Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine

Sustainability at Feinberg

Join us in our efforts to create an environmentally sustainable campus.

Northwestern University is committed to creating an environmentally sustainable campus by reducing waste, conserving water and energy, and incorporating sustainability into our purchasing and operating practices. Our sustainability program, sustainNU, engages students, faculty and staff to minimize the environmental impacts associated with their behavior and our campus operations and we are continuously looking for ways to reduce our footprint.

VISIT SUSTAIN NU WEBSITE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION

Feinberg Sustainability Highlights

The exterior of the Ward Building

2012 Energy Use Audit

In 2012, Feinberg conducted the school’s first energy use audit and began large-scale conservation efforts, including significant improvements to building ventilation and heating/cooling systems.
Method Atrium in the Tarry Building

ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings

In 2016, we entered the Tarry Building into the in the ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings, a national competition that engages building managers in a 90-day challenge to see how much energy they can save. Tarry was the top performer among the university's competing buildings. Over the course of the competition, the building saved more than 228,000 kWh of electricity. This is equivalent to the total annual energy usage of 17 average homes.
An Alumni Weekend event at Lurie Medical Research Center

Mayor's Leadership Circle Award

In 2018, the medical school won the Mayor's Leadership Circle Award from the Retrofit Chicago Energy Challenge for energy reductions in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center, where energy use was reduced 31 percent between 2012 and 2018.
The exterior of the Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center

The Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center opened in 2019. It was designed to incorporate energy-saving systems that resulted in one-third lower energy use per square foot than in our most energy efficient existing buildings. The building is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.

University-Wide Strategic Sustainability Plan

Northwestern University's Strategic Sustainability Plan was released in 2017 and developed with input from faculty, staff, students and vendors. It addresses the five key program areas below. Since its implementation, our university-wide efforts have been recognized at the local, state and national level, including:


U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR
Partner of the Year
(2018 and 2019)

Ranked No. 2 Best Green Colleges
in the U.S. by The College Consensus
(2019)

Illinois Sustainability
Award
(2018)

U.S. EPA Green Power
Leadership Award
(2015)

 

Program Noteworthy Public Committments Example Accomplishments

Built Environment
  • Reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% (from 2012 baseline) by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050
  • Reduce energy consumption by 20% (from 2010 baseline) by 2020
  • Ensure that all new construction projects begun in 2017 or later achieve at least Gold LEED certification
  • 13% reduction in GHG emissions since 2012
  • 16% reduction in energy usage per square foot since 2010
  • 3 solar installations
  • 13 LEED-certified buildings, including Platinum for Kellogg Global Hub

Transportation
  • Establish an electric-vehicle (EV) charging policy by 2017
  • Offset 100% GHG emissions associated with university-sponsored travel by 2021
  • Increase bike commuting by 10% from 2016 baseline by 2021
  • Established EV charging policy
  • Converted 37% of Facilities' fleet to electric
  • 8 EV charger installations
  • University Divvy bike membership discounts

Resource Conservation
  • Increase landfill diversion rate to 50% by 2020
  • Increase the use of sustainable food served in university dining facilities to 20% from the 2018 baseline of total food purchases by 2021
  • Recycled more than 2,400 tons of material in 2018, a 40% diversion rate
  • Campus-wide composting program

Communications & Engagement
  • Integrate sustainability into programs and learning opportunities for university staff
  • Engage students in sustainability-themed events and activities
  • Hosted or provided support for 35 sustainability campus events in 2018
  • Awarded over 50 sustainability grants totaling $200k to students since 2013

Experiental Learning
  • Identify courses that lend themselves to hands-on experiential learning
  • Increase student sustainability literacy
  • Master's degree sustainability program established
  • More than 200 sustainability and environment-related course offerings
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