Facebook Twitter

NU leading on energy and the environment

February 2013 | by sustainNU

Tech buildingNorthwestern University is fully committed to leadership in addressing the global challenges around energy and climate change. As a part of this commitment, Northwestern has launched one of the most ambitious University energy efficiency programs to date. Working closely with Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability, University leadership created the Northwestern Energy Retrofit Initiative, committing almost $32 million to energy conservation projects, which will have significant environmental and economic benefits over the next three years.

In the first phase of this exciting initiative, Northwestern worked closely with leading engineering and energy firms including Siemens and Noresco, a division of United Technologies, to identify and prioritize energy related projects. These projects are now being implemented across the Evanston and Chicago campuses and the University is already tracking the savings and environmental impact. Examples of projects include updating lighting, updating the central utility plant, and renovating the campus-wide central heating and cooling system. One innovative and impactful upgrade is the installation of an automated “demand-controlled ventilation system” that decreases energy usage and increases safety by constantly monitoring air quality and optimizing ventilation in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. The savings for this project alone is a cool $550 thousand a year! Similar projects are happening all over campus, from the Main Library to Tech, and when they’re done we’ll have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions AND saved money doing it.

Another exciting project in the works is an analysis of the prospect for on-site generation of energy through cogeneration, geothermal heating and cooling, and other alternative and renewable technologies on the Evanston Campus. These efforts affirm Northwestern as a leader in energy and sustainability.

For more information about Northwestern’s energy efficiency program and other sustainability related initiatives, contact the Office of Sustainability.