As one of the world’s leading academic institutions, Northwestern University recognizes its role in addressing the global challenges of sustainability and climate change. Northwestern University’s strategic plan states that we will “Engage with the world…expanding our impact at home and abroad.” The University’s approach is to immerse our students and faculty in leading environmental curriculum and research and to commit to improving our own carbon footprint.
Northwestern is committed to minimizing our environmental footprint through an emphasis on efficiency and renewable energy. Northwestern’s Energy Retrofit Initiative has allocated over $40 million to energy efficiency projects across our campuses which, when completed, will reduce the University’s energy use by more than 9 percent. And Northwestern currently offsets 50 percent of our energy use with renewable energy certificates (RECs), equating to taking 17,700 cars of the road or growing 2,157,000 trees a year. The University is committed to sustainability in construction and renovations; our last seven major projects have achieved LEED silver or gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
But Northwestern recognizes that the most significant impact that an academic institution can have is through its curriculum and research and through the engagement of its students, faculty, staff, and the communities around them. The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) has created focused curriculum and research grants in the critical global topics of sustainability, energy, water, and climate change. Northwestern’s joint effort with Argonne National labs to create the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Research Center (ANSER) and our partnership in initiatives such as the Solar Fuels Initiative (SOFI) and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) ensure that we are on the forefront of energy and sustainability research.