Sustainability is a core theme among the community of the Harvard Divinity School.

The HDS Green Team, comprised of staff volunteers from across the School, collaborates with the HDS student group ECOdiv in a joint effort to educate and create change within the community, and to enable a more sustainable future through present action.

The Harvard Divinity School boasts an active and fruitful community garden, as well as organic landscaping, a LEED certified building, composting in the dining halls, and zero waste at all major events. 

Sustainability is also a great community builder. People really want to participate, and the wonderful thing about being involved with sustainability is that there’s room for everybody.

- Ralph DeFlorio, HDS Director of Operations

Green Initiative Highlights:

  • HDS sustainably purchases 100% of the campus electrical power through REC (renewable energy credits) using wind power and biomass for HDS electrical needs. This initiative began in 2004.
  • HDS introduced a green cleaning program in 2004, the first School at Harvard to do so. The green cleaning program begun out of a concern for occupant health through improved indoor air quality.
  • In 2006, HDS introduced 100% organic landscaping. 
  • Rockefeller Hall achieved LEED Gold certification in 2009.
  • HDS has reduced greenhouse gases 21% from a 2006 baseline.
  • In 2010, HDS led the University with a 70% recycling rate. 

HDS Green Team

The HDS Green Team is committed to educating the community of the power of their collective impact by inspiring individual behavior change. 

HDS Green Team Goals:

  • Education and cultural change through the sharing of information and ideas.
  • Create a sustainable community that will reflect a reduced global footprint.
  • Maintain a history that will transparently share our ideas with the larger community.
  • Provide and gather resources and ideas to share with the community.

All HDS community members are welcome to join. Please contact Leslie MacPherson Artinian at for more information. 

HDS Green Offices

EcoDiv Student Group

EcoDiv brings ecological perspectives to bear on the study and practice of religion and ministry, calling on students, staff, and faculty to attend to the ecosystem in the many academic disciplines and activities at HDS. EcoDiv promotes and hosts speakers, conversations, films, workshops, advocacy, and other events.

EcoDiv was instrumental in starting the HDS community garden and works closely with the HDS Green Team to support infrastructure and behavioral change. EcoDiv also offers religious awareness and sensibility to larger ecological efforts through collaboration with other organizations.

Religion, Science, and the Environment Lecture Series

HDS and EcoDiv host lectures and events exploring the intersection of religion, science, and sustainability.

Divinity School faculty and esteemed guests show how notions of human flourishing, quality of life, and common good have been constructed, how they are illuminated, and how they are challenged by issues of distributive justice, poverty and economic inequality, global health, and environmental sustainability.


HDS Garden

The Harvard Divinity School Garden, located on the grounds of the Harvard Divinity School between the Women’s Studies in Religion Program and the Center for the Study of World Religion, serves the needs of the HDS community, broadly conceived, for local, organic food, while educating community members on the ethical issues, individual, communal, and global, that surround sustainable food production and consumption.

A sacred space, the garden exists to inspire and nurture relationships between students, staff, and faculty, between our community and the land, the local ecosystem, and local food. All are welcomed to share this space.

Waste Reduction

First Reuse, Then Reduce

Waste reduction at HDS focuses around reuse. The HDS Green Team hosts monthly freecycle swaps, organized around a type of good that the community can exchange. Surplus items are donated to charity. 

More Reuse


The HDS Green Team encourages staff to think before purchasing and to always consider the environmental impact.

It is HDS policy that all electronics purchased have the Energy Star label. Computer related equipment must also be EPEAT certified. 

Green Office Purchasing


HDS composts food and all dinnerware in its cafeteria. Major events, such as Commencement, are all zero waste events. 


HDS employs single stream recycling. E-waste can be recycled in tubes provided at all HDS building entrances and in all departments.  The tall five gallon white container is for all small electronics and the tall cylindrical container  is for all alakaline batteries. 

Learn more

Energy and Emissions

HDS sustainably purchases 100% of the campus electrical power through REC (renewable energy credits) using wind power and biomass for HDS electrical needs. 

Energy reduction in commercial buildings largely results from four factors: matching energy load exactly to demand, equipment maintenance, trending to ensure equipment performance, and the integration of new technologies. 

Energy reduction measures:

  • Indoor air quality sensing and control including variable speed drives.
  • Use of the latest lighting technologies in all HDS buildings.
  • Increased use of digital equipment controls that allow us to control energy parameters, schedule equipment and employ optimal start/stop optimization.
  • Preventative maintenance programs that track equipment efficiency.

Following energy audits in 2009, HDS identified opportunity for 88 Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs). The implementation of these measures has reduced the School's greenhouse gas footprint 21%, compared to 2006 levels.

The HDS Operations Department explores energy savings measures across campus annually. 

Energy Office Resources