Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Built Environment

Our vision is to improve the built environment at Northwestern so that we lessen our harm to the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Northwestern’s buildings and spaces—located on campuses in Evanston, Chicago, and Qatar, with facilities accommodating the activities of thousands of students, researchers, faculty, staff, and visitors each year—account for 80 percent of the University’s carbon footprint.

Recognizing the dangers of climate change, we regard reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions—while still meeting the needs of the Northwestern community—as a top priority. We aim to reduce the University’s normalized energy consumption to 20 percent below 2010 levels by the year 2020 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. An active partner of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program since 2015, Northwestern follows the program’s Guidelines for Energy Management and uses its Portfolio Manager software to benchmark and track University energy, water, and waste performance.

The Built Environment Working Group is the hub for sustainability efforts involving Northwestern’s buildings and grounds.

Key Focus Areas

Key Objectives


Renewable Energy


Water and Land

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Download the Built Environment section of the Implementation Roadmap

Back to top