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Sustainability at AU

American University is committed to acting on our values through social responsibility, service, and an active pursuit of sustainability.

Culture of Sustainability

American University is proud to be a leader in sustainability. Sustainability is a culture that's visible the moment you step onto campus. Green buildings incorporate energy efficient technologies and a focus on human health. Environmentally conscious grounds management means we plant local and adaptive species. We use solar energy, strive for zero waste, and work with community partners to offer sustainable transportation. The culture of sustainability is evident through faculty research efforts, student involvement, and staff practices. These are just some of the elements that contribute to American University's commitment to having a small footprint. 

Learn more about these and other factors that contribute to the greening of AU and learn how you can engage in sustainability on campus by exploring our website. 

Celebrate 5 Years of Carbon Neutrality

5 Years Carbon Neutrality Sticker

Each year on April 22, we celebrate Earth Day—the idea for which was planted at Airlie and came to fruition in 1970. This year, we are commemorating the five-year anniversary of American University reaching the pivotal milestone of carbon neutrality—a goal that we reached two years ahead of schedule. Since this 2018 achievement, we have continued our efforts to reduce emissions and improve efficiency across campus and broadened our focus on sustainability to include environmental justice, wellness, and scholarship.  We hope to see you at the following events, which recognize the five-year anniversary and provide opportunities for us to engage on this special occasion.

Campus Initiatives

Waste Reduction Campaign

EcoPledge Program

Commit to making sustainable choices on campus and in your life and earn sustainable prizes.

Take the EcoPledge

hand holding AU branded water bottle

AU Plastic Reduction

Learn about how AU is commited to reducing plastic water bottle waste on campus and ways that you can influence change. 

Learn More

Screenshot of Sustainability Tour Map

Take a Virtual Sustainability Tour

Explore sustainable features of AU’s campus through our online story map.

View the Map

Connect With Us



Fast Facts

AU's carbon offsets. Efficient cookstoves in Kenya offset study-abroad air travel.  Planting trees in DC helps offset commuting. Sustainable trucking operations offset university travel.  Landfill methane projects offset natural gas use & landfill waste.
84% AU students commute sustainably. 100% AU shuttle buses run on biodiesel. Au is a bicycle friendly university. >1.4 million u-Pass rides taken july 2018 to june 2019

AU Sustainability Fast Facts

  • 100% renewably sourced electricity
  • 43% reduction in energy electricity use per square foot unit floor area from FY2006
  • 10 LEED certified buildings
  • 9 7buildings with rooftop solar
  • 3 offset projects use in FY2023: Truck Stop Electrification, Landfill Gas Methane Destruction, & Clean Cookstoves Project
  • 51% of waste (1086 tons) diverted from the landfill through recycling, reuse, and composting in FY22
  • 26% reduction in waste from FY2005
  • 16 sustainability related clubs and 434 course options
  • 86.9% of students use sustainable commuting options to get to campus