Sustainable operations have a long history at Carleton University, although for many years it was known by other names. For example, Carleton University has had a recycling program since the early 1990s and has collected organics for composting in Residence Commons since 1998. Carleton University implemented major energy conservation measures in the 1990s, including comprehensive lighting retrofits.  Below are some brief highlights of sustainability efforts at Carleton University:


  • Carleton’s Strategic Integrated Plan establishes sustainability as part of the mission of the institution.
  • In 2004, Carleton University signed on to the Talloires Declaration which defined 10 action items that Carleton and the other signatories agreed to follow.
  • In 2008, a multi-stakeholder task force was established with a broad mission to review where Carleton University was regarding sustainability and to make recommendations.
  • The president has Carleton on the path to greater sustainability by signing the Council of Ontario University’s (COU) Green Commitment.
  • Carleton’s first Sustainability Officer was hired in March 2009, reporting to the Assistant Vice-President (Facilities Management and Planning).
  • Carleton has signed up as a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE is an organization of colleges and universities that are working to advance sustainability in higher education. Carleton has achieved a silver rating for the STARS program
  • In 2017, Carleton was recognized as a ‘Cool School’ by the Sierra Magazine, highlighting its commitment to campus energy performance.
  • In 2017, Carleton was included in the Harvard Business Review Guide to Green Schools.


  • Carleton continues the work of the 1 million dollar Green Revolving Fund and, to date, has funded 12 Green Revolving Funds projects.
  • The Bike Share program on campus provides bikes for student, faculty and staff use from May to October each year.
  • In the 2016/2017 academic year, over 100 students in residence achieved Green Certified Room status.


  • On April 21st in Depok, Indonesia the 2nd International Workshop on UI Green Metric was hosted by Universitas Indonesia. The workshop, which seeks to foster sustainable culture in universities around the world, is now 6 years old. Carleton University President, Roseann O’Reilly Runte, who was visiting Indonesia at the time of the workshop was on hand to receive an award on behalf of the Energy and Sustainability Programs at Carleton. The award recognizes Carleton’s ongoing sustainability commitments and its integration into our overall Strategic planning. As of 2016, Carleton ranks within the top 60 universities in the world for sustainability on campus. To learn more about the GreenMetric Ranking of World Universities, visit:
  • 2015 Recipient of The Share the Road Cycling Coalition – Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business Award.
  • 2013 Recipient of APPA’s Effective & Innovative Practices Award (Rating The Sustainability Of Campus Facilities Management: A Foundation For Action Using ESAT)


  • A new co-generation energy plant on campus is set to provide 40% of all campus electricity upon completion.
  • In 2016, electricity usage in energy projects decreased by 3.9%.
  • There were 33 energy reduction and efficiency projects completed in 2016.
  • In 2016, post-project electrical savings from efficiency projects totalled 2771 MwH.
  • 11 energy display screens have been installed in residence with live energy data and social media updates for students to learn about and track their building’s energy usage.
  • In 2017, as part of both our Sustainability Strategic Plan commitments and the Energy Conservation Regulations (Reg 397/11), Carleton published its Energy Master Plan. The plan outlines our goals and objectives for managing, conserving and reducing energy consumption, alongisde costs and estimated savings for proposed measures.
  • Carleton University implemented major energy conservation measures in the 1990s, including comprehensive lighting retrofits.
  • Launched a joint project in collaboration with Honeywell, to identify opportunities and implement initiatives designed to conserve energy and create sustainable solutions for the university campus.
  • Team Green is an initiative that the Housing Department designed to enlighten students about their energy and water consumption and to encourage them to reduce it.


  • Carleton has collected 19 000 kg of e-waste on campus.
  • In 2016, 3 e-waste recycling bins were installed for small e-waste disposal.
  • Waste at Carleton has been carefully tracked since 2008 and with a variety of strategic investments, waste audits and program improvements.
  • Facilities Management and Planning purchased a “bulb eater” to begin recycling all burnt out fluorescent tubes.
  • In 2013, the Housing Department partnered with the Canadian Diabetes Association Clothesline Program and diverted more than 3,700 kilograms of items from local landfills – while also raising funds for an important cause.
  • Organics began to be collected from Residence Commons for composting in the late 1990s. That program has grown considerably over the years and now organics are also collected from food preparation areas of the University Centre, as well as in key residence buildings.
  • An internal Marketplace was launched in 2018, to provide a means for staff and faculty to resell goods within the Carleton community and save waste to landfill.
  • The Purchasing Department runs a program to sell surplus of used goods that departments are looking to get rid of – but that can be sold. Items are listed on the purchasing website monthly.


  • Since 2014 Carleton has worked towards a 5.6% reduction in water usage.
  • Renfrew House was built with high-efficiency water fixtures installed. Water use dropped 65 per cent and Carleton saves more than $20,000 a year.
  • Carleton University has committed to phasing out the sale of bottled water on campus over the next several years. In 2011 Carleton added 7 water bottle filling stations in high traffic areas and these have seen extensive use. That’s in addition to the more than 150 water fountains already installed across campus.

Green Buildings

  • The Green Globes building assessment program is being used to design and assess all new buildings and major renovations on campus, ensuring sustainable buildings are a part of the campus portfolio.
  • To date 11 buildings across the campus have been Green Globe certified including:
    • Canal Building (5 Globes)
    • Residence Commons (4 Globes)
    • River Building (4 Globes)
    • Herzberg Laboratories addition (4 Globes)
    • Russell-Grenville House (4 Globes)
    • Frontenac (3 Globes)
    • MacOdrum Library renovation (3 Globes)
    • Lennox-Addington (3 Globes)
    • Health Sciences (4 Globes)
  • Ritchcraft Hall was recognized, in 2017, by Unique Venues Magazine as the Best Earth Friendly Venue.

Dining Services

  • In 2017 Carleton gained official Fair Trade Campus Status.
  • As part of our ongoing commitment to the Fair Trade Campus program, Carleton University is committed to purchasing Fairtrade certified coffee, tea, and chocolate in accordance with the Fair Trade Campus Availability requirements.