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office of sustainability


orthwestern University is committed to leadership in addressing the global opportunities and challenges related to sustainability and climate change. We’re taking the initiative to develop curriculum and support research in the critical areas of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), energy, water, and natural resource conservation as well as innovative approaches to reducing our own environmental footprint.


NU is already a trailblazer among our peers in our commitment to alternative energy and energy conservation, offsetting 38 percent of our energy use with wind energy which has the impact of removing

over 100,000 tons of C02 from the atmosphere, equivalent to 20,000 cars from the road for a year. We’re also investing in energy efficiency with over $40 million for conservation projects over the next couple years; no university is committing more. And NU is commited to creating a greener campus with all of our major projects achieving LEED certification and an ongoing focus on opportunities to improve our built environment, infrastructure and natural ecology. There are exciting opportunities to engage in the classroom and in

the laboratory as well; the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) serves as a catalyst, supporting new curriculum and pioneering research around the world’s most critical issues. But making a meaningful and lasting impact starts with you. The choices that you make while you’re here at Northwestern; from riding a bike to class/meetings, turning off the lights when leaving a room, or choosing more sustainable foods may seem small, but together, our positive impact can be staggering. All it takes is for each of us to take responsibility for a few choices and to commit to sustainNU!



water • Report leaks - A leaking faucet can waste as much as 1,500 gallons of water per year, report it to School Dude, FM, or your landlord ASAP! • Turn it off - You can save up to 8 gallons of water each day by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and shave.

• Do full loads - You use 25-40 gallons of water per load of laundry whether it’s a full load or not - full loads means less loads and that saves water and energy. • Fill the sink - Filling the sink uses 3 times less water than washing dishes with running water.

Northwestern uses 423 million gallons of water every year. That’s enough to fill nearly 641 Olympic sized swimming pools! Access to clean, fresh water is one of the biggest environmental challenges facing the planet and we recognize our need to be a part of the solution by committing to reduce our water use across campus. We’ve installed low-flow fixtures in almost all of our residence halls and all new construction, renovation, and landscaping projects consider storm water management and water conservation practices. But the biggest opportunity to save water starts with the simple choices that you make every day!

• Mellow out - Flushing the toilet unnecessarily is an easy way to waste water, every flush uses 1.6 gallons. • Take shorter showers - For every minute in the shower, 3-7 gallons of water are used. By going from a 10 minute shower to a 5 minute one, you’ll conserve as much as 35 gallons of

fresh water! • Don’t Dump - Storm drains/street drains run into our waterways. Dumping anything into these drains can pollute our lakes, rivers, and streams! 5


energy • Use the sun - Use natural light whenever possible and turn off the lights when you leave the room. • Think small - Use task lighting instead of overhead lights to illuminate the area you need and not the whole room.

• Use a strip - Turn off electronic devices when not in use and keep them plugged into a power strip to reduce vampire energy draw. • Be a power saver - Update your laptop’s power management settings.

Northwestern consumes almost 250 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually which results in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to more than 60,000 passenger vehicles each year. NU is investing millions in energy conservation projects and minimizing the impact of the energy that we buy. NU is the Big Ten’s Green Energy Champion offseting 96 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of its annual energy use with Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). We’ve installed a 16.8-kilowatt Solar Panel System on campus which generates about 20,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. But energy conservation starts where you live, work, and study, so know what you can do to help!

• Be compact - Use CFL or LED bulbs, on average they use 75 percent less energy than incandescents and last up to 6 times longer. • Keep cold - Washing clothes in cold water conserves energy and detergents are just as effective in cold or warm water.

• Keep it tight - Keep your windows closed during the winter months when the heat is on and report drafts and leaks to School Dude, FM, or your landlord. 7


locally • Right-size me - Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomach, but try to take only what you will eat! Our dining areas are buffet style, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack your plate, you can go back for more.

• Go meatless - Raising and transporting animals results in significant GHG emissions and environmental impact, try going meatless at least once a week.

