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The residential real estate portfolio and its community play a critical role in the University’s effort to confront the challenges of climate change and promote environmental stewardship. Harvard University Housing is leading the way in sustainable development, operational practices, employee training, and its occupant engagement initiative the Sustainable Community Program.
Sustainable Community Program
Our mission is to educate and empower residents on the importance of a sustainable lifestyle. We believe our housing offers the ideal environment to develop positive habits that will last a lifetime. The program provides residents with educational resources, leadership training, inspiration through various media, art, hands-on activities, and challenges, as well as customized events and programming.
See what we've been up to:
- Earth Month Community Blackboards
- Great Bulb Swap
- (RE)designing Recycling at Harvard
- Water taste tests
- Reduce Your Juice bar
The Sustainable Community Program is strengthened by its partnership with Harvard University Housing’s Graduate Commons Program.
Building off the Graduate Commons' mission to provide cross-discipline collaboration and social interaction outside of the classroom, the two programs work together to incorporate sustainability into events, student initiatives, and learning opportunities throughout the academic year.
Past collaborations have included New Resident Orientations, Labor Day Food Truck Mania, Harvest Dinners, Earth Day Festival, Cinco de Mayo Celebration, and Sustainable Wine and Cheeses.
Sustainable Living guide
A more sustainable future starts with individual action. Learn what you can do to make an impact!
Watch this short orientation video to learn more about sustainable living in Harvard Housing.
Want to save energy at home?
Leaving for break?
- FULLY SHUT DOWN all computer equipment and electronic devices. Don’t forget your monitor! Rule of thumb: Anything with an instant-on or digital display should be unplugged to prevent unnecessary energy drawn from outlets.
- UNPLUG all chargers and small appliances such as microwaves and coffeemakers.
- SET BACK the thermostat and/or air output in your unit. If you control the temperature, set it between 55 and 60 degrees. Nothing below 55—this can cause pipes to freeze.
- CLOSE windows completely and lock them.
- CLOSE all blinds and shades.
- TOSS OUT recycling and trash before heading out. You will be much happier upon your return!
- FLIP OFF... all your power strips that is...
- And finally... TURN OFF ALL LIGHTS!
Reducing, Reusing, Recycling
- Single stream recycling is implemented across Harvard Housing—all recyclable materials, including paper, boxes, bottles, cans, and containers, can be mixed together in the same receptacle.
- Check the calendar for upcoming freecycles—a great way to reuse, donate unwanted good, and find needed items.
Download translated recycling guides:
Harvard Housing properties
The Harvard University Housing portfolio includes five LEED certified properties and two renewable energy projects. Sustainable operation and maintenance practices are applied portfolio-wide, innovative solutions are piloted through the Sustainable Community Program, and staff are highly knowledgeable and committed to ongoing resource conservation and high performance building management.
- SFP Wind Turbines
- Prescott Solar Thermal System
Policies and Practices:
- University Temperature Policy
- Green cleaning
- Recycling and reuse stations
- Indoor air quality management
- Organic Landscaping
Our team is highly knowledgeable and equally committed to sustainability. Harvard University Housing has a dedicated Green Team, regularly holds sustainability-themed training sessions, and all of our administrative and field offices are Leaf Four Harvard Green Offices.
Sustainable Community Leaders
The Sustainable Community Leaders Program provides a unique opportunity for residents living in Harvard University Housing to have a direct and meaningful impact on the University’s greenhouse gas reduction goal and sustainability efforts. Our Leaders take a hands-on, creative approach toward engaging and educating Harvard’s residential community on conservation methods and personal environmental responsibility. These dedicated change agents are not only influencing their neighbors today, they are shaping the habits and attitudes of tomorrow’s leaders.