Sustainability Strategy Progress

                             Progress as of January, 2021

 

Energy & Emissions

Goal Progress to Date
By 2050, the University will be a carbon-neutral campus. In progress, expected to be completed before 2050 deadline. The University discontinued the use of coal in the power plant in October 2019, a year earlier than planned. This was a milestone in our journey to meet our carbon emissions reductions goal. Looking ahead, the University’s Utilities Long-Range Plan is to continue to diversify its energy portfolio by exploring renewable and recoverable energy sources on our path to become carbon neutral.
By 2030, reduce our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 65% per gross square foot from 2005 levels. Achieved a 50% reduction in carbon emissions per gross square foot based on 2005 levels as of 2021.
By 2020, the University seeks to provide at least 10% of its energy supply through renewable and recoverable energy When the University completes the development of the hydroelectric dam on the St. Joseph River, it is estimated to produce 7% of campus’ current electric usage and offset nearly 10,000 tons of CO2 annually. The University is purchasing 40% of the output of the 20MW solar farm from Indiana Michigan Power. This partnership will provide the equivalent of over 8% of the University's electricity needs annually.
Increase overall energy efficiency of campus operations and reduce the University’s energy demand. Since 2008, the University has implemented numerous energy conservation measures including installing energy-efficient lighting, establishing temperature set points, tightening building operating schedules, optimizing lighting and HVAC controls, using low-flow water devices, installing a computer-based irrigation system, applying energy analytics, applying variable-frequency drives on pumps and fans, installing the state’s largest green roof system and pursuing a minimum of LEED silver certification standards for all new construction. When aggregated, the energy conservation measures not only contribute to a reduction of carbon emissions, but also generate an annual savings of more than $2 million.
By 2022, track and report on two sources of Scope 3 emissions. The University has begun collecting data sources to complete a Scope 3 emissions inventory of two sources.
By 2022, develop dashboard to provide the Notre Dame community with current energy and emissions data and with reports on progress toward goals. In progress, expected to be shared in mid 2022.

Water

Goal Progress to Date
With our current water use data, make meaningful/accurate comparisons to peers and aspirational peers. The University has conducted benchmarking of peer groups and gained access to water data to begin evaluating our consumption.
By the end of 2021, determine appropriate water use metrics and set goals. 50 water meters were installed on 25 building types to begin determining water consumption specific to building type. Analysis of initial 12-months of data to be completed by end of 2021 with goal setting to follow.
Utilize water metrics and usage data to identify specific sustainability interventions. Metrics now being collected, specific interventions to be identified by end of 2021.
Provide greater transparency in water use and goals using a common platform shared by all sustainability small working groups. The Water Small Working Group is working closely with the Energy & Emissions Small Working Group to identify a dashboard model to highlight conservation metrics.
Continue wellhead protection and storm water quality management efforts and identify signage highlighting. The University continues to ensure wellhead protection and the water supply meets all water quality regulations.
Continue investigating feasibility of water reuse for new construction. Water reuse is evaluated for all new construction projects as part of the LEED design process.
Explore creative storm water solutions and encourage incorporation into design standards. Solutions have been explored and implemented on various construction projects. No clear design standard has been identified.
On an annual basis, identify projects that highlight campus water usage and quality. Nine sustainability signs were installed in fall 2019 highlighting various water-related sustainability initiatives. Goal was paused during the 2020-2021 year due to COVID challenges.

Building & Construction

Goal Progress to Date
Ensure that newly designed and constructed space meets sustainable design standards to consistently yield efficient and sustainable facilities over the years. The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the University 14 LEED Gold certifications and 8 LEED Silver certifications with three buildings pending certification. All new construction is designed, at minimum, to meet LEED Silver criteria.
Continue to ensure existing space is fully and efficiently used before planning new development. Space utilization is considered in planning for all major renovations and new construction projects.
Ensure that all renovations and space upgrades increase overall energy and water efficiency of campus operations and reduce the University's energy and water demand. The Utilities department actively measures and monitors campus electricity consumption which has decreased by over 20% in the last decade.
Explore additional sustainable construction rating systems (e.g., EnergyStar, GreenGlobes, Bream) for potential application. Not yet started.

Waste

Goal Progress to Date
Decrease food waste from food service and other facilities across campus. In 2019, the University converted 214 tons of nonconsumable food waste into energy utilizing the Grind2Energy system, with the annual volume expected at 400 tons. The University also partners closely with Cultivate and Food Rescue US to donate consumable food wherever possible. While volume decreased in the 2020-2021 academic year due to COVID restrictions on events, the volume is expected to return to anticipated levels during the 2021-2022 year.
Increase landfill diversion to reach the University 2030 goal of 67% or higher. The University has not yet met this goal but is working to identify strategies to improve recycling and reduce waste.
Decrease use of single-use plastics on campus. The University is in the process of identifying purchasing preferences to reduce single-use plastics. OZZI reusable containers were implemented in three campus dining retail locations, in 2019. Each OZZI container replaces approximately 300 single-use containers.
Increase accountability and responsibility of all campus divisions for measurable decreased waste sourcing and production. Not yet started.
Achieve zero-waste (defined as 90% or higher landfill diversion) for large campus athletic/other events by fall 2022. In progress.

Procurement, Licensing & Food Sourcing

Goal Progress to Date
Continue to require sustainability clause in all requests for proposal. All requests for proposals contain a sustainability clause.
Continue increasing and encouraging the purchase of sustainable products through identification of sustainable product offerings in catalogs and purchasing. Procurement has begun highlighting sustainable product offerings in its Office Depot and Grainger catalogs available on BuyND.
On an annual basis, implement a sustainable procurement award to encourage sustainable program and product offerings. The inaugural sustainable procurement partner award was honored at the University's Supplier Expo in October 2019 and continued with two honorees in fall 2020. The third annual award will be presented on Dec. 9, 2021.
Continue offering a minimum of 25% plant-based protein meal offerings. The University provides at least 25% plant-based meal offerings in the dining halls.
Gather data to measure purchasing from major vendors to track sustainable purchase rate. In progress; expect initial analysis by end of 2022.
Establish purchasing preference initiatives. The University is pursuing purchasing preferences and policies around EnergyStar appliances and single-use plastics as well as other commodities.
Explore the upstream impacts of sustainable food offerings. Targeted for 2022.

Education, Research & Community Outreach

Goal Progress to Date
Convene a faculty and administrative committee to identify best practices to expand and create additional sustainability-related courses, learning outcomes, and research and learning projects. Not yet started.
Accurately track and report sustainability-related courses available at the University to allow students the greatest opportunity to enhance their sustainability learning experience. The Office of Sustainability tracks sustainability-related courses on an annual basis which is reported in our annual report.
Actively promote, support, track and communicate sustainability-related research conducted by University faculty and students. In progress, working to improve our tracking methods.
Report annually on sustainability-related courses, projects, and research to promote greater understanding and accountability of the University's role in sustainable research and education. Refer to 2019 Annual Report. Note: 2020 Annual Report was not published due to the staffing and other challenges presented by the 2020-2021 year of COVID-related changes and challenges.
Increase community outreach and engagement to develop and support sustainability initiatives at every level of the University community. The University partners closely with the community on a variety of research and educational initiatives, including co-chairing the South Bend Green Ribbon Commission. The Director of Sustainability for the City of South Bend sits on our small working group. The Center for Civic Innovation identifies projects and applied learning within our local community.