Our food service partners have joined us in our commitment to sustainability and reducing our environmental impact. NU offers local and organic foods and vegetarian and vegan options in the dining halls and through catering. NU Dining is reducing waste through trayless dining and by composting all food waste from the kitchen to the tray line. We’ve made it easy to be green when you eat but ultimately the choice to lower your impact and eat healthy, sustainable foods is up to you! • Go to the source - Meet your local farmers at Evanston’s year round Farmers Markets! • Eat green - The Green Restaurant Association developed a rating system and the Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition compiled a list of the green-certified Chicagoland restaurants. • Shop green - There are Whole Foods Markets throughout the Chicagoland area that sell local and organic food in addition to several small grocers.

• Eat local Uncommon Ground has the first certified organic rooftop farm in the country and has won several sustainability awards. Blind Faith Cafe is a certified green 100 percent vegetarian restaurant. Edzo’s offers the option of sustainably raised beef and other products from local farms. Al’s Deli sources bread from Red Hen Bread, a local bakery. 9


waste • Reuse it, again - Use reusable water bottles, shopping bags, mugs, utensils, and plates whenever possible. • Shop less - Don’t buy what you don’t need and share or swap with others. • Don’t wrap - Avoid products with a lot of packaging and pass if you don’t need a bag for your items.

• Don’t print - View course materials online and use Dropbox or Google drive to share documents and save paper. • Print smart - If you must print, you will use less paper and less ink if you print double-sided and in black and white. • Junk it - Stop receiving junk mail by going to Catalog Choice or PaperKarma.

NU recycles more than 1,800 tons of the 5,300 tons of waste generated annually, representing a 34 percent diversion rate. Recycling not only reduces waste and conserves landfill space, but also contributes to reduced greenhouse gas emissions through reduced energy use and reduced methane generation. Recycling is important and easy to do on campus, but reducing waste and reusing are also critical. The annual “Take it or Leave it” program offered during move-out each year, is an opportunity for students to donate your clothes and non-perishable food items to charity.

• Eliminate e-waste - Dispose of electronics (e-waste) properly with Northwestern’s electronic recycling program. • Pass it on - Consider donating your computer to a program like Computers for Schools. Or visit the EPA’s eCycling website for donation tips and information.

• Give it back - Consider donating your cell phone to: • Chicago Recycling Coalition • Your cellular carrier • Apple recycles all its products, just drop it off in one of their many retail locations! 11

travel sustainably • Walk it- Nothing is cleaner, greener, or healthier than being a pedestrian. • Bike it - NU is committed to making our campus bike friendly, with over 6,000 bike rack spots in Evanston alone. Some halls offer bike storage for students, which ensures you can keep your bike safe during the winter.

• Be public - Take public transit. Evanston and Chicago are served by the CTA “L,” the Metra, and the Pace Bus. • Ride the shuttle - The Campus Shuttles are free to students, faculty, and staff with a valid WildCARD. The Evanston and Campus Loop Shuttles provide are a safe way to get around the campuses

Taking alternative transportation reduces the use of fossil fuels which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, decreases dependence on foreign oil and saves money for everyone! You’re in luck too; Northwestern University, Evanston, and Chicago offer a variety of lower impact options including the CTA, Metra, Intercampus shuttles, and car-sharing programs from Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare. Here’s a few simple things you can do to lower your environmental impact and to make the air on our campus and in the community cleaner.

during evening and early morning hours. The Intercampus Shuttle provides service between the Evanston and Chicago campuses. The Shop-N-Ride Shuttle visits shopping areas near Evanston on select Sundays. • Share rides - If you need to drive, consider a car-sharing program. Check out Enterprise CarShare and Zipcar, which offer special

programs and discounts to Northwestern students, faculty, and staff!



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• Choose to reuse - When you’re shopping, select reusable items like washcloths over disposable items such as paper towels. • Be a digital-worm - Buy digital or used books. The Norris Bookstore offers students the option to purchase their school books in

used print and digital forms. • Be hip and thrift - Consider secondhand items. There are plenty of resale shops nearby: Classy Closet, Women’s American Ort Resale Shop, and Crossroads Trading Co. to name a few!

