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archAs one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Northwestern University recognizes its role in addressing the global challenges of sustainability and climate change. Northwestern University’s strategic plan states that we will “Engage with the world…expanding our impact at home and abroad.” The University’s approach is to immerse our students and faculty in leading environmental curriculum and research and to commit to improving our own carbon footprint.

NU is committed to improving our environmental footprint through an emphasis on efficiency and renewable energy. Northwestern’s Energy Retrofit Initiative has allocated over $40 million to energy efficiency projects across our campuses which, when completed, will reduce Northwestern’s energy use by more than nine percent. And NU currently offsets almost 40 percent of our energy use with renewable energy certificates (RECs), offsetting more than 145 million lbs of greenhouse gas emissions annually. NU is committed to sustainability in construction and renovations; our last six major projects have achieved LEED silver or gold certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

But NU recognizes that the most significant impact that an academic institution can have is through its curriculum, research, and the engagement of its students, faculty, staff, and the communities around them. NU’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) has created focused curriculum and research grants in the critical global topics of sustainability, energy, water, and climate change. NU’s joint effort with Argonne National labs to create Argonne-Northwestern Solar Research Center (ANSER) and our partnership in initiatives such as the Solar Fuels Initiative (SOFI) and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) ensure that we are on the forefront of energy and sustainability research.

Rob Whittier
Director of Sustainability
Northwestern University