Reporting System

Progress Report for University of South Florida

Submitted on Jan. 14, 2013; Last updated on July 3, 2014

The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.

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General Statement of Progress

The University of South Florida’s long-held commitment to building a sustainable campus and learning environment was reconfirmed in 2008 with USF’s signing of the ACUPCC. This commitment is reflected in the USF Master Plan and Climate Action Plan, which guide campus policy and development, and in the numerous projects and partnerships established both within the USF and the Tampa Bay community.

To coordinate and expedite sustainability initiatives at USF, a Sustainability Initiative Steering Committee was formed in 2008, followed by the establishment of the Office of Sustainability in 2009. Together, these groups have worked with numerous campus units and organizations to make USF a cleaner, greener place to live and work. These efforts were recognized in 2010 when USF received an AASHE STARS Gold rating.

In 2010, this motivation was reinforced in the creation of the Patel School of Global Sustainability, established to spearhead the University’s academic efforts in sustainability research and education. In January 2013, with the support of a $12 million endowment, the School transitioned into the nation’s first College of Global Sustainability, with the goal of providing students with the tools needed to build a healthier and more sustainable future and to develop a global network of leaders to put the most effective new sustainability practices to work.

In terms of education and research, the Patel College of Global Sustainability offers a M.A. degree in Global Sustainability. Across the USF system, 38 of 54 academic departments have faculty members actively engaged in some aspect of sustainability research and courses on sustainability, climate change or environmental issues are offered in 26 departments. Sustainability research and scholarship is promoted through several programs operated by the Office of Sustainability, such as “Sustainability Fellowship” and the “Sustainability Scholars” program.

USF is involved in many local and statewide initiatives, such as Resilient Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition and the New North Transportation Alliance. USF also extends its research activities in sustainability as an active member of the Florida Climate Institute, and participates in K-12 education by engaging in Hillsborough County’s environmental curriculum development and by offering a Pre-College Program in Global Sustainability at PCGS to high-school students.

Through the Office of Sustainability and the Student Government, USF has established the Student Green Energy Fund, to which students contribute $1 per credit hour. The fund supports energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on campus. To date, 16 projects have been funded, resulting in an estimated annual savings of more than 2.5 million kWH.
Through the Green Lights Program, USF has upgraded the lighting system throughout the Tampa campus with high efficiency lights and motion sensors, saving more than 11 million kWH annually.

Furthermore, USF has maintained an active recycling program since 1994, since which time over 7,100 tons of paper and 48 tons of aluminum have been recycled.

Campus policy requires that all new construction pursue a minimum LEED certification of Silver. Three buildings have been LEED certified, two of which are LEED certified Gold. Two recent building projects are currently pursuing certification.

Building environmental controls have been retrofitted with Direct Digital Control systems in many campus buildings, optimizing the operations of air handling units and minimizing energy consumption. Many campus buildings have also been retrofitted with high solar reflective index roofing materials, further reducing building heat and cooling loads. Additionally, old, inefficient chillers and boilers have been replaced with new, highly efficient equipment, and the hot and chilled water infrastructure has been improved with updated, high efficiency insulation and a variable primary pumping systems.

In addition to building and infrastructure, USF has designated a central corridor of the campus as a Greenway, promoting pedestrian flow and preserving local plant species. USF is a certified Tree Campus USA and has planted more than 2,400 trees in 2011 and 2012.

USF Dining has also taken great strides to reduce the ecological footprint of campus dining halls by removing Styrofoam boxes, straws and trays from all dining halls while offering students reusable cups and to-go containers. More than 30,000 gallons of water are conserved each academic year with tray-less dining, and approximately 200,000 Styrofoam take-out containers and 10,000 cups are diverted from landfills each year. USF Dining also purchases locally-sourced meats and produce whenever possible in addition to purchasing fish and seafood according to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Sustainable Seafood Watch program.

