The Environmental Research and Sustainability, located within the University's Facilities Services – Campus Planning department, was established in November 2008. Environmental Research and Sustainability staff collaborates with campus and community partners to enhance a culture of sustainability using data‐driven, yet relationship‐based approach that connects students, faculty, and staff into a cohesive University‐wide network. Our philosophy is to achieve balance between environmental, social, and economic sustainability in all decisions. By maintaining a comprehensive Sustainability Plan, responsible practices and considerations are integrated across the University of Chicago.
Each of the 114 buildings that make up the University of Chicago campus require electricity, heating, cooling, cleaning and maintenance. Emissions resulting from the operation and maintenance of these buildings represent in large measure our carbon footprint as an institution. To help reduce these emissions, the University’s Sustainable Building Policy requires all new campus and medical center buildings with a budget of more than $5 million be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC’s LEED certification aims to improve building performance across a number of significant metrics, including energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste reduction and indoor environmental quality.
The Environmental Research and Sustainability has released a Sustainability Plan Baseline Report that outlines goals, progress, and next steps in nine areas of sustainability. Academic initiatives related to environmental research and sustainability at the University of Chicago span a wide range of departments and programs. More information about these and other initiatives can be found in these Environmental Research and Environmental Education links. The Provost's Office works to develop and support academic priorities related to environmental research and sustainability initiatives in collaboration with the University community, the Sustainability Advisory Committee and the Environmental Research and Sustainability.
Sustainability ‐ Project Controls
Beginning in the Project Initiation phase, broad project sustainability goals are identified, and are subsequently refined as the design progresses, including definition of LEED goals, energy use, and development/execution of Commissioning plans. The Sustainability group will review designs at each milestone of design to ensure best possible alignment with the University’s Sustainability Plan. The group will also assist the design and construction teams in maximizing a project’s sustainable features within the project budget. For large projects, the sustainability group will help facilitate sustainability workshops and in assembling LEED certification documents.