University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Campus Sustainability

Environmental conservation has been a long-standing commitment at Pitt-Johnstown. Shortly after the campus relocated to its current location in 1967, an article in Look magazine touted the heating and ventilation systems as state-of-the-art and energy efficient. Called the Total Electric Heat Conservation System, the system, essentially, recycled the heat created by lighting, students, faculty, staff,  and equipment in classrooms to heat the 10 campus buildings. Today, Pitt-Johnstown continues its efforts to reducing its environmental footprint. 


Beginning January 1, 2015, Pitt-Johnstown moved to a single-stream recycling program. All recyclables may now be placed in ONE container, no sorting necessary. 

With the support and cooperation of the entire campus community, an average of 160 tons of post-consumer waste are recycled annually. These items include office paper, cardboard, newspapers and magazines, aluminum cans, plastic, and scrap metal. Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown works with Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley to setup collection sites across campus during the final week of spring term classes, when students are preparing moving out of their residence halls for the summer. This annual effort provides Goodwill with furniture, small appliances, and other gently used items that can be resold in its retail stores. 

Please direct questions to the physical plant office: 814-269-7130.

Reducing Waste

Ten hydration stations have been installed on campus, providing the opportunity to refill water bottles with filtered water and thereby reducing the number of water bottles that are discarded. To date, the use of these stations has reduced plastic waste by more than 168,000 bottles. Two new stations will be added to the campus annually.

Efficient Energy

Through a campus-wide lighting project, Pitt-Johnstown has reduced its carbon emission by nearly one-million pounds.  The project, which includes converting street lighting to LED bulbs, upgrading lighting fixtures in many buildings, and installing occupancy sensors in classrooms (automatic sensors that turns lights on upon entry and off once the room is vacant), reduces kilowatt usage by more than 80,000 annually. These reductions in energy consumption are the equivalent of planting 1,300 trees and removing 80 cars from the road.

Energy consumption has also been reduced through strategic efforts including replacing inefficient windows and insulating several facilities.  Additionally, heating and cooling systems have been automated in several buildings to operate at fully capacity only when buildings are occupied.

Sustainable Dining

Dining Services removed trays from all campus dining facilities. This initiative not only reduced the amount of food waste by discouraging students from taking more food that they could eat (and ultimately throw away), but it also has reduced dish washing requirements, which translates into energy savings, decreased use of dish detergent, and conserving thousands of gallons of water each year.

Campus Computing

Pitt-Johnstown’s implementation of a replacement program for student computing lab computers reduces energy consumption by utilizing more energy-efficient technology. Labs on campus now feature equipment that uses less power and generates less heat than older equipment. A similar replacement cycle has been implemented for faculty and staff desktop computers, as well.

Sustainable Design and Construction

The 26,000-square-foot Nursing and Health Sciences Building, which opened in 2013, earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in 2015. Additionally, the soon-to-begin John P. Murtha Center for Public Policy project, which will include renovation of the 65,000-square-foot Engineering and Science Building and construction of a new 8,000-square-foot building, will be a LEED-certified project. LEED certification recognizes organizations for the design, operation, and construction environmentally compatible buildings.  It is recognized around the world as the premier mark of achievement in green building.

Sustainable Purchasing

Pitt-Johnstown has implemented an inventory control process for custodial supplies that has reduced waste and decreased costs. The automated system standardizes order for approximately 4,000 items, which eliminates product waste through loss, misplacement, and product expiration. The plan has been so successful that it is being expanded to other areas.