Northwestern's Commitment to Sustainability

sustainabilityNorthwestern’s University-wide sustainability program, sustainNU, commits to creating an ecologically sound, socially just, and economically sustainable culture that engages students, faculty, and staff. In 2017, sustainNU initiated a University-wide Strategic Sustainability Plan to solidify Northwestern’s commitment to mitigating climate change. The comprehensive plan details the next five years of environmental stewardship—laying the groundwork for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Facilities staff members play crucial roles in achieving the University’s sustainability goals.

Stakeholders from throughout the University, including Facilities, partnered with sustainNU to form working groups that helped develop the Strategic Sustainability Plan. The plan focused on five program areas—built environment, transportation, resource conservation, experiential learning and communication, and engagement.

Facilities oversee both Chicago and Evanston campuses’ 222 buildings and execute several objectives within the built environment program area. Built environment is the primary focus for Facilities because of its role in the upkeep, maintenance, and service related needs of the University that help to reduce its environmental impact.

Key focus areas for the built environment include:

Northwestern has already made progress toward reducing the University’s environmental impact. Energy efficiency and conservation projects have cut campus site energy use intensity by 11 percent from a 2010 baseline and reduced its net greenhouse gas emissions by 13% since 2012.

The following initiatives illustrate how we are making progress towards Northwestern’s sustainability objectives:

Together, these initiatives will move Northwestern forward in understanding, managing, and reducing energy consumption on campus. The projects will create increased opportunities for building occupants to engage with their built environment and understand how they contribute to and can mitigate Northwestern's carbon footprint.