Common Sustainability Questions

How can I get involved?

Anyone can be a part of the campus “Green Buzz” by making a commitment to use resources responsibly while at Georgia Tech. The Institute supports multiple programs that enable the campus community to engage in environmentally responsible behaviors. There are also numerous student organizations, classes, research centers, and events that are open to students, faculty, and staff searching for additional ways to get involved. For more information on each area, keep tabs on Green Buzz or follow Green Buzz on Twitter (@GTgreenbuzz). Also, follow the Office of Campus Sustainability on Twitter (@sustainatgatech). 

What is LEED?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

What is reclaimed water?

Georgia Tech regularly uses reclaimed or recycled water to irrigate green spaces on campus. The term “reclaimed water” denotes that water has been treated and purified for reuse, rather than discharged into a body of water through the sewer system. Georgia Tech reclaims rainwater, condensate, and water from several underground springs located across campus. Tech’s use of reclaimed, non-potable water saves more than 5,000 gallons of water each week from entering into Atlanta’s sewers

Where can I find organic food on campus?

Farmers markets are hosted on campus seasonally throughout the year, making it convenient to find local and fresh food on campus. Georgia Tech Dining Services also incorporates local and organic foods into campus dining facilities, including the Student Center Food Court salad bar that stocks 80 percent local or organic ingredients. The Students Organizing for Sustainability community garden also grows food right on Tech soil.

What can I recycle?

In addition to paper, plastic, and metal materials, Georgia Tech also recycles toner cartridges, cell phones, furniture, food, pallets, corrugated cardboard, batteries, glass, oils, clothing, monitors, televisions, and computers.

Where can I recycle?

Recycling bins are located in every building, office, residence hall, athletic venue, and dining hall throughout campus. Recycling is also accepted at the Information Desk on the second floor of the Student Center and at the campus recycling office.

Bulk recyclables can be taken to one of two outdoor sites: behind the O'Keefe Building on Sixth Street on east campus and between the Woodruff Residence Hall and Undergraduate Living Center on west campus (click for more information on outdoor sites). 

E-waste is collected periodically through special events a few times per year; check the Green Buzz events feed for upcoming e-waste collections.

Does the campus compost its food waste and/or its green waste?

Georgia Tech’s Students Organizing for Sustainability, Dining Services, and the Office of Environmental Stewardship sponsor a campus composting program. Used cooking oils are also manufactured into biodiesel.

Does Georgia Tech purchase renewable energy or green tags?

Currently, Georgia Tech does not purchase green tags or renewable energy. However, Tech is fully committed to creating and utilizing alternative energy resources. Having the ninth largest solar roof on a U.S. college campus, as well as the third largest solar implementation of its type in the world, supplements campus energy consumption. Georgia Tech was also an early adopter of geothermal technologies that conserve energy and reduce carbon dioxide as a by-product of energy use. Tech demonstrates a commitment to green or renewable energy with the implementation of demonstration projects and extensive alternative energy research.

Does Georgia Tech use solar panels?

Georgia Tech both uses solar panels and conducts solar panel research. In 1996, Georgia Tech installed the world’s largest rooftop photovoltaic system connected to a utility grid in the Student Athletic Complex (now the Campus Recreation Center (CRC)). It supplements the CRC’s main electrical system and serves as a research model. There are also more than 300 solar panels on the roof of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.

Does Georgia Tech have a community garden?

Georgia Tech’s Students Organizing for Sustainability maintains a community garden on the Instructional Center lawn on west campus.

How does Georgia Tech control pests?

In addition to utilizing green cleaning methods to reduce the occurrence of pests, Georgia Tech uses Integrated Pest Management, an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of the following common-sense practices designed to reduce the amount of pesticides used in landscape management:

  • Cultural practices - Selection of native plants, analysis of soil type, location and soil preparation, and planting beds free of weeds and disease material.
  • Identification - Accurate identification of the pest problems and the use of recommended products at proper rates.
  • Intervention - Physical (mowing, pulling and pruning) or chemical (pre-emergence and post emergence).
Does Georgia Tech conduct environmental sustainability research?

Georgia Tech has many researchers and research centers focused on or incorporating sustainability. Interdisciplinary research centers, corporate partnerships, National Science Foundation, and SEED funding all support major sustainability research at Georgia Tech. We have many highly referenced, green chemistry award winning (including the Presidential Green Chemistry Award) researchers as well as many accomplished graduate and undergraduate researchers in the area of environmental sustainability.

What water sources does Georgia Tech use to irrigate its landscape during a drought?

Georgia Tech uses only reclaimed water to irrigate green spaces on campus. The reclaimed water is collected from rainwater, condensate, and non-potable underground springs.