University of Minnesota
Environment & Sustainability Portal
Environment and Sustainability Portal

Sustainable Campus

The University of Minnesota is one of the most sustainable campus systems in the country. From the first large-scale wind turbine ever constructed at a U.S. public university to some of the nation's leading green campus and energy savings initiatives, the U of M is a model for green campuses around the world.



Twin Cities

Twin Cities Sustainability Committee

The Twin Cities Sustainability Committee is responsible for fulfilling the ACUPCC by creating a plan for how the Twin Cities campus will achieve climate neutrality and is charged with completing the AASHE sustainability report.

Capital Planning and Project Management

Capital Planning and Project Management works to provide a systematic method to conceptualize, plan, design, and construct capital improvement projects and campus master planning for all campuses of the University of Minnesota.

Department of Environmental Health and Safety

The Department of Environmental Health and Safety works with the University community to prevent accidents, report unsafe conditions and protect the environment.

Housing & Residential Life Sustainability Committee

University of Minnesota Housing & Residential Life is committed to conserving water and resources as well as promoting recycling and green living in residential communities.

It All Adds Up

The extensive energy efficiency program was designed to reduce and optimize energy use. The initial 5% reduction goal for 2010 was met ahead of target and 10,000 pledges to conserve energy were obtained.  New goals to increase recycling by 5 percent were launched on Beautiful U Day 2010.

Green Office Guide

This student-driven, University supported project helps identify sustainability resources for the University community.  Find out what you can do to green your office.

Printing Services

Active implementation of environmentally-friendly printing practices as well as consultation with University departments regarding responsible communications decisions.

Recycling Programs

The UMN Recycling Program is nationally recognized and a pioneer in institutional recycling. Facilities Management operates a multi-material recycling facility that processes 4,000 tons of recyclable materials annually, representing 40 percent of the University’s municipal waste. Asset Recovery manages UMN’s computer recycling.

ReUse Program

The ReUse Program removes unwanted materials, fixtures and supplies from University buildings and either redistributes the items to departments in need or resells them to the general public. The ReUse Program also recycles unwanted steel, aluminum, wood, cardboard and paper.

Sustainability and U

Sustainability and U provides a snapshot of the leadership, modeling, operational improvements, energy efficiency, research and outreach efforts underway on the Twin Cities campus and beyond.

Parking and Transportation Services – Sustainability Initiative

Embracing the policies of the larger University, Parking and Transportation Services has consistently shown foresight and innovation in developing programs that alleviate traffic congestion, reduce emissions from automobiles and buses, reduce fuel consumption and encourage alternative transportation

University Dining Services

University Dining Services' Environmental Sustainability program includes food donations to community organizations, incorporation of locally grown and organic foods into menus, local restaurant partnerships, recycling, composting, and more.


Crookston Sustainability

Sustainability initiatives and resources are available to the campus community. Crookston Students for Sustainable Development provide leadership to exploring collaborative sustainability initiatives.



UMD Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability and the UMD campus are committed to communicating, educating, and inspiring action to integrate sustainability into all aspects of campus life.

Adding Up to Zero

The Adding Up to Zero blog keeps people in touch with sustainability news and efforts at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Green Efforts – UMD Auxiliary Services

Green Efforts provides updates on sustainability activities from food and vending operations, printing services, housing and residential life and University stores.

Lake Superior Duluth Streams

This web-based project has operated in partnership with local and state agencies and UMD's Facilities Management stormwater program to disseminate information to the general public, teachers and students, businesses, resource managers, and scientists about stormwater issues in relation to the condition of the Lake Superior coastal zone and trout streams.

UMD Rain Garden

The UMD Rain Garden is composed of plantings, a drain tile system and a water level control system. Rain gardens are part of UMD's commitment to protect Lake Superior.



A Green Campus

The campus community has advanced sustainable, environmentally friendly initiatives since the original Earth Day. Since 2000, these efforts have grown to levels of national leadership and touch nearly all aspects of campus life including power, food, water, transportation, waste stream infrastructure, academic study and quality of life.

Biomass Heating & Cooling System

In April 2005, the Minnesota Legislature approved a bonding bill that allocated $6 million to construct a biomass gasification demonstration and research facility at the University of Minnesota, Morris. This plant-scale project provides up to 80 percent of the campus heating and cooling needs. The gasification plant is one step toward UMM's goal of reaching energy self-sufficiency by 2010.

Green Building Initiative

Green and sustainable building technologies can provide a variety of benefits, including improved air and water quality, reduced waste streams, reduced operating costs and enhanced comfort of building occupants.

Local Foods go to College

Seeds for the first local foods initiative on a University of Minnesota campus were sown at UMM in the spring of 2001. UMM is a founding partner in the Pride of the Prairie Local Foods Initiative. Today the program is one of the longest running local food efforts in Minnesota higher education.

Morris Healthy Eating

The Morris campus is a founding member of Pride of the Prairie, which promotes local use of foods grown in west central Minnesota. Campus food service provider Sodexo buys direct from area farmers whenever possible, a pledge that is written into its contract.


The University of Minnesota, Morris began their aggressive recycling program in 1991.

Wind Energy

In March 2005, the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) began operating a 1.65MW wind turbine. This 230-foot turbine provides the adjacent University of Minnesota, Morris with 5.6 million kilowatt hours of power each year; this is more than half of UMM's annual electricity requirement.


Sustainability at UMR

The University of Minnesota Rochester community strongly believes in the importance of gathering information with the intent of informing immediate and long-term practices that contribute to responsible resource utilization and environmental sustainability.

LEED Certified


The University of Minnesota's new Science Teaching and Student Services Building (STSS) has been awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification, incorporating green construction and design techniques to reduce energy use, water consumption and construction waste.  Take the online sustainability tour.

STSS is the second LEED certified building on the Twin Cities campus and the 10th LEED building in the university system.