By the Numbers: The 2018 Penn Sustainability Annual Report

Seven highlights from this year’s Sustainability Report, showing progress on how the University is faring with its target goals to improve environmental sustainability.

Students sit in circle under a tree
Students lounge on the grass of College Green. (Photo: Penn Sustainability)

In pursuit of meeting the goals of the Climate Action Plan 2.0, a five-year plan in place since 2014 to reduce campus carbon emissions and cultivate a culture of sustainability, Penn Sustainability releases a report annually to mark the University’s progress. The Penn Sustainability Annual Report focuses on key data and performance in these areas: academics, utilities and operations, physical environment, purchasing practices, waste minimization and recycling, transportation, and outreach and engagement. Here, a by-the-numbers look at steps Penn has made in fiscal year 2018.

    • 11.3

      The percentage decrease of carbon emissions since 2014 from campus buildings. The Climate Action Plan 2.0 calls for a 7 percent reduction by 2019. 

    • 12

      The percentage decrease of waste sent to a landfill since 2014. The reduction is attributed to increased use of waste-to-energy incineration.

    • 100

      The number of diverted tons of pre-consumer kitchen compost, in 2018, at Penn dining halls and local restaurants serviced by Penn.

    • 1500

      The number of faculty and staff working in 84 certified Green Offices across campus, many of which applied for recertification in the past year.   

    • 2

      The Arboretum Status level reached in 2018 through the ArbNet certification process. A tree census in 2018 also found that 56 percent of the tree population has 50 or fewer trees per species on campus—a sign of excellent biodiversity on the campus landscape.

    • 350

      The number of bike rack spaces added to campus in 2018. There are now 6,500 spaces on campus, with three bike repair stations added in 2018, accumulating to six in total on campus.


Penn Sustainability is a University-wide initiative to advance environmental sustainability at the University of Pennsylvania, and coordinate programs to develop a more sustainable campus. The University community is working together across many academic and administrative units to draft the next campus climate and sustainability action plan in 2019.