President Knapp looking at solar water heaters on the roof of a GW building

Under the leadership of President Knapp, the George Washington University community has developed curriculum and research programs that foster awareness and advance sustainable objectives. Faculty, staff, and students make it a priority to infuse these principles into every activity, while working to transform the university into the model of urban sustainability envisioned by Dr. Knapp.

GW has hosted three GreenGov Symposia presented by the White House Council on Environmental Quality as well as annual symposia in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The university also launched the GW Solar Institute.

Reducing the George Washington campuses’ carbon footprint is part of the university’s Climate Action Plan, which targets carbon neutrality by 2040. Among other programs initiated to meet this goal, GW installed solar thermal systems in three residence halls. These systems generate about two-thirds of the hot water used in these residence halls. Collectively, the new solar thermal systems are the sixth largest system in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and the largest installation producing solar thermal energy on the East Coast.

The university’s sustainable future is also evident in the three residence halls that have attained LEED Gold certification. Other efforts, which include frequent collaborations with the District of Columbia and the many federal and international agencies that surround the university’s campuses, are designed to equip GW students with the knowledge and skills to carry the habits and values of sustainability into their personal and professional lives.  

Sustainability at GW