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2018-2019 Sustainability Report

Built Environment

  • Mitigating GHG Emissions: Achieved a 12% reduction in Scope 1 & 2 net greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 from 2012 baseline.
    • Northwestern has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from the 2012 baseline by 2030.
  • New LEED certified building: 560 Lincoln achieved LEED Gold certification. The 122,000 square foot residence hall utilizes efficient fixtures, recycled materials, and direct lines of sight to the outdoors for residents.
  • Northwestern purchased 100,000 megawatt hours of Green-e certified Midwest wind Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), representing roughly 38% of Northwestern’s electricity consumption.
    • Equivalent to removing more than 15,000 cars from the road.
  • Energy use intensity has been reduced 14% from the 2010 baseline.
    • EUI is calculated by dividing the total energy consumed by total building gross floor area, allowing for a meaningful year-over-year energy performance comparisons while taking into account changes in campus footprint.

Resource Conservation

  • Recycling and composting efforts diverted 39% of our waste from the landfill, which represents 2,400 tons recycled or composted.
  • Strategizing waste reduction: Northwestern University launched its first Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan aimed at reducing waste and protecting the environment. The report includes recommendations based off of a waste audit to help achieve Northwestern’s goal of a 50% landfill diversion rate by 2020.
  • Reducing food waste: Collected 321 tons of food waste through University composting initiatives.
  • Take it or leave it: Donated nearly 7,500 pounds of food, clothing, and household goods during move out to Connections for the Homeless, an Evanston non-profit.


  • Increasing EV station usage: Usage of the 8 electric vehicle charging stations increased by 57% in 2019 compared to 2018. The stations dispensed 54,710 kWh of electricity, allowing drivers to travel about 166,000 miles.
  • Tracking transportation data: Released the second biennial Transportation Survey capturing data from 6,700 students, faculty, and staff.
  • Campus bike share: Student Divvy memberships rose to a total of 829, an 8% increase from 2018.

Communications & Engagement

  • Celebrating Earth Day: Hosted the inaugural Earth Day Fair with representatives from across campus as well as vendor partners.
  • Engaging with the community: Hosted or provided support for 13 campus events, reaching more than 3,900 students, faculty, staff, and community members.
  • Social media updates: Sent updates to over 1,200 Facebook, 1,450 Twitter, and 600 Instagram followers.
  • Reporting on sustainability: Sent 4 newsletters to over 4,500 subscribers.

Experiential Learning

  • Supporting bright ideas: Worked with Associated Student Government Sustainability Committee to support a student-led energy audit and lighting upgrade project.
  • Connecting to sustainability: Led a tour of sustainable features on campus for alumni during reunion weekend.