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sustainNU ENERGY STAR booth

Northwestern Earns Prestigious ENERGY STAR Award

Northwestern University has received the 2018 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for its efforts to reduce campus energy consumption and educate students, faculty, staff and the broader community about energy efficiency.

The University’s accomplishments will be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2018.

John D’Angelo, Northwestern’s vice president of Facilities Management, praised ENERGY STAR as “the internationally recognized, best-in-class program for benchmarking and improving energy performance. “Northwestern is extremely proud to be recognized by ENERGY STAR for our efforts to increase energy efficiency, reduce operational costs, improve infrastructure resiliency, protect our environment and teach the next generation of leaders that all of these goals can be achieved together,” D’Angelo said. “As one of only a handful of higher education organizations to earn this honor since the program started and the only one within a decade to do so, Northwestern is proud to share its best practices and serve as an example for others.”

D’Angelo said the award is especially important for universities “whose mission it is to engage and prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, policymakers and citizens to take on the defining challenges of resource conservation and climate change within their lifetime.”

Bill Wehrum, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, said, “The 2018 ENERGY STAR Partners of the Year have demonstrated real leadership, showing how American families and businesses can save energy, save money and reduce air emissions.”

In 2016, ENERGY STAR certified products, homes, buildings and plants helped Americans save more than $30 billion in energy costs and approximately 400 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, while achieving broad emissions reductions.

Northwestern is the first university in more than a decade to receive the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award and the fourth university ever to be recognized. Previous winners include the University of Michigan (2004), University of Virginia (2001) and University of Missouri-Columbia (1997).

The award recognizes Northwestern’s outstanding achievements in energy efficiency, including the University’s efforts to accurately track energy usage data and measure progress in reducing consumption. Northwestern recently completed a comprehensive energy consumption audit of all 222 campus buildings in Evanston and Chicago, representing more than 14.5 million square feet of space. The audit demonstrated the University has reduced energy use intensity (energy use per square foot) 12 percent compared to the baseline year of 2012, despite adding 815,000 square feet of space.

As part of the energy audit, the University uploaded building energy consumption data into ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager, a national benchmarking tool for tracking energy, water and waste in buildings. The ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool enables Northwestern to track energy use in buildings over time, measure progress in reducing consumption and identify areas where building performance can be improved.

Northwestern partnered with ENERGY STAR and leveraged the program’s communication and outreach tools and resources to educate the University community and area residents about how they can save energy and reduce costs in their daily activities. As an example, Northwestern’s sustainability program, sustainNU, participates in an annual street festival in Evanston by setting up an ENERGY STAR booth that showcases opportunities to save energy at home. Volunteers and staff members share tips and answer questions about the best ways to manage home energy costs.

Northwestern’s energy efficiency efforts support the broader goals outlined in the University’s Strategic Sustainability Plan. The University’s goal is to reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2020 (from a 2010 baseline) and achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

For a complete list of 2018 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit