As part of its continuing climate leadership efforts, Northwestern University has partnered with Ameresco, a leading clean technology integrator specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The initiative will help Northwestern significantly reduce its carbon footprint across both the Evanston and Chicago campuses while also providing learning opportunities for students.
This project helps NU move further towards reaching its sustainability goals of reducing its energy and utility usage and achieving carbon neutrality by 2032. The measures provide environmental and health benefits by reducing air pollution from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are generated by fossil fuels.
Buildings and Central Plants
in Phase One
of Campus Infrastructure Maintenance
(in Phase One)
of Carbon Dioxide Equivalents Projected to be Avoided (Annually, Starting in 2023)
Each year the carbon emissions reduction from this project is projected to equal to one of the following equivalencies (according to the U.S. EPA GHG Calculator)…
GHG emissions avoided by
trash bags of waste recycled
instead of landfilled
GHG emissions from
miles driven by an average gasoline-
powered passenger vehicle
Carbon sequestered by
acres of U.S. forests in one year
Energy As a Service Program Summary
The long-term Energy as a Service (EaaS) agreement will allow the University to tackle immediate energy infrastructure needs and address deferred maintenance without upfront capital investments. Instead, projects are funded over time through the program’s energy savings. EaaS programs establish a long-term partnership to mitigate energy risk and address energy requirements without upfront capital.
Northwestern anticipates a reduction in its carbon footprint in connection with the program term. Projects will involve smart building technology implementation, building automation, lighting upgrades, heating and cooling system optimization and alternative energy systems.
In addition to providing energy management for both campuses’ 200+ buildings, Ameresco will support Northwestern in developing an asset condition inventory and comprehensive asset planning framework as well as provide annual funding over the five-year period for NU Sustainability Fellows and employ two paid interns each quarter.
Phase One Highlights:
- $72M in savings over 30 years
- Addresses $18.6M in deferred maintenance with no up-front capital cost
- Leverages $722,060 in utility incentives
- Reduces annual CO2 footprint by 6,029 tons
- Saves over 4M gallons of water per year
- Improves working conditions through HVAC, lighting, and building controls upgrades
- Reduces maintenance costs to the University
Phase 1 on Evanston and Chicago Campuses
Evanston, IL Campus Map
Chicago, IL Campus Map
Northwestern University Campus
Deering Library Exterior
A Modern Wing of Deering Library
Deering Library Study Area
Deering Library Stacks
Deering Library Recption
Desks and Stacks in Deering Library
NU Sustainability Fellows
The Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) and sustainNU will oversee the new fellowship program, which will create new opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in energy management and sustainability, furthering the University’s mission to support hands-on experiential learning and enabling students to engage with the physical environment and grow as leaders in sustainability. The sustainability fellowship program helps prepare Northwestern Universities students for meaningful careers in the fields of energy management, renewable energy and sustainability. As part of this energy as a service project, Ameresco will be providing quarterly funding for the NU Sustainability Fellows program. Learn more at https://www.northwestern.edu/sustainability/curriculum-research/index.html.