo Strategic Diversity and Inclusion plan (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/inclusion/policies-initiatives/strategic-plan/_jcr_content/par/download_1397316537/file.res/University%20at%20Buffalo%20Diversity%20and%20Inclusion%20Plan.pdf) that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives which include but are not limited to:
*Create a Center for Inclusive Excellence to facilitate achievement by coordinating existing diversity and inclusion-related assets, and continuously assessing UB’s progress toward inclusive excellence
*Create and sustain a welcoming climate in which all members of the UB community are valued, respected, and empowered to achieve to their highest potential
*Attract, retain, and graduate a diverse and culturally competent student body
*Recruit, develop, and retain a diverse and culturally competent faculty and staff, with special attention to recruiting from underrepresented groups
*Provide leadership and communicate commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive excellence across all academic and administrative units
*Collect, monitor and improve the reporting of data on UB’s progress toward inclusive excellence
In addition, numerous measurable objectives are also located throughout Realizing UB 2020--Achieving Academic Excellence (please see PA8 for more detail).


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Investment & Finance and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see the Financing Climate Neutrality chapter of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Capturing utilities savings for climate neutrality
*Establish a revolving fund to climate neutrality
*Increase performance contracting
*Elective student, staff and faculty fees
*Implement User fees and tariffs
*Reduce Air Travel (reduction of 15787 MT Co2-e)
*Restructure student, faculty and staff transportation fees (reduction of 484 MT Co2-e)


Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address Wellbeing & Work and the published plans in which each objective is included:
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Taken together, do the plan(s) reported above include measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas (e.g. arts and culture or technology)?:
Yes

A list or sample of the measurable sustainability objectives that address other areas and the published plans in which each objective is included:

Please see section 3-13 and table 3-1 of the UB Climate Action Plan for a matrix that delineates numerous specific information technology measurable objectives (http://www.buffalo.edu/content/www/sustainability/OurStrategy/governance-and-strategy/_jcr_content/par/download_1302465738/file.res/UB_Climate_Action_Plan.pdf) which include but are not limited to:
*Greening UB's data centers: consolidation and Increased efficiency
*Cloud computing services (outsourcing student email)
*Workstation efficiency measures


Does the institution have a formal statement in support of sustainability endorsed by its governing body (e.g. a mission statement that specifically includes sustainability and is endorsed by the Board of Trustees)? :
Yes

The formal statement in support of sustainability:

With a longstanding history of environmental leadership that extends over several decades, the University at Buffalo is committed to creating a better, more sustainable future for all of the communities we serve, locally as well as globally. This commitment informs every aspect of our mission as a public research university, from our innovative research, to our curriculum and educational programs, our operations and built environment, and our engagement with our broader communities.


The institution’s definition of sustainability (e.g. as included in a published statement or plan):

At the University at Buffalo (UB), we work every day to create a more sustainable campus and community through our research, teaching, operations and our interaction with the community. And we've been doing it for over three decades.

As a public research institution, our model of sustainability focuses on finding solutions to global challenges through research, educating individuals about these challenges in our curriculum and interactions, setting the bar high for sustainability in our own operations, and sharing our experiences and learning from the external community.

UB is a sustainability leader in higher education. Our commitment spans 30 years—from the origins of the environmental movement at Love Canal to the innovative operational measures we take that continue to save the university millions of dollars a year and reduce UB’s environmental footprint on the future.

While we are proud of the road we’ve traveled, we want to build on our history of environmental stewardship and recognize that sustainability is not a goal to achieve, but rather a strategy for creating a better future. As we evolve our model of sustainability we’re focused on embedding a culture of sustainable thinking and practice deep into all aspects of day-to-day activities and long-term ambitions.

As an institution of higher education, we are greatly appreciative of the opportunity we have to demonstrate ongoing sustainability leadership through our mission of educating the next generation, finding new solutions through our research and partnering with our community and our region. We strive to evolve and adapt, all the while sharing our stories of success and challenges in an effort to encourage others as they endeavor on their own sustainability journey’s. We believe sustainability is inherently collaborative and are inspired by the efforts of others both locally and globally as we collectively work toward creating a better future through sustainability.


Is the institution an endorser or signatory of the following? :
Yes or No
The Earth Charter ---
The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) Yes
ISCN-GULF Sustainable Campus Charter ---
Second Nature’s Carbon Commitment (formerly known as the ACUPCC), Resilience Commitment, and/or integrated Climate Commitment Yes
The Talloires Declaration (TD) Yes
UN Global Compact ---
Other multi-dimensional sustainability commitments (please specify below) ---

A brief description of the institution’s formal sustainability commitments, including the specific initiatives selected above:
The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.