It is this office’s ambition to mitigate UT Dallas’ footprint on the environment, to raise visibility and awareness of environmental issues on campus and our community, and to engage UT Dallas students, faculty and staff in developing sustainable policies and practices.

We are committed to encouraging the collaborative efforts of students, faculty, and staff to share knowledge, develop skills, foster values, and initiate practices that contribute to sustainable, high standards for our campus and the world as a whole.

This website is intended to act as a portal to house cross-campus information on sustainability, including what individuals and groups are doing on campus, classes being offered, research being done and what resources are available to assist our efforts.


The University shall establish procedures to consider conservation of utilities’ use and sustainability in the design and operation of University facilities in the most economical and environmentally friendly manner possible, educate the University community on sustainability measures, and consider conservation in purchasing decisions and transportation.


University President David E. Daniel, his cabinet, as well as the deans of each school, have pledged, as part of the University’s Strategic Plan, to make UT Dallas a leader at the increasingly complicated and important intersection of energy and the environment.

How do we impact the environment?

Energy – We use natural resources to make electricity, which powers our computers, air conditioners, and light bulbs.  Energy has a very high impact to our environment.

Fuel – Fuel can be gasoline to power our vehicles, natural gas to make heat and electricity, or diesel to power our Comet Cruiser buses.

Water – People use water to power our bodies (drinking water) and prevent disease (toilets and showers).  Water comes onto campus during rain events, causing stormwater runoff which can be polluted.  And, water is a very precious resource – Texas is in a severe drought across the state.  We must conserve water.

Waste – everything we do generates waste.  We generate: trash, recyclable material, hazardous waste, construction debris, landscape waste, electronic waste, old furniture, etc.

Transportation – Moving goods and people uses fuel.  There is an environmental cost to driving to the store, or ordering goods online.  You can minimize your transportation footprint by carpooling, car sharing, using public transportation, and reducing your driving needs.

Clean air – We all need to breathe – humans, animals, flowers, plants, and algae.  For that, we need clean air.  Energy and transportation are big contributors to the clean air slice of sustainability pie, but there are other things that cause pollution, too:  volcanoes, fire, dust.  So, let’s do what we can to keep our air clean.


What is UT Dallas doing to promote sustainability?

UT Dallas has opened our first LEED certified building. The Student Services building has been certified as LEED Platinum — the highest level a building can earn in sustainable construction. Some of the sustainable features in the building include solar panels that heat the buildings hot water supply, storm-water collection tanks that will be used in landscape watering and toilets, recycled and regional sustainable material use in building construction, low flow lavatory fixtures for reduced water use, purchased green power for building operation, and innovative lighting that maximizes daylight.

UT Dallas has an extensive recycling program and collects paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, wood pallets, batteries, light bulbs, tires for recycling.

UT Dallas composts 100% of its usable landscape waste. We have our own greenhouse and grow most of our campus color from seeds.

UT Dallas’ cardboard collection yields up to 16 tons per month.

UT Dallas’ dining hall collects pre-consumer kitchen waste for landscaping compost.

Really, what is this whole sustainability thing about?

Sustainability is about sustaining and supporting the world by limiting the amount of material placed in the waste stream. The most common practices of sustainability are recycling, energy conservation, and food composting.

What is the “waste stream?”

The waste stream is simply all the waste that leaves a residence or business. Basically, all the trash you throw out.  It can be recyclable material, hazardous waste, construction debris, food waste, or just plain trash.

What are some impacts of the waste stream in its current state?

Climate Change: Increasing industrial emissions have raised carbon dioxide levels such that the Greenhouse Effect is impacting the atmosphere and sea levels to an alarming extent.

  • Fact: Current atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at their highest in 420,000 years. This means that eventually, due to polar ice caps melting, places such as the coast of California may not exist.

Biodiversity: The evolution of a wide variety of species on this planet has contributed to the stability of the biosphere. The loss of any species of plant or animal due to human consumption destabilizes the planet?s regulatory systems.

  • Fact: Forest losses of more than 10 percent in the last decade threaten forest ecosystems & the approximately 1.7 billion people in 40 nations with critically low levels of forest cover who rely on forests for fuel, timber, and other goods and services.

Population & Mass Consumption: Different societies consume resources in different ways and amounts. The societies that consist of the smallest percentage of people on this planet consume the most goods, whereas the societies that consist of largest percentage of people on this planet consume the least and are following a model of development similar to that of developed industrial societies that is ultimately unsustainable for the amount of people served by this model.

  • Fact: Today, about 77 million people are added to the planet each year the equivalent of 10 New York Cities, with the majority of population existing and growing in developing countries.
  • Fact: The Worldwatch Institute estimates that providing adequate food, clean water, and basic education for the world’s poorest could all be achieved for less than people spend annually on makeup, ice cream, and pet food.

Water: Different levels of contamination and allocation mean that many people in the world do not have access to enough clean water.

  • Fact: Due to water contamination, a third of the world lives in countries that find it difficult or impossible to meet all their water needs.

I have facts about the world now. Give me some info on the United States.

  • Every Sunday, the United States wastes nearly 90% of the recyclable newspapers. This wastes about 500,000 trees.
  • Americans throw away enough office paper each year to build a 12-foot-high wall of paper from New York to Los Angeles.
  • The United States discards enough aluminum to completely rebuild the American commercial airline fleet every three months.
  • The energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a television set for three hours or light one 100 watt bulb for 20 hours.
  • If everyone in the U.S. recycled just 1/10 of their newsprint, we would save the estimated equivalent of about 25 million trees a year.

What exactly are the results of UT Dallas’ efforts?

In the last 3 years UTD has diverted thousands of pounds of paper, cardboard, plastic and metals from the public landfill and has generated over $10,000 in recycling revenue.

What can I recycle at UT Dallas?

Paper, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, metal, cardboard, printer and copier cartridges are all collected at community collection stations across campus.  Special arrangements can be made to recycle metal, pallets, appliances, furniture and other large items.  Facilities Management has special collections for light bulbs, oil and oil filters, tires, batteries, and organic waste.

When we recycle 1 ton of paper, we save:

  • 17 trees
  • 7,000 gallons of water
  • 4,200 kilowatt hours of energy
  • 410 gallons of fuel
  • 60 gallons of air pollution
  • more than 3 yds³ of landfill space