Barnard Takes Action


  • Facilities tested the tap water from all fountains on campus to insure its quality, and added bottle fillers and local filters to several water Waterfountains around campus to encourage drinking NYC water, consistently rated as one of the best waters in the world. Find your local water fountains on campus.
  • Converted to environmentally friendly, “green” cleaning supplies for regular housekeeping.



  • Barnard College contracts with a private waste management company, Action Carting Environmental Services. While NYC municipal waste carting is free, Action Carting provides more convenient pick-up times and a greater diversity of services including the recycling of Plastics #1-7 of all shapes. Learn more about what you can recycle here!
  • Three Barnard campus recycling ‘centers’ have been established: one in Altschul Hall, opposite the elevators on the tunnel level, in Sulzberger Hall, near the elevators on the tunnel level and opposite the north elevator on the ground floor of the Diana Center. The recycling centers give the Barnard community an opportunity to properly dispose of its waste. These two centers are part of a larger plan to unify recycling practices around campus, and encourage and educate everyone – students, administration, faculty – on the proper disposal of waste.
  • At these centers you can recycle other items such as batteries, books, e-waste, toner cartridges, and light bulbs. You can also find out more about what we can recycle on campus, as well as get information on initiatives on and off campus.


  • The centralized Purchasing Department uses sustainable criteria to determine which furniture, appliances and consumable products (paper, trash bags, cell phones, etc.) are ordered by the college. The department also manages a surplus reuse program for furniture and equipment.
  • Barnard produces compost from our yard waste and we have established a relationship with the NYC Parks Department to receive compost and mulch for our gardens to supplement what we produce.
  • Recycled and green materials are used, when possible, in all student room renovation projects including: Energy Star appliances, low VOC paints, low or formaldehyde free millwork, linoleum flooring in lieu of VCT, recycled glass countertops in lieu of plastic laminate, occupancy sensors, low flow toilets and shower heads. Learn more about VCT flooring and how it compares to linoleum on our FAQ page.
  • Find out more about Barnard Facilities.


  • Residential Life has purchased recycling bins for most of the suite style buildings to allow students a more convenient way of sorting their plastic, metal, glass, and paper from trash.
  • Residential Life has established a sole vendor program with a company that has a set of eco-friendly operating guidelines for the purchase of residence hall bedroom furniture. They are located in the New York area which helps save gas by cutting shipping distance. Learn why Barnard uses a sole vendor program on our More Resources page.


  • Barnard Dining Services has established the Eat Green campaign to educate diners about the steps they are taking to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases, the support of sustainable agriculture, and the elimination of unnecessary waste.
  • Dining Services installed the BioX Composter in the Food Service kitchen to process approximately 200 pounds of organic food waste every five hours. The Composter houses organisms that breakdown the scraps into water, which is then safely disposed of directly into the sewer system.
  • Dining Services use only "green" label cleaning products from Ecolab, and biodegradable containers and utensils for the lunch time take-out program. 
  • Barnard Catering purchases local baked goods, produce and seasonal foods for events.
  • Dining Services purchases local baked goods, sustainable produce from Sid Wainer, Eli Zabar sandwiches and H & H bagels.
  • Waste cooking oil is recycled.
  • Liz's Place features only Fair Trade Eco-Ground coffee. With this program, Liz's Place works with coffee farmers to promote sustainable social, ecological, and economic models for the production and trade of coffee that benefits the farmers, their families, and the natural environment.
  • Liz's Place  offers a 10% discount for all coffee purchases to customers who bring their own mug.



  • Barnard has mandated LEED certification for new buildings. The Diana Center is a LEED Gold building! Learn more about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the building rating system on the US Green Building Council website.
  • We have generally reduced building operating temperatures in the winter and increased them in the summer to reduce use of fuel and electricity. Temperatures are also strategically programmed to set back for weekends and late night hours.
  • The College has completed extensive façade and roof repairs to many buildings including: Sulzberger, 600, 616, 620, Brooks, Hewitt, Reid, Plimpton and Elliott Halls, to make them water tight, improve the building envelope, extend their usable life and ensure compliance with Local Law 11.
  • Barnard has installed low- emissivity glass, insulated windows in several residence halls and academic buildings to prevent heat loss in the 600s and in the Annex. Learn more about typical savings for window replacements and about low-e glass on our FAQ page.
  • Barnard has replaced incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, and low efficiency T-12 fluorescent bulbs with high efficiency T-8’s & T-5’s in Plimpton and Elliott. Read about the difference between these bulbs on our FAQ page.
  • Barnard College has committed to ongoing capital funding of energy saving initiatives throughout the physical plant (about 1.2 million square feet) such as: pipe insulation to prevent heat leakage, steam trap replacements, boiler replacements, web-based building management controls, timers, motion sensors and lighting retrofits. This, coupled with Barnard’s retro-commissioning of our facilities, are ways the college is upgrading our infrastructure to increase efficiency and service our community better.
  • Facilities is engaged in retro-commissioning for existing mechanical plants Learn more about "retro-commissioning" on our FAQ page.
  • Conducted a self-audit of energy use to determine what steps we can take to decrease our impact on the environment.
  • Since 2005, Barnard has measured energy consumption and air pollutant emissions for the Mayor's Challenge PlaNYC.
  • With the opening of the Diana Center, we have added bike racks with an additional 100+ capacity.



  • Barnard has  green landscaped social spaces throughout our campus such as the Arthur Ross “Quad” Courtyard and landscaped terraces and outdoor patios which connect the campus's interior from 116th Street to 120th Street. The Diana Ceneter features a  green roof which has both an ecological learning center and an event space.
  • Campus planning emphasizes health and safety through the addition of new indoor air quality systems and the support of ongoing EPA compliance measures
  • Smoking is banned outdoors on campus.

Green Computing

  • Since 2006, printing in the student computer labs and in the Library has been controlled by the University-wide NINJA system. Each student has a quota of 100 sheets per week, limiting paper consumption. All lab laser printers are set to print double-sided by default, so a student can print 200 pages of text on less paper.
  • The toners for the lab printers are recycled through the Purchasing Office.
  • In September 2008, we purchased and installed LabStats, a program that tracks the hourly activity of the computers in the student labs. We are keeping logs of the use of these computers to help us optimize power management in the labs. We need to balance energy use with the computing needs of the students.
  • We are encouraging students, faculty and staff to power down their computers when they are not in use, unless they have to remote in. Staff machines are configured to switch to power save for the monitor after 20 minutes.