The University of Chicago is proud to announce that it has received the 2022 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year (ESPOY) Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Each year, the ENERGY STAR program honors organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy achievements. ENERGY STAR Award Winners lead their industries in the production, sale, and adoption of energy-efficient products, services, and strategies. These efforts are essential to fighting the climate crisis and protecting public health.
Winners are selected from a network of thousands of ENERGY STAR partners. For a complete list of 2022 winners and more information about ENERGY STAR’s awards program, visit energystar.gov/awardwinners. To learn more about what it means to become an ENERGY STAR Partner, check out this video.
The 2021 Partner of the Year award created positive momentum for the energy program by raising awareness of accomplishments, improving collaboration between departments, and supporting the creation of a University-wide, cross-functional team to update the greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan. UChicago follows the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management and relies on Portfolio Manager to track usage, identify improvement opportunities, and validate successes.
Highlights from the last year include:
- Implemented preventative maintenance and commissioning projects in 2.75 million square feet across 14 buildings. This effort is projected to save 51,000 MMBtu and reduce GHG emissions by 4,600 MT eCO2.
- Held a Battle of the Buildings competition between the campus residence halls using ENERGY STAR resources, tools, and communication materials.
- Developed a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan, with a focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy that details steps necessary to achieve the campus 50% absolute GHG emissions reduction goal by 2030.
- Strengthened internal communications through a partnership with the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation Environment Frontiers to host nine student research assistants that provided valuable support to the energy and sustainability programs.
- Expanded external communications and peer outreach by sharing ENERGY STAR energy management best practices and participating in national programs such as the webinar on the Higher Education Benchmarking Initiative (HEBI) program.
- Developed a new quarterly energy newsletter, in addition to the existing energy web page and social media accounts, to increase communications to students and the campus community that promote ENERGY STAR and share energy program information, energy efficiency success stories, and campus utility data via energy dashboards.
The University strives to be at the forefront in all areas it pursues, such as academics, research, engagement, and the built environment, including energy management. This commitment is accomplished through a data-driven approach that assesses and reduces building energy consumption. UChicago uses ENERGY STAR tools and guidelines to improve energy program operations and relies on ENERGY STAR communication resources to share energy best practices and University achievements with the campus and local community. Campus energy and greenhouse gas emissions are tracked and transparently reported, and energy efficiency initiatives target opportunities in existing buildings and new construction. Following the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management, energy management is embedded at all levels of the organization.
Why partner with ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR® is the internationally recognized standard for the independent monitoring of energy performance.The University’s partnership with ENERGY STAR supports the existing efforts to reduce utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions with the following benefits.
- Measure, track, and benchmark institutional energy performance using ENERGY STAR tools and resources
- Support developing and implementing a plan to improve institutional energy performance via the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management
- Enhanced benchmarking of the University’s energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions data against other institutions in the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
- Provide additional tools to track annual progress against energy efficiency goals
- Apply for ENERGY STAR certification for eligible buildings highlighting the University’s achievement in energy efficiency
- Engage students and the campus community by using ENERGY STAR tools such as activity kits and educational programs
- Encourage the purchase of energy efficient appliances such as ultra-low temperature freezers using ENERGY STAR certified products and specifications
- Use ENERGY STAR promotional and communications materials