While USF is a primarily commuter campus, there are many initiatives promoting alternative transportation options. USF Campus recreation provides a “Borrow Our Bikes” Program that offers students and faculty the opportunity to borrow bicycles and benefit from free bicycle and skateboard repair services. In collaboration with the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), USF continues to provide fare free transit services for students, augmenting the USF Bull Runner transit service, USF’s biodiesel bus fleet that provides free on-campus transportation and connects the campus to the adjacent community. The Bull Runner recently inaugurated a web-based app that enables riders to locate Bull Runner busses in real time using their smart phones or online.

GHG Emissions & Reduction Targets

Climate Neutrality Target Date: 2070
Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline*
10% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2015 relative to baseline emissions in 2009
20% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2025 relative to baseline emissions in 2009
50% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2040 relative to baseline emissions in 2009
80% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2050 relative to baseline emissions in 2009
[click to view Climate Action Plan - USF Climate Action Plan]

GHGs summary

GHGs for University of South Florida
Reporting Year Gross Emissions Net Emissions Full Time Enrollments Total Bldg. Sq. Ft. [action]
2009 185537.8 185537.8 39357.0 6100000.0 [ view ]
2010 184790.2 184790.2 40429.0 9915973.0 [ view ]
2011 188651.6 188651.6 40429.0 9915973.0 [ view ]
2016 189234.7 189234.7 40222.0 10245765.0 [ view ]
  • Change in GHG gross emissions


  • Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space


  • Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)


Education, Research, & Community Engagement


  • How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?

    Since signing the ACUPCC in 2008, USF has taken significant steps to integrate sustainability into the educational experience of its students. Some of the major achievements are described below.
    Thanks to a $12 million endowment, in January 2013 the Patel School of Global Sustainability transitioned into the Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS). The new Patel College will significantly expand sustainability education and research activities, with new undergraduate and graduate programs on global sustainability that will include concentrations in water, energy, transport and ecosystems.
    Programs such as the M.A. in Global Sustainability at PCGS and the Environmental Science and Policy at the College of Arts and Sciences have courses that are more focused towards sustainability. In addition, sustainability topics are featured in numerous courses in nearly every department at USF. (Examples can be found here: Moreover, the MA program in Global Sustainability recently added a new concentration on sustainable tourism (
    The Office of Sustainability has developed two programs to support students researching and studying sustainability ( The Sustainability Fellowship Program (for graduate students) and the Sustainability Scholars Program (for undergraduate students) funds students to works on sustainability related education, research or other activities with the Office of Sustainability. Two students are selected for each program each semester, and the undergraduate students earn credit for the learning and work they perform under this program while the graduate student receives research-supporting funding. The Office of Sustainability also encourages faculty and staff to promote sustainability initiatives within the campus through the Sustainability Mentors and Sustainability Champions Programs.
    Greenstock, an annual event organized by the Student Environmental Association, educates the student body about sustainability initiatives and opportunities, both on campus and around Tampa Bay.

  • Education methods in use

    • Included sustainability learning outcomes into institutional General Education Requirements.

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida

  • Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida



  • If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?

    The establishment of the Patel College of Global Sustainability demonstrates USF’s concentrated effort to expand sustainability research and education. In 2009, USF created the Interdisciplinary Research Development Grant program to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaboration and the exploration of innovative ideas. USF has also strengthened its research focus on climate change and sustainability by joining the Florida Climate Institute (FCI), which helps USF faculty coordinate multi-disciplinary research through the statewide network. At the campus level, the PCGS, with collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, is developing an urban metabolism model of the campus to guide efficient management of campus resources. A representative list of campus-wide USF research activities can be found at

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida

Community Engagement

  • How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?

