Making Progress

USC Earns Gold Rating from the
Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS)

AASHE Gold STARS Rating Seal

In February 2024, USC earned a prestigious STARS Gold rating from AASHE, the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for universities to measure their sustainability performance. The assessment encompasses a multitude of sustainability data points from across USC. It helps to build a stronger campus sustainability community, creates incentives for improvement, and facilitates information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.

This achievement comes a year earlier than our Assignment: Earth goal, yet another sign of USC’s rapid transformation towards sustainability leadership.

For more information on STARS and AASHE, visit AASHE.org.

Progress Reports

USC Sustainability By the Numbers

View the FY22 Report for more.

Energy sustainability progress

Energy and Emissions

  • 31% absolute GHG scope 1 + 2 emissions reduction since 2014 baseline
  • 42,000 kWh energy savings per month resulting from centrally-managed Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Cooling (HVAC) automated scheduling programs
  • 20 academic buildings upgraded to energy-efficient LED lighting
  • 60% lighting load reduction after LED upgrades
Sustainability progress on waste diversion

Waste Diversion

  • 54.44% USC’s overall waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
  • 60.10% University Park Campus waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
  • 45.14% Health Sciences Campus waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
  • 65.34% USC Village waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
  • 39.61% USC Housing (off campus) waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
  • 18.42% CAL/CDF buildings (off campus) waste diversion rate (as of December 2023)
Sustainability progress on water management

Water Conservation

  • 15% potable water use reduction per sq ft.of bldg. space since 2014 baseline
  • 40% estimated average water use savings resulting from new native or climate adaptive landscaping
  • 90% of UPC irrigation is centrally controlled and employs weather-based sensors
  • 36 additional sub-meter locations for UPC water metering installed
Transportation sustainability progress

Transportation

  • 7% reduction in single-occupancy vehicles commuting to campus
  • 2.32 average riders per vehicle commuting to our campuses, exceeding SCAQMD target of 1.5
  • 23 bio-fuel buses in operation
  • 112 electric vehicle charging ports installed across UPC and HSC (237 ports total installed on both campuses to date)
Sustainability progress on procurement at USC

Procurement

  • 55% of USC Hospitality food is purchased from sustainable sources
  • Single-use plastic beverage bottle elimination plan developed with Auxiliary Services, Athletics, and Procurement to help USC transition away from single-use plastics and improve waste reduction (policy effective July 2022)
Sustainability progress on research and education

Education and Research

Sustainability progress in athletics

LA Coliseum 2023 Football Season

  • 90% waste diversion rate for seven football games
  • 66.14 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill (72.1 total tons generated during season)
  • >1,200 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill since 2015
  • Three-time winner of Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge