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Report Card 2010

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University of Chicago

Campus Survey

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With the publication of the College Sustainability Report Card 2010, more than 1,100 school survey responses from over 300 institutions are now available online. In total, these surveys offer more than 10,000 pages of data collected from colleges and universities during the summer of 2009 . To access surveys from other schools, go to the  surveys section  of the website. To see grades, or to access additional surveys submitted by this school, please click the "Back to Report Card" link at the beginning or end of the survey.


  Name: University of Chicago

Title: Sustainability Report Card

Date survey submitted:



1) Does your school have its own formal sustainability policy? [ x] No. 


2) Has the president of your institution signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)? [ x] No  


3) Has your institution signed the Talloires Declaration? [  x] No


4) Is there a sustainability component in your institution's master plan and/or strategic plan (check all that apply)? [x ]  The University is incorporating sustainability principles into the campus design guidelines.



5) Does your school have a council or committee that advises on and/or implements policies and programs related to sustainability? [ x ]  Yes,

The Sustainability Council serves as an advisory board to the Office of Sustainability and brings together students, faculty, and staff to collaborate on sustainable environmental initiatives across the University campus.


6) Please provide the name of the committee and list the number of meetings held since August 2008.

Name: The Sustainability Council  

Number of meetings: 6


7) Please provide number of stakeholder representatives on the committee.

[# 2]  Administrators

[# 7  ]  Faculty

[#  6  ]  Staff  

[#14 ]  Students


8) Please provide the name of the chair(s) of the committee for the 2009-2010 academic year, and indicate which stakeholder group the chair(s) represents.

Name of chair(s): for the 2008-2009 academic year: Chair: Ilsa Flanagan (Director of Sustainability), and Student Co-Chair: Zoe VanGelder (4th year in the college)


9) To whom does the committee report (e.g., president, vice president)? The committee reports to Ilsa Flanagan.


10) Please list key issues/programs that the committee has addressed or implemented since August 2008.

For 2008/09 the Council’s priorities were:

Campus Outreach : Since 2008, the Council has held numerous workshops and speaker series, including hosting Earth Week, for increased visibility and awareness on campus. The University held a service day dedicated to environmental issues, working in the neighboring Washington Park and community Gardens. Members of the Council lead “Greening Your Office” workshops to a wide array of departments on campus from Library Services to the Divinity School.  This upcoming fall, students will have an opportunity to become acquainted with all the sustainable resources on campus through a “Greening your dorm/college life” workshop held during orientation and organized by council members. 

Energy : The Council has made a recommendation on a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency upgrades that the University is considering.  The Council is also conducting a feasibility study on a campus waste-to-energy program.

Green Buildings : The Council also convened a Sustainable Buildings Working Group which has made recommendations for new building design standards, new green building standards, and a LEED requirement for new buildings and major renovations.  

Purchasing : The Greening Your Office workshops make specific recommendations for how to purchase green products on campus.

Urban Agriculture:  Working with the Office of Sustainability, the Council is seeking to develop a network of community gardens and urban farms.  We are currently partnering with one community garden, have created edible landscapes on campus, and are seeking to help facilitate local food production in our community. 



11) Does your school employ sustainability staff (excluding student employees and interns)?

[ x ]  Yes. Please provide titles and number of sustainability staff.

[#  1 ]  Number of full-time staff (in FTE).

Titles: [ Director of Sustainability ]

[# 0 ]  Number of part-time staff (in FTE).


12) Does the head of the sustainability staff report directly to the president or another high-level administrator (e.g., vice president, vice chancellor)? The sustainability director reports to the Associate Vice President for Facilities Services and University Architect. 



13) Does your school have an office or department specifically dedicated to furthering sustainability on campus?

[ x ]  Yes. Please describe. The Office of Sustainability was created in November 2008 and is housed in the Office of Facilities Services.  Under the leadership of its Director, Ilsa Flanagan, the office has established an ambitious work plan to mitigate the University’s footprint, raise the visibility of sustainability issues on campus, set benchmarks and measure outcomes, and advance intellectual debate and analysis on topical environmental issues and engage the local community.



14) Does your school have a website detailing its sustainability initiatives?

[x]  Yes. Please provide URL: http://sustainability.uchicago.edu



15) Does your school have a formal green purchasing policy?

[x ] No However, through “Greening Your Office” Workshops presented by the Council, individual departments are becoming aware of the benefits of buying recycled and environmentally sustainable products. Among other things, council members teach staff how to organize their product search results so that recycled and energy star-products are the most relevant in their search responses.


