Sustainability Services

Facilities Services’ Office of Sustainability works with stakeholders across campus in order to achieve a sustainable University of Chicago. Since its founding in November 2008, the Office of Sustainability has developed a multi-year Sustainability Plan supported by numerous policies, guidelines, and programs, many of which are already in place or in development.

Policies, Guidelines, and Programs in place or in development:

  • The purpose of creating the Office of Sustainability Advisory Council (OSAC) is to help bridge these gaps by facilitating collaboration, communication and providing the cross-boundary strategic direction and leadership that will make environmental sustainability work at the University more coherent with broader and deeper impact.
  • The University integrated significant sustainability requirements into the (FS)² Facilities Services Facility Standards, ensuring that sustainability is a top priority for all campus buildings. The University requires LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification for all new construction projects on campus greater than $5 million USD in construction costs.
  • The Divvy bike share program allows the University community to travel the campus and neighborhood quickly and cleanly using two-wheeled transportation. University members qualify for discounts on Divvy memberships, ensuring that sustainable transportation remains affordable. Additionally, a partnership with Blackstone Bicycle Works, a local nonprofit, promotes bike safety around campus.
  • The University promotes E-Waste recycling through a program that includes three separate drop-off points for E-Waste, along with a free pickup service. More information about the program, including specific drop-off locations, can be found on the Office of Sustainability site.
  • In development, the Sustainable Energy Program includes Program Implementation Guidelines, an Energy Conservation Program (currently in pilot in five campus buildings), and Energy Management Principles.

Sustainability in Facilities Services

In addition to the above programs, Facilities Services is integrating sustainability throughout the entire department through several initiatives.

Sustainable Buildings integrate sustainability features in a way that’s meaningful for the people who will study, teach, or work in our buildings.

The University’s Recycling and Waste Management uses a single-stream, throw-it-all-in-one-bin, recycling program, meaning that all recyclable items can be dropped into any recycling container on campus.

In June of 2009, the University completed a program to use Green Cleaning supplies in all campus buildings managed by Facilities Services. The green cleaning products are surface, floor, bath, glass and multi-purpose cleaners.

Integrative Pest Management (IPM) is an environmentally sensitive approach to pest control with minimal pesticides. The University’s program is designed for achieving long term, environmentally sound pest suppression through the use of a wide variety of technological and management practices. Control strategies in an IPM program extend beyond the application of pesticides by prioritizing structural and procedural modifications that reduce food, water, harborage, and access used by pests.

Sustainable Landscape Services are provided by the Grounds Service Crew through many activities that contribute to environmental sustainability. These include the use of native plants, recycled trees, composting, green equipment, and more.

Eco-friendly Snow and Ice Removal involves the use of organic accelerator for de-icing, which is all-natural, lasts longer, and is anti-corrosive on equipment.

Visit the Sustainability website to learn more about cross-campus sustainability, including what individuals and groups are doing on campus, classes being offered, research being conducted, and what resources are available.