Turpin Building Solar Array with Huntsman Center in the background
The University Services Building has a small solar array that partially covers the electrical demand for the building.

Climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions poses the greatest threat to humankind of our time.  In response, the University of Utah signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008 and has completed a greenhouse gas inventory for campus every year since 2007.  In addition, the Office of Sustainability led a campus-wide effort to create a Climate Action Plan (pdf) in 2010 to map the path to a carbon neutral campus.

LEED-Silver and 40% better than code energy performance on all new buildings on campus, continued efficiency improvement in existing buildings, signing on as an inaugural partner in the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge and cutting edge energy research are just a few of the ways the campus is addressing the challenge of achieving carbon neutrality.

Energy Management is installing energy metering on all buildings on campus to understand how and where energy is being used.  The natural gas fired co-generation plant on campus supplies main campus with heating and hot water as well as approximately 15% of the electrical demand.

Energy and Environmental Stewardship Initiative: 2010 Climate Action Plan

Park <p>Building with Spring Blooms

On Earth Day 2008, President Michael Young signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and joined the ranks of more than 650 leading academic institutions committed to developing an institutional plan to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and expand the University's research and educational efforts related to sustainability. The Office of Sustainability sought students, faculty, staff and alumni from departments across campus to collaborate on this initiative. Participants were divided into six main task teams, with the President's Sustainability Advisory Board serving as the steering committee. The main topic areas considered were:
  • Education and Research
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation
  • Renewable Energy and Offsets
  • Transportation
  • Water, Waste, Purchasing,Grounds and Food
  • Communication

View the entire Energy and Environmental Stewardship Initiative: 2010 Climate Action Plan (pdf)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

University of Utah GHG progress
The University of Utah's Office of Sustainability has been measuring GHG emissions for campus since 2007. At this point, we look to be on track to meet our neutrality goal by 2050.


The Office of Sustainability prepares an annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory as per our signing of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008. Check out progress annually at the ACUPCC website. The accompanying graph shows how electricity and natural gas are the main contributors to our carbon footprint.

Last Updated: 3/26/14