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EPA recognizes Northwestern as a leader in sustainability for a second consecutive year

Energy Star Award

For the second year in a row, Northwestern University has earned the ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year — Sustained Excellence Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). 

The Sustained Excellence award is the highest honor bestowed by the ENERGY STAR program. The designation honors organizations making long-term commitments to climate action and energy efficiency. In 2020, Northwestern became the first university to receive the Sustained Excellence Award.

“The Sustained Excellence Award is a tribute to our continued energy management strategy and campus engagement efforts, which have driven significant improvements in energy efficiency in recent years,” said Craig Johnson, Northwestern’s Senior Vice President for Business and Finance. “It is an honor to be recognized by the EPA for Northwestern’s leadership and commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.” 

Northwestern’s notable sustainability accomplishments include:

  • 25% reduction in energy use intensity in buildings since 2010
  • LEED certification for 22 buildings across our Evanston and Chicago campuses
  • 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2012
  • 15‐year commitment to supporting the development and construction of 16 community solar projects across seven Illinois counties, bringing clean energy and green jobs to the state

“ENERGY STAR award-winning partners are showing the world that delivering real climate solutions makes good business sense and promotes job growth,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Many of them have been doing it for years, inspiring all of us who are committed to tackling the climate crisis and leading the way to a clean energy economy.”

Winners are selected from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. For a complete list of 2021 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit

Northwestern’s sustainability initiatives are led by sustainNU, a University-wide program that aims to engage students, faculty and staff in reducing, and eventually eliminating, Northwestern’s contribution to climate change, leading the way toward a greener, healthier and more sustainable future.

Northwestern recently received the second highest rating for collegiate sustainability from the Association for the Advancement for Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). More information about Northwestern’s Strategic Sustainability Plan is available on the sustainNU website.


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® — rely on their partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deliver cost-saving energy efficiency solutions. Since 1992, ENERGY STAR and its partners helped American families and businesses avoid more than $450 billion in energy costs and achieve 4 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas reductions.

For Journalists: view the news release for media contacts