The Catholic University of America

Sustainability Initiatives


  • 100 percent of all the University’s power is purchased with Green e-Certificates.
  • CUA is 18th on the EPA’s list of Top 20 Colleges and Universities as part of the EPA Green Power Partnership.
  • 2,000+ solar panels installed on campus.
    • In the summer of 2012, CUA installed a 714 solar panel parking structure in the O'Boyle Hall parking lot. The parking structure also allows for charging electric-powered vehicles.
    • With the additional panels, CUA will have the largest solar installation in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
  • Participation in the Pennsylvania/Maryland/New Jersey’s demand response program by utilizing CUA’s three thermal storage systems and emergency generators
  • Recycling program with CWI Inc.
    • Commingling of recyclables on campus
    • Comprehensive E-Cycling program of old electronics
  • Integrated pest management
    • Reduces the amount of chemicals on campus
    • Custodial employees use Green Seal certified product.
  • Carbon footprint analysis has been done.
  • Comprehensive utilities sub-metering program in progress
  • Sustainability policies have been integrated into the current University Strategic Plan and the proposed 2012 Campus Master Plan.

Building Construction

  • Construction of LEED-certified residence hall
  • Use of Energy Star appliances
  • Installation of two green roofs on campus; a third roof is being designed.

Campus Landscape Initiatives

Transportation Planning

  • Zip cars available on campus
  • CUA shuttle program
  • Bike racks throughout campus
  • CUA is located on a train and bus hub on the Metrorail Red Line.
  • Commuter survey of faculty, staff, and students completed in 2011.
  • A comprehensive Transportation Demand Management Plan (TDM) is part of the proposed 2012 Campus Master Plan.

Campus Outreach

  • Participation in Recyclemania (CUA is ranked 18th out of 360 colleges and universities in the Per Capita competition division)
  • Solar Design Competition
    • 2012: CUA students designed a solar-powered mini bus station.
    • 2011: CUA students designed a prototype functional solar picnic table. 
  • The Turn It Off Program The CUA community actively conserves energy by turning off lights, computers, etc.
  • Team Capitol D.C. Harvest — led by students at CUA’s School of Architecture and Planning — is participating in the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The group, which also includes students from American and George Washington universities, is the first-ever Washington, D.C., team to participate in the decathlon.
  • Green Club, CUA chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Engineers without Borders


  • Masters of Science in Sustainable Design (School of Architecture and Planning)
  • Certificate in Sustainable Design (School of Architecture and Planning)
  • LEED Lab (School of Architecture and Planning and USGBC) Pilot program that allows students to work directly with the USGBC to achieve LEED certification for an existing building 
  • Concentration in Alternative and Renewable Energy Systems (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)