16) Does your school purchase ENERGY STAR qualified products?

[x ]  Yes. Our major computer suppliers and networking equipment, specifically Dell, Apple, Sun Microsystem computers and Cisco networking equipment and large IBM mainframe servers and large computer disk storage systems are Energy Star.


17) Does your school purchase environmentally preferable paper products (e.g., 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council)?

[ x ] Yes. For example, Housing and Dining services stocks environmentally preferable recycled paper. All bathrooms on campus managed by Facilities Services provide tissue paper with 20 percent postconsumer recycled fiber and paper towels with 40 percent postconsumer recycled fiber. Most paper purchasing is also in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council or American Forest and Paper Associations Sustainable Forestry Initiative.  


18) Does your school purchase Green Seal, Environmental Choice certified, or biorenewable cleaning products?

[x] Yes  


19) Are your school's computer/electronics purchase decisions made in accordance with standards such as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)? We do not make our equipment purchasing decisions based specifically on EPEAT.   However, the leading computer manufacturers of such equipment are doing this as a matter of their corporate policy.  Dell, Cisco, Sun Micro Systems along with various large IBM mainframe servers and computer disk storage systems which represent the majority of our major equipment purchases have EPEAT certification.


20) Does your school use only pesticides that meet the standards for organic crop production set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or Canadian Organic Standards (excluding on-campus farms )?

[No]  We use Integrated Pest Management that includes minimal pesticides, but they are not organic standard.  We are now applying fertilizer that uses a higher percentage of organic and will phase out all synthetics in the not too distant future. Plant life is an important feature at the University, since the campus is a certified botanical garden.  http://botanicgarden.uchicago.edu/index.html  Recently we have put an emphasis on incorporating indigenous species in our landscaping. 





21) Has your school completed a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory?

[x ]  In progress. Please describe status and provide estimated completion date: This summer student researchers are conducting a study on our GHG emissions.  The report should be completed by fall.



The purchase of carbon offsets does not count toward greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions for this indicator. They are counted in a subsequent indicator.

22) Has your school made a commitment to reducing GHG emissions by a specific amount?

[ x]  No/ In Progress


If you answered only "No" or "In progress" to question 21, please now skip to question 27.



23) Has your school achieved a reduction in GHG emissions?

[  ]  No

 [  ]  Yes. Please list details. Percentage reduced: Baseline year: Date achieved:


24) Please provide the total heating and cooling degree days averaged over the past three years. Data on total degree heating and cooling days is available at: http://www.degreedays.net/ . This information will be used to help reduce bias between schools in different climates.

Cooling degree days average over the past three years:

Heating degree days average over the past three years:


25) Please provide GHG emissions figures on a per-thousand-square-foot basis for the past three years. Per-Thousand-Square-Foot Emissions = Total CO2e in metric tons / Total maintained building space in thousands of square feet.





26) Please provide GHG emissions figures on a per-full-time-student basis for the past three years. Per-Student Emissions = Total CO2e in metric tons / Total number of full-time enrolled students.






27) What programs or technologies has your school implemented to improve energy efficiency (e.g., cogeneration plant, retrocommissioning of HVAC systems, performing system tune-ups, temperature setbacks)?   The University uses motion/infrared and/or light sensors to reduce energy usage, has installed more efficient fume hoods, uses timers to regulate temperatures based on occupancy hours, uses LED lighting and has a centralized energy management system to improve campus energy performance. Recently The Law School building has made improvements to their HVAC system. We are also working with an Energy Services Company to conduct an audit of a diverse group of buildings on campus with the intention of making significant efficiency upgrades over the next few years. 



28) Do you facilitate programs that encourage members of the campus community to reduce energy use (e.g., cash incentives, signs reminding individuals to turn off lights and appliances)? [x ]  Yes. We launched a campus-wide campaign in the Spring to encourage: turning off lights, turning off monitors, keeping windows closed and using revolving doors, and printing double-sided.  We expect to expand on this campaign in the fall.  Each year the Green Campus Initiative hosts a “Battle of the Bulbs” competition complete with a trophy and victor’s study break as an incentive. Our dining hall also participates in Recyclemania.



29)  Does your school generate renewable electricity?

[ x]  No

[  ]  Yes. Please specify percentage of overall electricity generated from each of the following sources and describe details below.

[    %]  B100 biodiesel

[    %]  Clean biomass

[    %]  Concentrating solar power (CSP)

[    %]  Geothermal

[    %]  Low-impact hydropower

[    %]  Solar photovoltaics

[    %]  Wind

[    %]  Other




30)  Does your school have solar hot water systems?

