University of Minnesota Statement on Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 7/9/04

Source File:


Sustainability is a continuous effort integrating environmental, social, and economic goals through design, planning, and operational organization to meet current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability requires the collective actions of the University of Minnesota (University) community and shall be guided by the balanced use of all resources, within budgetary constraints. The University is committed to incorporating sustainability into its teaching, research, and outreach and the operations that support them.


Subd. 1. Leadership. Through excellence in environmental education, research, outreach, and stewardship, the University shall strive to be a world leader by promoting and demonstrating sustainability and energy efficiency and by producing leaders and informed citizens.

Subd. 2. Modeling. The University shall strive to be a model in the application of sustainability principles to guide campus operations by:

(a) meeting and aspiring to exceed all applicable regulatory requirements;
(b) preventing pollution at its source;
(c) reducing emissions to the environment; and
(d) encouraging the use of a life-cycle cost framework.

Subd. 3. Operational Improvements. The University shall undertake a continuous improvement process that seeks to meet the operational performance targets, goals, and objectives designed to achieve sustainability.

Subd. 4. Energy Efficiency. The University shall undertake a process to increase energy efficiency, reduce dependence on non-renewable energy, and encourage the development of energy alternatives through research and innovation.

Subd. 5. Research. The University shall (a) promote innovative, high visibility research projects focused on sustainability and energy efficiency to inform campus operations as a whole as well as the broader community; and (b) promote collaborative projects that include faculty research undertaken in partnership with operations staff, students, public entities, community organizations, and industry.

Subd. 6. Education and Outreach. The University shall promote educational and outreach activities that are linked to operational improvements and innovation principles.


Subd. 1. Administration. The University shall have sustainability goals that inform administrative policies and procedures in the areas of planning, decision-making, execution, assessment, reporting, and alignment. These policies and procedures shall rely on scientific analysis and support the efforts described in subds. 2-4 of this section.

Subd. 2. Operations. Each University campus shall develop specific sustainability objectives and targets in the areas of:

(a) physical planning and development, including buildings and infrastructure;
(b) operations;
(c) transportation;
(d) purchasing; and
(e) waste management and abatement.

Subd. 3. Accountability. The president or delegate shall develop indicators and measures of success in the implementation of the principles outlined in this policy in consultation with appropriate faculty, staff, students, and experts in the broader community.

Subd. 4. Reporting. The president or delegate shall report to the Board annually on progress toward established targets and standards, using this information to identify opportunities for subsequent improvement.