Building an Eco-Friendly HBS Together

The HBS Green Living Program recently conducted a student survey that attracted close to 500 respondents. The survey intended to better understand the awareness among students of green initiative within Harvard, the general green practices of students, and to see where some of the big opportunities for improvement are for us as HBS.

So, here’s how we did. First, the good news. Close to 85% of all students are aware of Harvard’s Green Living Program. This is terrific as green living can be achieved mostly by making people aware of what they can do to help reduce their environmental footprint. A full 93% of all students mentioned conscientiously turning off lights when leaving a room. This is a terrific number, while we should all be looking to positively influence the balance 7% as well. Healthy percentages of students (close to 70%) also reported trying to recycle, conserve water, and conserve electricity to at least some degree. Also, nearly 50% of students almost always attempt to install energy efficient lighting in their rooms or apartments when they are actually tasked with installing lighting. Lastly, close to 80% of the population uses reusable water bottles instead of disposable plastic ones.

More than 95% of the students indicated their interest in learning and improving their recycling and other habits. So here are some great ways on how we can do better:

According to the survey, about 20% of the students said that they still do not print double-sided. Quick conversations with students suggest that this is because all students who do a majority of the work on their personal printers find it very complex to setup double-sided printing. The Green Living Program will be coming up with a “Print Double-Sided Even at Home” manual. Stay tuned for this! (All printers on campus are already enabled for double-sided printing-check the HBS IT website for details!)

About 60% of the students said that they do not unplug devices when they leave their rooms. Leaving devices plugged in consumes small amounts of energy even if the appliance is switched off. Common examples are microwaves, lamps and chargers. A quick solution to this problem is to use power strips to plug-in devices. This way, one switch on the power strip can help you “unplug” everything attached to it when you leave. For a limited time, the Green Living Program is offering students a limited supply of free power strips! Reach out to your Green Living Rep and pick yours up.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey, and we look forward to your continued engagement in the coming days! A special kudos to NA (Jeff Engler says hello!), ND and NC for being the most enthusiastic sections to respond to the survey.

Please contact Dinkar Jain (OD) at djain@ with questions or comments about this article.

Harvard’s Green Mission
Harvard University has committed to a greenhouse gas reduction goal of a 30 percent reduction from Fiscal Year 2006 levels by 2016, including growth.

The goal was set based on the recommendations of a Task Force, made up of faculty, students, and senior administrators, established by President Faust in the spring of 2008 to recommend a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal for the University. Since the announcement of the goal, the University has been engaged in a comprehensive GHG reduction program planning process. The process will conclude with school-specific plans that roll up into a final Harvard-wide GHG reduction road map.