The Office of Sustainability, established in November 2008, is located within the University of Chicago's Facilities Services Campus Planning + Sustainability unit. Sustainability staff collaborate with students, faculty, and staff to enhance a culture of sustainability using a data‐driven, yet relationship‐based approach.  The Office of Sustainability balances goals between environmental, social, and economic sustainability. A comprehensive Sustainability Plan outlines goals in nine areas of sustainability to encourage responsible practices and considerations for integrating sustainability into University operations.

Each building on the University of Chicago Hyde Park campus requires utilities such as electricity, natural, gas, steam, and water for heating, cooling, and maintenance. Emissions resulting from the utilities needed to heat and cool campus buildings represent at least 70% of the University’s overall emissions in any given year.  To help reduce these emissions, the University’s Sustainable Building Policy requires all new University of Chicago and UChicago Medicine buildings with construction costs of $5 million or more to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC’s LEED certification aims to improve building performance across several significant areas, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Sustainability ‐ Project Controls

Beginning in the Project Initiation phase, broad project sustainability goals are identified and are subsequently refined as the design progresses, including the definition of LEED goals, energy use, and development/execution of commissioning plans. The sustainability team will review designs at each milestone of design to ensure the 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 assemble LEED certification documents.


List of LEED Certified Buildings on the University of Chicago campus

Facility Standards (FS)2 for Sustainable Design and Construction

Office of Sustainability

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UChicagoSocial: Facilities Services