    Some other community engagements include: • The office of sustainability hosts/supports farmers market in campus several times in a year that involves students and farm communities. • USF is partnering with the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County and TECO Energy in an effort to designate Tampa Bay as the Tampa Bay Clean Cities Coalition by the Department of Energy. • USF is working with the Hillsborough Education in developing environmental curriculum for K-12 programs. Especially the collaboration is established with middle School and Elementary School magnet schools in developing problem based environment curriculum. • Staff and faculty from USF actively involved in the advisory board of the New North Transportation Alliance. • The Green Living and Learning Community (LLC) started in fall 2009 and has increased its sustainable initiatives every year. Residents volunteer in green initiatives across campus and the surrounding communities. That includes gardening or working at the Botanical Gardens, volunteering at MOSI and the Aquarium as well has helping with Swap Shop. The LLC also holds movie nights and documentaries concerning farming and food production, energy consumption, and other topics are discussed. They have taken eco-friendly field trips to area farms and nurseries.

  • Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida

  • Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?

    see STARs report for University of South Florida

Many of the above questions correspond to AASHE's Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) credits. For signatories that are STARS participants you may find more detail on their efforts in the areas of education, research, and community engagement by accessing their STARS report.

Energy & Finances

Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:


  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:


  • For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:


Renewable Energy

  • Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by University of South Florida

    • Solar output: 30 kWh

    • Annual renewable energy purchased: 2571000 kWh

  • Other GHG mitigation efforts:
    • Water efficient fixtures installed throughout the newly renovated athletic facility, energy-saving measures in the arena and new reflective roofing installation at the Sun Dome stadium.
    • Campus dining halls participate in TerraCycle, a program that collects used items such as candy bar wrappers, chip bags, Capri Sun pouches and turns them into new products. Moreover, Campus dining halls have eliminated trays, straws and Styrofoam boxes from dining areas. Through Filtafry, used cooking oil is recycled as biodiesel
    • USF has become a designated Tree Campus USA and participates in the Florida and National Arbor day events (
    • Through the Student Green Energy Fund, 15 water-bottle refill stations were recently installed and additional 18 stations are funded and ready for implementation ( These stations allow users to refill reusable water bottles, which in turn reduce the amount of plastic bottle waste generated (over a million water bottles so far).
    • The Physical Plant department and Facilities Planning and construction undertake various sustainability driven activities that include recycling, energy and water conservation projects ( For example Physical plant in collaboration with the office of sustainability and several departments. converted ten fuel golf carts into solar golf carts
    • In 2011, USF unveiled the first electric vehicle charging stations on the Tampa campus ( USF was awarded a ChargePoint America grant for two charging stations.
    • In collaboration with HART, USF continues to provide the UPASS program, which is a fare free transit service for students (with a discounted rate of $0.25 per trip for staff and faculty) ( USF continues to provide the Bull Runner with five interconnected routes of transit service 7 days/week year-round, connecting the campus and adjacent community ( Bull Runner runs on biodiesel and is free to students.
    • USF Campus Recreation provides a “Borrow Our Bikes” Program that offers members the ability to borrow bicycles and benefit from free bicycle and skateboard repair services (
    • Low flow shower heads have been installed in all resident hall showers. Low flow sink aerators are installed in 50% of the residential bathrooms to date. Completion of sink aerators is expected in the summer of 2013. In addition, photocells and electrical control contactors were installed in four buildings that had stairway and entry light circuits that were previously operating 24/7.

Financial Data

  • Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?


  • Amount spent on CAP projects:


  • Estimated amount saved to date from implementing your CAP projects:


  • Estimated total savings expected from implementing entire Climate Action Plan


  • Additional information or context to support expected savings:

    Savings from investments on energy efficient projects come either from direct KWh savings or rebates from the electric utility, for example USF has received a rebate from TECO-Energy for solar power installation.

    Sustainability related projects are often aimed mainly at reducing campus energy consumption. Projects for funding from the SGEF are awarded when they can show sufficient energy savings or GHG reductions.
finance methods...
  • Financing Methods utilized for Mitigation or Renewable Energy Projects:
    • Student Green Fees

Non-public data

This data is available to signatories with reporting system access.
"" fields in which no data was submitted have been omitted from this report