[x ]  No

[  ]  Yes. Please specify number of systems and total BTUs generated annually, if available:



31) Has your school purchased electric energy from renewable sources or renewable energy credits (RECs)? RECs and electricity from renewable sources must be Green-e certified or meet the requirements of the Green-e standard

[ x ]  Yes. In 2006 a two year contract was signed to purchase wind energy to power the residence halls. Quantity: 368 MWh/year Percentage of your total electric energy use that it represents: 5% of dormitory consumption


32) Has your school purchased non-electric energy from renewable sources?

[ x ]  No

[  ]  Yes. Please describe. Date of most recent contract: Quantity (BTUs): Percentage of your total non-electric energy use that it represents:



33) Please provide total BTUs of energy for heating and cooling from on-site combustion: 1.8 Million mmBTUS


34) Please list each fuel source (e.g., coal, natural gas, oil) and the percent of overall BTUs derived from that source: Natural gas [100%]


35) Is any on-site combustion for heating and cooling derived from renewable sources?

[x ]  No

[  ]  Yes. Please describe. Percentage on-site combustion derived from renewable sources: [   %] Total BTUs of energy generated from renewable sources:

[#      ] Description of renewable energy sources used for on-site combustion for heating and cooling:



The food portion of this category is covered in a separate dining survey.



36) Please indicate which traditional materials your institution recycles (check all that apply).

[  ]  None

[  x]  Aluminum

[ x ]  Cardboard

[ x ]  Glass

[ x ]  Paper

[ X ]  Plastics (all)

[ x ]  Plastics (#1 and 2)

[  ]  Other. Please list:


37) Diversion rate: [  28 %]



38) Does your institution have an electronics recycling program?

[ x]  Yes. If available, please indicate the total annual weight or volume of each material collected for recycling or reuse.

[  x  ]  Batteries

[  x  ]  Cell phones

[  x  ]  Computers

[  X  ]  Lightbulbs

[   x ]  Printer cartridges

[    ]  Other E-waste. Please list:



39) What percentage of your campus's landscaping waste is composted or mulched?

[ 95 %] We load all of our landscape waste into specific “Yard Waste” dumpsters and it is hauled off property by an independent contractor and composted elsewhere.


40) Do you provide composting receptacles around campus in locations other than dining halls (e.g., in residence halls, offices, academic buildings?

[x]  No, However on a very small scale, students, staff and faculty who attend the Sustainability Council's free vermiculture workshops are given a bin and worms to begin composting in their homes and offices.



41) Do you have any source-reduction initiatives (e.g., end-of-semester furniture or clothing swaps and collections)?

[ x]  The University maintains an online “Marketplace” that facilitates swapping and selling between student and staff.



42) Does your school have a formal green building policy?

[ x ]  No However the Office of Sustainability is currently developing a green building policy.



43) Please indicate LEED-certified buildings. 

[#1]  Total number of LEED-certified buildings

Certified-level (combined gross square footage). Please list building names: Kenwood Building (LEED Gold for Commercial Interiors) [90,000 sq ft]


44) Please indicate buildings that meet LEED certification criteria but are not certified.

[#  0 ]  Total number of buildings that meet LEED criteria

[    sq ft]  Certified-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Silver-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Gold-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:

[    sq ft]  Platinum-level criteria met, but not certified (combined gross square footage). Please list building names:


45) Please indicate buildings that are ENERGY STAR labeled.

[# 0 ]  Total number of ENERGY STAR buildings.



46) Please indicate LEED-EB certified buildings.

[# 0   ]  Total number of LEED-EB certified buildings.


47) Please indicate buildings that meet LEED-EB certification criteria but are not certified.

[# 0 ]


48) Please indicate renovated buildings that are ENERGY STAR labeled:



49) What energy-efficiency technologies have you installed in existing buildings (e.g., HVAC systems, motion sensors, ambient light sensors, T5 lighting, LED lighting, timers, laundry technology)?   

For each technology, please indicate the number and type of fixtures installed, and the number of buildings in which those fixtures are installed. If possible, include either the percentage of the overall campus fixtures each type represents or the percentage of overall maintained building space that has been renovated with the technology (e.g., 20 buildings representing 10 percent of maintained building space have been retrofitted with motion sensors; thus, 10 percent of the total maintained building space in square feet would be the desired data).  


The University is currently in process of developing sustainable building standards which will require new energy efficiency technologies like motion sensors.  We do currently have many of these technologies installed in various buildings on campus.  