Northwestern strives to take environmental impact into consideration when making purchases and selecting vendors.  Electronic items purchased for campus use are Energy Star-rated and we support the EPEAT standard for laptops and tablets. Environmentally friendly cleaning supplies are used in our facilities, and returnable containers are specified for office supply deliveries.  But we can only do so much, the collective purchasing power of students is huge and there are many ways you can ‘green’ your own consumption.

• Fix-it - Try to repair items before throwing them away and buying a replacement. • Be a star - Purchase electronics (laptops, fridges, etc) that are Energy Star-rated. • Ban the bottle - Buy a Brita or PUR water filter to avoid using bottled water.

• Ditch the toxics - Buy less toxic cleaning and personal care products. Read the ingredients and look for natural or organic over chemical ingredients. Avoid products with chlorine bleach and detergents with phosphates. 15

focus environmentally 16

Northwestern offers exciting opportunities to engage in the classroom and in research. Many of our schools offer classes addressing sustainability from our Introduction to Sustainability to our groundbreaking NUvention: Energy Course which gives students a chance to explore entrepreneurship and innovation with guidance from thought leaders in industry and academia. The Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN) offers an Undergraduate Certificate in Energy and Sustainability, which allows students to choose from dozens of course options spanning from natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and special interest disciplines, including study abroad. Some of our exciting sustainability related courses include: • ISEN 210 Introduction to Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities with Eric Massanet • ISEN 230 Climate Change and Sustainability: Political and Ethical Dimensions with Lynne Kiesling, Brad Sageman, Seth Mayer • EARTH 102-6 Freshman Seminar: The Future of Renewable Energy with Steven Jacobsen • ECON 270 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics with Mark Witte For more information about our sustainability focused coursework check out ISEN’s list of Green Courses! 17

join us! 18

Northwestern offers a number of ways for you to get involved in addressing environmental and social topics, from student groups to opportunities in the Evanston and Chicago communities with city government, local and national not-for-profits, and leading organizations in key sectors such as energy, green building, and transportation. Some of our NU environmental groups include: • Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) • Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED) • Associated Student Government (ASG) Sustainability Committee • Group Residence for Environmental Engagement at Northwestern (GREEN House) • Northwestern Energy and Sustainability Consortium (NESC) • Wild Roots Community Garden • NU Sustainable Food Talks (open to all NU community members) Learn more about these student groups Opportunities to volunteer: • NU volunteer opportunities for students • Evanston volunteer opportunities • Chicago volunteer opportunities Or make the ultimate commitment and become a student Eco-Rep or sign up your department for Green Office Certification!



Community Sustainability In 2007, the Evanston Office of Sustainability was created shortly after the city's Strategic Plan identified environmental sustainability as one of three guiding values for Evanston. The Evanston Office of Sustainability works with City departments, residents, businesses, regional, state and national partners to develop policies and implement initiatives that strengthen the environmental and economic sustainability of Evanston. The office focuses on: • Renewable Energy • Energy Efficiency • Transportation • Food Cycle • Water Conservation • Land Use and Development • Waste Reduction and Recycling


Tools and Resources

There are many resources available for those looking to find more information and to get involved and we encourage you to explore and share them! -----------


sustainNU Website - Visit the go-to resource on all things sustainable Green Pledge - Take it and make a commitment to sustainNU Green Room Certification - Certify your room green Green Office Certification - Green your workplace sustainNU Calendar - Find sustainability-related events Annual Events - Check out annual sustainabiltiy events on campus sustainNU Facebook page - Read about sustainability news, events, and career opportunities sustainNU twitter - Read fun tweets and sustainability facts ISEN - Check out green courses, news, and funding opportunities Eco-Reps - Become a green champion in your residence


We would like to thank these organization s for their information provided in this guide. -------

The City of Evanston Institite for Sustainability & Energy at Northwestern (ISEN) Northwestern Facilities Management Northwestern Parking & Transportation Northwestern University Services Northwestern Dining


sustain Office of Sustainability *Please consider the environment before printing this document!

SustainNU green living guide