Since its formal launch in 2006, Princeton University's campus sustainability programs have grown and deepened, supporting an acceleration of changes in institutional culture and behavior in response to pressing global needs.

Our Milestones


Princeton’s Office of Sustainability is founded by students and alumni in partnership with Facilities and what is now the Princeton Sustainability Committee.

Sustainability included as a component of the 2016 Campus Plan, influencing a decade of building construction, landscape practices, and direct campus CO2 emissions reduction. 


Princeton’s first Sustainability Plan is published by the Office of Sustainability in collaboration with campus partners, and approved by the Trustees, marking the first effort to comprehensively integrate sustainability across academics, operations, and planning.

Baseline performance reporting begins, setting the stage for a decade of evidence-based trend analysis and decision-making.

The High Meadows Foundation Sustainability Fund is established, launching the first wave of faculty and student engagement in “campus as a living lab” investigations. 


27-acre on-campus solar array installed with the capacity to produce 4.5 megawatts of power and address nearly 6 percent of the University’s total annual electric needs.


An external review of sustainability at Princeton is sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President. Subsequently, the Office of Sustainability reported directly to the Vice President of Facilities and an academic and administrative leadership-level Sustainability Steering Council was formed. Communications was also identified as a priority.

As part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, Princeton University established a revolving energy efficiency fund in 2012 to support ongoing campus energy efficiency upgrades. The $5 million pledged has been applied to energy conservation efforts. 


Princeton’s Institutional Sustainability Principles are developed by the Sustainability Steering Council, providing foundational guidance for subsequent planning and decision-making. 

The Sustainability Leadership Group is formed, which includes the Provost, Executive Vice President, Vice President of Facilities, Treasurer, and Dean of the School of Engineering, to provide endorsement of strategic direction, including climate action and other performance area targets. 

Office of Sustainability Director invited to teach ENV327 “Investigating an Ethos of Sustainability at Princeton” after a student-initiated seminar pilot in 2013, resulting in deeper academic student engagement in place-based sustainability problem-solving. 


Faculty-led CO2 Task Force is convened by the President, affirms the 2014 Institutional Sustainability Principles, develops decision-making criteria for climate action subsequently integrated into the 2026 Campus Plan, and proposes a campus net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2046.

The Office of Sustainability formalizes the Campus as Lab program with post-graduate fellows Christian Rivera ‘14, and Gina Talt ‘15.


Campus as Lab Manager position initiated to enhance operational and academic collaboration and applied problem-solving.

Pilot partnership is initiated between the Ivy+ Sustainability Consortium and the EVP Listening Post group, setting the stage for accelerated collective impact across a network of schools. 


Updated sustainability framework is integrated into the 2030 Campus Plan, initiating early action toward 2046 performance targets.

After a decade of implementation, the majority of 2008 performance targets are achieved.

Trustees endorse campus-wide infrastructure conversion from steam to heating hot water and geoexchage, taking early action on the path toward fossil-free carbon neutrality by 2046.

New Life on Campus Working Group is formed, enabling integration of sustainability messaging at high-impact moments in daily experiences on campus, and shifting practices to reinforce our commitment to demonstrating sustainability in daily life. 


Sustainability Action Plan: Toward 2026 and Beyond is released!