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Northwestern recognized as a national leader in energy efficiency and sustainability

University to receive EPA’s highest honor recognizing institutions and businesses committed to excellence in energy efficiency
Energy star award

Northwestern University has received the prestigious U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year - Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership in energy efficiency and energy conservation solutions.

Northwestern is the first University to receive the Sustained Excellence Award, the highest honor from ENERGY STAR. The University also was the first to be consecutively awarded ENERGY STAR’s Partner of the Year Award in 2018 and 2019.

“Protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while improving energy efficiency is a top priority for Northwestern,” said Craig Johnson, Northwestern’s senior vice president for business and finance. “We are honored to earn this recognition from ENERGY STAR. The award is a testament to the hard work of our staff and campus partners and validates our successful energy efficiency investments and initiatives.”

In addition to the recent award recognition, Northwestern’s notable sustainability accomplishments include:

  • Reducing energy usage per square foot by 18% since 2010;
  • Establishing three solar installations – Ford Engineering Design Center (17 kW), Kresge Hall (81kW) and Ryan Field House (122kW);
  • Attaining LEED certification for 19 buildings, including Platinum-level status for Kresge Hall and Kellogg Global Hub;
  • Achieving a 12% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2012.

Northwestern also has several strategic initiatives now underway, designed to combat climate change, including:

  • Establishing a long-term strategic partnership with an external energy service provider focused on energy management, energy efficiency and energy procurement;
  • Investigating alternative renewable power purchasing strategies, including off-site solar energy;
  • Implementing an energy management information system;
  • Establishing a retro-commissioning and ongoing commissioning program.

Northwestern also has leveraged ENERGY STAR’s communication and outreach tools to educate the University community and area residents about how they can save energy and reduce costs in their daily activities.

“I salute the 2020 ENERGY STAR award winners,” said Anne Idsal, EPA principal deputy assistant administrator for air and radiation. “These leaders demonstrate how energy efficiency drives economic competitiveness in tandem with environmental protection.” 

For a complete list of 2020 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit


ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions. Thousands of industrial, commercial, utility, state and local organizations — including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies — rely on their partnership with EPA to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its thousands of partners helped American families and businesses save more than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity and achieve over 3.5 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions. In 2018 alone, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped Americans avoid nearly $35 billion in energy costs. More background information about ENERGY STAR can be found at: and

For Journalists: view the news release for media contacts