Although Ashdown is certified to be a LEED Gold building, the key to keeping Ashdown environmentally friendly and sustainable is in your lifestyle and habits. We would like to make sure that the environmental impact of everyone in Ashdown is minimal and that we are working toward making our lifestyles more sustainable, both in Ashdown and beyond. Here are some simple tips that everyone can follow to live in a more environmentally friendly way and help make Ashdown more sustainable:


  1. Switch off your lights, air conditioners, heater and other appliances when they are not in use and/or you are not in your room. Make sure to turn off the lights in your apartment and suite at night. Please set your computer to automatically sleep when idle if you do not run a server that needs to be on. If possible, please also unplug or turn off other devices when not in use.
  2. Reduce car usage and use public transportation. Please avoid using taxis or Zipcars if the MBTA buses, subways, and trains; bicycling; or walking are options. Think about the resources you will spare for future generations if you avoid using individual automobiles. It’s worth spending a little more time and effort to save our planet. By using public transportation, you also help support its maintenance and growth so that it can improve over time.
  3. Reduce energy usage when not necessary. Dry clothes on clothes racks, especially in the summer when it’s hot (electric dryers consume over 10 MJ of energy per load, a very significant energy drain). Buy energy-efficient appliances if they exist. Try to make use of daylight instead of artificial lighting.
  4. Reduce water usage when not necessary. Take shorter showers. Lower the water pressure when washing dishes and shut off the water between dishes.
  5. Reduce use of disposable items. Convenience is not an excuse to waste materials and increase trash that is harmful to the environment. The idea of “disposable” is not sustainable. Please bring your own plates and utensils to dormitory events as well as events that you organize with your friends. Keep a set of reusable dishes and utensils in your office for campus events; most office areas have a kitchen nearby where you can wash your items. You only have to ask! Try to buy large refills for toiletries as opposed to buying many more smaller toiletries to reduce packaging waste. When possible, avoid getting takeout, which uses a lot of unnecessary packaging.


  1. Reuse shopping bags or buy reusable ones. Use your reusable shopping bags even at locations that don’t provide them. If you forget your reusable bags when shopping and do take a plastic bag, please reuse it a few times! A single plastic bag can go a long way before being trashed.
  2. Share your unwanted items with others. Even old and broken electronics, books, cooking supplies, and other items may be sought after by a large number of people at MIT, who can squeeze more life out of them or even fix them, instead of creating more landfill waste. To keep things organized, especially during move-out months, we provide a Google sheet ( where you are free to post items for sale/giveaway within Ashdown.
    • Items that are sold or no longer available should be removed from the list by the original poster.
    • Please do not make changes to other’s posts.
    • If a posted item is dated more than 2 weeks ago, the moderator will remove it unless the original poster updates the date to show a continuing interest in selling/giving away the item.
    • Email Ashdown Talk ( within Ashdown and Reuse ( MIT-wide to find someone to take your items quickly. Include what your item is, where it is, and how you can be contacted. We still recommend that those items be posted on the Google sheet to maximize the chance of finding a new home.


  1. Please recycle everything that can be recycled. Ashdown House now uses single-stream recycling, which means that you can place all recyclable items in one bin. Please do NOT put trash in the recycling bins! Only clean items should be recycled. The following items, in particular, should NOT be recycled: napkins, styrofoam, aerosol cans, food waste (rinse containers to empty large bits food waste — it’s not necessary to thoroughly wash them). For more information on what can and cannot be recycled, please visit this website. Recyclables can be put in your room’s blue bins and left outside your apartment door for pickup.
  2. Recycle electronics in the front lobby. Ashdown’s lobby has a bin for electronics that need recycling. Please leave any electronics that you cannot otherwise get rid of there. Do NOT trash your electronics.


  1. Please compost everything that can be composted. Compost bins are located in the common kitchens on floors 2 through 5. You may compost food waste, plant materials, napkins, and paper towels. As of now, you may NOT compost utensils or containers that are labeled as “compostable.”


We hope that for the sake of our planet and future generations you will use these and other tips in your daily life. It is important for you to follow these tips not only in Ashdown, but anywhere you find yourself, as we must work together to conserve resources so that our planet is habitable for many lifetimes to come. Humans are currently destroying the planet: using its resources at rates faster than the Earth can replenish them; polluting our lands, seas, and skies; and ruining our atmosphere and protective ozone layer. We can already see the devastating effects that our actions are having on the planet, from raging forest fires to stronger hurricanes and from dwindling wildlife to water shortages. A crisis is at hand, and it is important that each and every one of us, as future world leaders, start saving our planet now. You may have to spend a little more now – in time, effort, or money – but only from good actions now will we and our children have a plentiful planet to live on later. Please be a responsible world citizen by saving our planet’s resources everywhere you go.