How Green is NYU Shanghai?

What steps does NYU Shanghai have in place to be a "green" campus?

There has been increased attention towards being green in recent years, particularly with the emergence of “green campuses” and “green buildings” in many universities across the US and other parts of the world. While Shanghai is not known as one of the most environmental-friendly cities, it is certainly moving in the same direction as other cities such as Vancouver and Copenhagen. The Shanghai Tower is the latest achievement towards this goal, essentially being the world’s first sustainable advanced skyscraper, with a LEED Gold certification and China Green Building three-star rating.

NYU Shanghai is unlike any other university in China when it comes to our commitment and responsibility towards being “green”, because we have the responsibility to uphold the standards and reputation of the flagship campus in New York. This is evident in various aspects of how our campus is run, according to Terry Liu, the Assistant Director of Campus Facilities.

For example, if you walk around other office buildings on Century Avenue, notice that none of them have lighting quite like the NYU Shanghai Academic Building. NYU Shanghai uses bulbs with a specific color and the energy efficiency standards set by New York, which is standardized across all three degree-granting campuses. There is also a central building automation (BA) system that controls all the lights and ventilation, to ensure that lights and air conditioning units are all turned off after a certain time, except for in areas commonly used for 24 hours, such as the library and building entrances.

The Jinqiao dorms are also equipped with thicker outer walls to retain heat in the buildings to save energy used by the air conditioning units. All trash and recycling at both the academic building and dorms are also picked up by the Shanghai Environmental Bureau.

There aren’t, however, many new and sustainable green technologies that are currently in place simply because NYU Shanghai is renting a “ready-made” building from the Lujiazui group and the dorms are also rented from the Green Center residence. Both buildings are quite dated, and therefore not as energy-efficient as newer developments in Shanghai such as the Shanghai Tower. Both buildings are not eligible for the LEED Gold certification or the China Green Building three-star rating.

Despite this, a concentrated effort is being made to build NYU Shanghai as green as possible with the resources available. Any potential future developments at NYU Shanghai that involve building dormitories or academic facilities from the ground up will, like the Shanghai Tower, have the LEED Gold certification and China Green Building three-star rating in mind.

This article was written by Bishka Zareen Chand. Please send an email to to get in touch.
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