50) What water-conservation technologies have you installed in existing buildings (e.g., low-flow faucets, low-flow showerheads, waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, gray water systems, laundry technology)?    For each technology, please indicate the number and type of fixtures installed, and the number of buildings in which those fixtures are installed. If possible, include either the percentage of the overall campus fixtures each type represents or the percentage of overall maintained building space that has been renovated with the technology (e.g., 20 buildings representing 10 percent of the maintained building space have been retrofitted with low-flow faucets; thus, 10 percent of the total maintained building space in square feet would be the desired data).   


The University is currently in process of developing new building standards which will require new energy efficiency technologies like motion sensors.  We do currently have many of these technologies installed in various buildings on campus.  


51) What percentage of your institution's non-hazardous construction and demolition waste is diverted from landfills? [50%] 





52) Are there any sustainability-themed residential communities or housing options at your school?

[ x ]  No


53) Does a portion of your new student orientation specifically cover sustainability?

[ x ]  Yes. Incoming students this year will have the option of attending a “Greening your Dorm/College Life” workshop. The workshop will be an overview of sustainability initiatives on campus and resources available to students and tips on living green while at University. We will highlight local businesses as well, farmer’s markets and CSA’s in the area, and educate them on public transportation. Also, summer mailings to the students are now being sent on Flash drives instead of binders.



54) Does your school offer on-campus office-based sustainability internships or jobs for students?

[ x ]  Yes. Please provide number of students and average number of hours worked weekly per student:

[4  ]  Paid positions. Average hours worked weekly per student: [10]. This summer we have four interns in the sustainability office working full-time.  During the school year, there are two, working approximately 5 -7 hours/week.  


55) Does your school have residence hall Eco-Reps or other similar programs to promote behavioral change on campus?  

[ x ] Yes. During Earth Week 2009 the Office of Sustainability Launched “SAGE- Sustainable Actions for a Greener Environment”. The SAGE leaders (students, faculty and staff) are trained on all the University’s green activities and policies so they can share that knowledge with peers, correct misconceptions, and effect behavioral change.  



56) Does your school have active student-run organizations devoted to sustainability efforts on campus?

[ x ]  Yes. Please provide total number of active organizations, names of organizations, a brief description of each, and URLs, if available:

1)Green Campus Initiative: Encourages the University to green its practices  9-10 members http://gci-uchicago.blogspot.com/

2)CEPA- Chicago Environmental Policy Association: Formed in 2003-04 for the purpose of creating a forum for environmental policy issues at the Harris School of Public Policy and the University of Chicago. The focus of CEPA is to attract speakers, promote the connection between policy analysis and practical application, and enhance the environmental policy concentration at the Harris School by drawing the interests of qualified students and distinguished faculty to the Harris School and the University as a whole. http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/students/current-students/organizations/cepa/events.asp

3) Net Impact: Chicago Booth Net Impact is a network of emerging business leaders focused on inspiring the Booth community to apply their business skills to create positive social impact while creating economic value. http://student.chicagobooth.edu/group/netimpact/

4) Outdoor Adventure Club- Leads biking/climbing/ and hiking trips into surrounding natural preserves throughout the year. Members : 10-12


5) Vegan Society:  The Vegan Society promotes vegan diets and supports vegans at the University of Chicago. It organizes regular study breaks with free food and speakers. Additional activities have included cooking classes, potlucks, and other such social events  Members: 8-12 http://veganuchicago.org/home

6) Velo Club: UCVC is a communal cycling club composed of undergrads, graduate students, alums, professors, and other members of the U of C community Members: 87++ http://ucveloclub.ning.com/

7) Religion and Environment Initiative: The University of Chicago Religion and Environment Initiative (REI) is a community of students, scholars, activists, and others motivated by shared concern over the environmental crisis http://rei.uchicago.edu/about/index.shtml

8) UCEC- University of Chicago Environmental Center- the UCEC is a dedicated space in the student union for Environmental clubs and students interested in the environment. The Center houses a large selection of books on various environmental topics, information about graduate school programs, internships and jobs, as well as magazines, videos, and a wealth of information about different environmental subjects.



57) Does your school organize any sustainability challenges/competitions for your campus and/or with other colleges?

[ x ] Yes.


1)”Battle of the Bulbs”

Year initiated: 2007

Frequency of competition: once a year

Participants: people living in dorms. Individuals living in apartments are incentivized by being entered  into a raffle if they agree to participate.

Incentives: “The Green Cup” and organic/local study break.

Goal of competition: The Battle of the Bulbs is a month-long electricity reduction competition. The dormitory that reduces its electricity usage by the highest percentage at the end of February wins the green cup and an organic food study break. 

