We are using data to uncover new insights and drive continual improvements in how we operate our campus.
Students, faculty, and staff have access to several robust sustainability-related datasets that the Office for Sustainability and other departments use for reporting, analysis, and decision-making. This page will continue to evolve and change as new datasets are identified or made available.
Teams of students and researchers have already used these datasets to pursue research questions in support of class papers, senior theses, and other research purposes. If you are a Harvard affiliate who would like to use our data for a research purpose, please contact the Harvard Office for Sustainability's Data Analyst, Caroleen Verly. In some cases, there may be a process of signing an NDA and/or obtaining other approvals before the data can be shared, so please plan ahead when requesting data.
View the data
Our available data sets
Energy and emissions
Monthly energy usage data campus-wide is available. Additionally, real-time actual interval usage data (available at the sub-hourly level) is available for the majority of the Cambridge/Allston campus through Energy Witness, which is managed by Engineering and Utilities. All Harvard affiliates who have a University-issued ID and pin can log into Energy Witness and view or download the data.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Monthly emissions data campus-wide is available. Please contact us if you would like access to this dataset which is jointly managed by the Office for Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety.
Energy conservation measures
Schools and departments report annually to the Office for Sustainability on what energy efficiency projects they have completed and what projects they plan to complete in the future. Please contact us if you would like access to this dataset.
Quarterly water billing data is available for the majority of the campus by building. This dataset is undergoing a process of evaluation and verification. This data is also available via Energy Witness. All Harvard affiliates who have a University-issued ID and pin can log into Energy Witness and view or download the data.
Annual waste data is available for the majority of the campus and is provided by Campus Services Recycling & Waste Management. This dataset is currently in the process of transitioning to monthly data by pickup location as part of an ongoing effort to continually refine and improve our datasets. Please contact us if you would like access to this dataset.
Commuting Survey Data
Data about our community’s commuting patterns is collected by the CommuterChoice office. Please contact us if you would like access to this dataset.
Living Lab research examples
Many students and researchers have already used these Sustainability datasets in their research. Below is a sample of these projects. If you have completed an analysis using Harvard’s Sustainability Data that you would like included in the listings below, please reach out to Caroleen Verly.
Real-time emissions intensity analysis
Seth Hoedl used the real-time energy data from Energy Witness to investigate how patterns in Harvard’s energy usage relate to patterns in how dirty or clean the regional electric grid is, and whether various interventions (such as storing energy at cleaner times via a battery) would have an impact on Harvard’s total emissions profile.
Student energy data visualization and analysis
Students from the CS171 class at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences visualized Harvard's energy and emissions data for their final project.
Boston Green Ribbon Commission's Higher Education Working Group Labs Benchmarking
Alison Farmer used energy usage data from Harvard and other institutions in the Boston Green Ribbon Commission to analyze patterns in lab energy usage data. This dataset represents the most robust dataset of lab energy usage ever collected in such a controlled and systematized way. Additional research and analysis on this topic is forthcoming on an expanded dataset.
Harvard and the other intuitions in the Boston Green Ribbon Commission have uploaded their lab energy usage data and statistics into the Labs21 national lab benchmarking tool, to share this valuable dataset with others in the lab design and operations community.
Researching renewable energy options and making decisions based on real-time grid emissions data
Harvard worked with Rocky Mountain Institute subsidiary WattTime and Meister Consultants Group to research the true quantitative impacts of renewable energy purchases.
Piloting energy-shifting technologies based on real-time grid emissions data
Currently underway. More information will be available soon.