Sustainability at Reed

Programs & Goals

Reed College’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident across a range of activities and programs, including increased reliance on renewable power sources, thoughtful land-use and building decisions, and food-scrap and electronic disposal.

Home to a 28-acre watershed, Reed has also invested in restoration efforts to improve habitat for birds, animals, and aquatic species and create new spawning and rearing grounds for salmon and other resident fish species.
Since 2013, after Reed dedicated $5.4 million to implement changes to minimize energy use by maximizing equipment life and altered building management, Reed has realized an equivalent CO2 emissions reduction of 2,647,750 pounds per year.

In addition to CO2 reduction, these changes resulted in over $250,000 annually in energy-, water-, and maintenance-related savings. The annual energy and water savings is as follows:

  • 1,241,925 kWh
  • 4,463 kW
  • 112,954 therms (natural gas)
  • 5,607,008 gallons or 7,496 CCF (1 CCF = 100 cubic feet)
During the 2019–20 academic year, additional solar panels will be installed on the roofs of the Performing Arts Building and Trillium residence hall. These panels will expand Reed’s solar capacity by roughly 260,000 kWh per year.

Reusable Cups in Commons

Every year, the Reed community uses more than 57,000 paper cups in Commons. To reduce the waste produced by this disposable one-use alternative, Bon Appétit has partnered with Reed to encourage the use of reusable drinking cups and mugs.

Help eliminate waste by choosing a reusable cup or mug or bring your own when purchasing hot or cold beverages in Commons!


2015: National USITT Award for the design of Reed’s Performing Arts Building, which features a fully naturally ventilating main atrium, radiant heated floors, an eco-roof terrace, red oak salvaged from fallen trees on campus, sensors to eliminate wasted energy in unoccupied spaces, and bioswales to capture rainwater.

2014: Gold certification from the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program for Bon Appétit Management Company at Reed College

2013: People’s Choice Award from American Institute of Architects, Portland, for the design of Reed’s Performing Arts Building

2011: Riffle Award for commitment to sustainability practices and watershed protection

Read: mission statement