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Red Goes Green: St. John's University Strives to Reduce Carbon Footprint

Release Date: 12/05/2008
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 637-3677 (office) or (908) 420-8957 (cell),

(New York, N.Y.) Red has been the flagship color of St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. for decades. Today, the school is adding a touch of green through an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce its environmental impacts by adopting sustainable practices and joining EPA partnership programs.

“We are seeing more and more colleges and universities like St. John’s make smarter choices regarding energy, water and waste,” said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. “After all, if we expect our students to protect the environment tomorrow, shouldn’t the places in which they’re learning today be green?”

Goals established for St. John’s under the agreement include:

  • Reducing the energy consumed by the school’s buildings and plants by at least 10 percent and creating a university energy plan, through membership in EPA’s EnergyStar program.
  • Adopting water conservation and material re-use strategies guided by EPA’s GreenScapes landscaping program.
  • Conducting an energy audit of the St. Albert Hall laboratory and reducing its energy needs through EPA’s Labs 21 program.
  • Continuing to incorporate strategies and tools to reduce waste and increase recycling under EPA’s WasteWise program, of which the school has been a partner since 2003.
  • Increasing the amount of coal combustion construction materials, which requires less energy to produce than traditional concrete, to 50 percent at several campus projects through EPA’s Coal Combustion Products Partnership.
  • Developing a plan for a combined heat and power generation plant, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by generating power from cleaner sources like natural gas, biomass and biogas. For this, St. John’s will consult with EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership.
  • Purchasing hybrid vehicles for campus patrol, continuing to only use low-sulfur diesel shuttle buses, maintaining the campus idling policy and adopting strategies to reduce emissions from construction vehicles through EPA’s Clean Construction USA program.
  • Enhancing the monitoring of water usage, developing recommendations to it, installing waterless urinals at select locations, and consulting with EPA’s WaterSense program for other water-saving measures.
  • Considering the development of a university food waste composting program and the use of alternative energy.

St. John’s will report the progress on its goals to EPA every six months. Based on the reports, EPA will quantify the benefits of the school’s environmental efforts. EPA has similar agreements in place with the New York Mets for the team’s new Citi Field stadium, the Destiny USA mall project in Syracuse, N.Y., and Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.

Founded in 1870 by the Vincentian Community, St. John’s University enrolls more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 44 states and 122 countries. For more information about St. John’s, visit .

For more information on EPA’s voluntary programs like the ones incorporated in the St. John’s agreement, visit For more information on sustainability in the New York metropolitan area, visit