HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL’s efforts to promote the clean energy transition are directed both outward to the world and inward to our own community, where multiple projects have been underway to make the HKS campus cleaner, greener, and more sustainable.


Airplane in the clouds2

carbon offset projects, vetted by 45 experts from around HKS and Harvard, to mitigate the carbon emitted owing to faculty and staff air travel. The projects chosen were a prairie grassland conservation program in North Dakota and a program in Thailand that collects, contains, and destroys ozone depleting substances from the waste stream.


Building with sunlight streaming in2018

The year HKS completed a renovation and green transformation of it's campus, which added three new buildings—Ofer, Wexner, and Rubenstein—that are all certified LEED Platinum, the highest level of environmental and energy certification. The “biophilic” design also brought natural elements—increased sunlight and green space—indoors, which studies show can enhance cognitive function, creativity, productivity, and a general sense of well-being in users.


people sharing food at a table1,015

pounds of food diverted from the waste stream last year by the Food Chain List initiative. The list alerts members of the HKS community to extra food left over from meetings, conferences, and celebrations, which is then made available for free to faculty, staff, and students, including those who may be food insecure.


Rainwater collection and hose watering plants66,000

gallons of rainwater capacity in the HKS retention tank. Installed as part of the 2018 campus transformation, the tank helps the HKS landscaping program go “off-grid” and be self-sustaining in terms of water usage.


100HKS campus with solar collectors on top

megawatts (MW) of clean electrical power generated annually by the 153 solar panels in the HKS solar array, located on top of the Wexner, Ofer, and Rubenstein buildings. Additional panels are planned for the roof of the Littauer Center soon.


emissions cloud being cut with scissors2,122

tons of carbon emissions emitted as a result of national and international air travel by HKS faculty and staff for work. The figure is the result of an extensive survey of faculty and staff to identify a baseline and to support finding ways to reduce unnecessary travel. 


plastic bags with smiley faces4,000

pounds of plastic waste every year removed from the Harvard-wide waste stream thanks to an initiative created by Dean Douglas Elmendorf’s Sustainability Leadership Council, which is composed of 15 faculty, staff, and student representatives. Piloted at HKS and later adopted at seven other Harvard schools and departments, the program developed an entirely new recycling stream for plastic bags, film, and wraps.



Cartoon riding a bike.secure bicycle parking spaces in bike lockers and the Ofer 101 bike room, a free repair station, and free tune-up days to encourage car-free commuting.





Illustration of a couch and lamp with flowers on ittoxin-free carpeting, furniture, paint, and other materials used throughout the HKS campus and in everyday operations to create healthy buildings that support healthy people.




Flower pot with an HKS building inside and three bees around it.new Pollinator Gardens installed on campus planted with native species including coneflowers, bee balm, and asters to attract local bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds and restore local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Illustrations by Luci Gutiérrez

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