Painting of Hillwood and the Lunar Lawn

Sustainability at Hillwood

Sustainability at Hillwood

Hillwood is "Where Beauty Lives," dedicated to preserving the important legacy of Marjorie Merriweather Post and continuing to inspire and educate the public. Environmental stewardship is vital to ensuring Hillwood remains vibrant, healthy, innovative, and current, building a sustainable future for our communities and the world around us. 

Sustainability at Hillwood addresses everything from organic pest control in the gardens to renewable energy usage in the mansion. We remain committed to protecting and maintaining the health of the environment. 

Learn more about environmental stewardship:

Environmental Conservation

Hillwood protects the earth's biodiversity and implements best practices in horticulture. Hillwood staff always look first to safer and gentler alternatives to traditional pesticides, create sustainable landscapes, monitor water consumption, encourage biodiversity within the gardens, and more.

Climate Action

We are a leader in energy consumption and materials management, greatly reducing electrical usage and recycling as many resources on campus as possible. Staff at Hillwood incorporate new initiatives, updating the campus to the "greenest" standards.

Earth Day Celebration 

The annual Earth Day celebration is an opportunity for Hillwood to engage visitors on current environmental issues. Led by the Hillwood Environmental Action Team (HEAT), comprised of Hillwood staff, the program features informational stations on sustainability initiatives meant to engage and inspire and also includes shop discounts, café specials and theme-related tours.

2024 Focus

  • Campus-wide plastic reduction
  • Install two EV charging stations
  • Restore four areas identified in the formal gardens, removing monocultural groundcovers and replanting with a more diverse plant palette 
  • Continue to work with our consultant on a new compost facility design 
  • Continue to remove invasive plants in the woodlands
  • Continue the existing recycling and compost programs 
  • Install an erosion mat and plants to address erosion along the access road near the Adirondack building and the dacha 

2023 Highlights

  • Reduced paper usage by 14.7% 
  • Replaced asphalt garden paths with porous pave
  • Prevented over 200 pounds of ballasts, batteries, and disposable gloves from ending up in a landfill
  • Removed a full acre of English ivy in addition to over 1,000 invasive plants in woodlands and gardens
  • Composted 1,100 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from Merriweather Café and staff break rooms

2022 Highlights

  • Reduced campus water usage by 700,000 gallons
  • Prevented over 400 pounds of ballasts, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and more from ending up in a trash bin via the recycling program
  • Composted 14 cubic feet of used coffee grounds from campus break rooms
  • The horticulture team used 73% less gas for equipment
  • Replaced 80% of mansion lighting with LED bulbs
  • Introduced biodegradable visitor stickers and a digital visitor guide
  • Replaced paper and plastic products with washable, reusable dishes and flatware in staff break rooms

2021 Highlights

  • 86% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions
  • 100% natural gas carbon offset
  • 100% renewably sourced electricity
  • 25% reduction in site use energy
  • 1,500 new campus LED lights (a 200% increase since 2020)

Hillwood's Environmental Action Team (HEAT) was recently featured in the Phipps Conservatory Climate Toolkit blog. Read more about the work Hillwood is doing to be more sustainable.