Percent of energy/water/waste reduced: winning dorm reduced by 16.7%

Lasting effects of competition: increased awareness and hopefully new, greener habits. Website: http://battleofbulbs.blogspot.com/

Name of competition:


2)Recyclemania: Our dining hall takes charge on this competition measuring our waste and asking people to reduce leftover food amounts. Our dining hall also goes trayless during Reyclemania.





58) How many vehicles are in your institution's fleet? [# 151  ]


59) Please list the number of alternative-fuel vehicles in each class.

[# 0]  Hybrid. Please list makes and models:

[# 0 ]  Electric. Please describe type of vehicles:

[# 0]  Biodiesel. Please describe type of vehicles and list biodiesel blend(s) used:

[# 0 ]  Other. Please describe:


60) What is the average GHG emission rate per passenger mile of your institution's motorized fleet?

[#   N/A  ]  pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per passenger mile traveled.



61) Does your school offer incentives for carpooling?

[ x ]  Yes. The carpool program now has 483 individuals participating with discounted or free parking permits for car-pool vehicles.  The University is also enhancing its partnership with I-Go and Zipcar, adding vehicles to the south campus and offering free membership for the first year. Additionally the University has implemented a “bike-to-work” incentive program providing a reduced gym membership to those who commute on bikes. “Occasional Parker” permits are also available allowing faculty 24 free parking days, as well as supplying “The Guaranteed Ride Home” service, enabling University members who don’t take cars to work, to feel assured they can get home quickly if necessary. 


62) Does your school offer public transportation subsidies?

[ x ]  Yes. Please describe the program including the size of the discount (as a percent of full price) and eligible community members (e.g., faculty, staff, students): Three bus routes operate free of charge for persons holding a valid University of Chicago ID.


63) Does your school provide free transportation around campus?  

[x ]  Yes  University Shuttle services run throughout campus and the University subsidizes three city  bus routes in order to encourage the use of public transportation.


64) Does your school operate a free transportation shuttle to local off-campus destinations?

[ x ] Yes. The university subsidizes a city bus that travels beyond the main campus boundaries.



65) Does your school offer a bicycle-sharing/rental program or bicycle repair services?

[ x]  Yes, to be launched in Fall 2009.  Please provide details below.

Year created: 2009

Number of bikes available:20

Fees for participation: free

Repair services provided: The bikes will be maintained by a local business; Black Stone Bikes: http://www.experimentalstation.org/blackstone



66) Does your school partner with a car-sharing program?

[ x ]  Yes. There are now more than a dozen car share locations on campus. With 190 people signed up for membership.

Number of hybrid vehicles: N/A

Fee for membership: Free the first year



67) Does your school have policies that support a pedestrian-friendly or bike-friendly campus (e.g., in the school's master plan, a policy prohibiting vehicles from the center of campus)?

[ x ]  Although there are no written policies, the University is making many changes to benefit pedestrians on campus.  This summer the Main Quad of campus is becoming a “pedestrian-only” designated zone. We are currently creating a comprehensive bike plan to create a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly campus. 


68) What percentage of individuals commute to campus via environmentally preferable transportation (e.g., walking, bicycling, carpooling, using public transit)? There has not been a study for the entire University, although it estimated around 40% of the faculty and staff use alternative transportation ( bike, walking, public transportation)




69) Campus setting:

[  ]  Rural

[  ]  Suburban

[ x ]  Urban

[  ]  Other. Please describe:


70)  Total number of buildings: [# campus buildings :   257]

71)  Combined gross square footage of all buildings: [#  7,597,887  ]

72)  Full-time enrollment (undergraduate and graduate): [#  11,933]

73)  Part-time enrollment (undergraduate and graduate): [#      2,855  ]

74)  Part-time enrollment as a proportion to a full-time course load: [# n/a     ]

75)  Percent of full-time students that live on campus: [    n/a %]


Questions 76-87 are for informational purposes only; responses will NOT be included in the Report Card evaluation process.




Please mark an "X" next to each item that applies to your institution.


76)  Outdoors club: [x]

77)  Disposable water bottle ban: [  ]

78)  Participation in Recyclemania: [ x ]

79)  Student trustee position: [  ]

80)  Environmental science/studies major: [x]

81)  Environmental science/studies minor or concentration: [x ]

82)  Graduate-level environmental program: [ x]

83)  Student green fee: [  ]

84)  Alumni green fund: [  ]

85)  Revolving loan fund for sustainability projects: [  ]

86)  Campus garden or farm: [x]

87)  Single-stream recycling: [ x ]


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