MIT has adopted a 3-pronged approach to sustainability, with particular focus on the energy and the environment, in its facilities and operations, in its research agenda and in the curricula offered in the different departments. In fact, MIT was just honored by the Kaplan College Guide 2009 as being among the nation's top 25 environmentally responsible schools. In 2006, President Hockfield launched the campus-wide MIT Energy Initiative—MITEI—that is “designed to help transform the global energy system to meet the needs of the future and to help build a bridge to that future by improving today's energy systems.” This comprehensive effort is multidisciplinary and cross-institutional in its approach with strong collaborative efforts between students, faculty and staff. $500,000 in seed money from MIT launched a series of “Walk the Talk” projects including in energy conservation, building retrofits, an inventory on greenhouse gas emissions and exploration of alternative, renewable energy sources.
MIT has made great improvements in its green house gas emissions and energy efficiency in a joint effort of the Facilities Department and students. In 2002, MIT adopted a standard for new buildings known as LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a standard developed by the US Green Building Council to promote high performance, green buildings and that makes transparent the design elements of a building that reduce its eco- and carbon footprints, make the buildings healthier places to live and work, and reduce the operating costs over the life cycle of the building. MIT adopted a LEED Silver level for its buildings. The optional tours that are offered on Thursday, September 18, will explore some of these buildings such as the famed Gehry Stata Center.
MIT also developed a sustainability manual for its facilities and implemented numerous energy efficiency measures in existing building such as the Chem Lab. There are recycling containers throughout campus. Dorms have been engaged in the quest to save energy; the dorm with the best improvement in the course of a year is rewarded with funds for investment in energy and environmental improvements.