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Northwestern recognized by EPA as leader for sustainability for third consecutive year


Northwestern University has received the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the third consecutive year. In 2020, Northwestern became the first university to ever receive the prestigious award.

The Sustained Excellence Award is the highest honor given by the ENERGY STAR program, and honors organizations that display continued leadership and long-term commitments to climate action and energy efficiency.

The University was also the first school to receive the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award consecutively (2018 and 2019).

“Northwestern is proud to have our energy efficiency efforts recognized again by the EPA,” said Craig Johnson, executive vice president for Northwestern. “Our strategic partnerships and engagement across campus have fostered a community-wide effort to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact.”

Northwestern’s other notable achievements in sustainability over the past year include:

  • Developing a new long-term partnership with clean energy integrator Ameresco, Inc., to reduce the University’s carbon footprint across its Evanston and Chicago campuses and provide learning opportunities for students;
  • Reducing energy-use intensity in buildings by 20% since 2010;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% since 2012;
  • Adding a sustainability training module to Northwestern New Employee Orientation to provide an overview of how individuals can incorporate sustainability into their workplace; and
  • Launching a print management program, which has replaced desktop printers and aging copiers with ENERGY STAR-certified multifunction units, supporting elimination of abandoned print jobs.

Sustainability initiatives at Northwestern are led by sustainNU, a University-wide program that engages students, faculty and staff in reducing Northwestern’s impact on the environment to cultivate an ecologically sound, socially just and economically sustainable culture on campus.

sustainNU is in the process of finalizing the University’s next Strategic Sustainability Plan, whose development included a comprehensive external trend analysis, peer institution benchmarking, and broad engagement with Northwestern and external stakeholders — including alumni, city officials from Evanston and Chicago, and community groups.

“We know it’s going to take all of us working together to tackle the climate crisis, and the 2022 ENERGY STAR Award-winning partners are demonstrating what it takes to build a more sustainable future,” said EPA administrator Michael S. Regan. “These companies are showing once again that taking action in support of a clean energy economy can be good not only for the environment, but also for business and customers.”

Winners are selected from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. For a complete list of 2022 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit