UMN Twin Cities Campus Reaches 51% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
51% Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction University of Minnesota

The events of the past year have shown the risks of climate change to our planet, which will only continue unless sweeping change is made. Heat waves, floods, wildfires, and drought have plagued communities across Minnesota, the U.S., and the world. It’s more important than ever to take aggressive action to reduce emissions and make our communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change. The University is leading the way through our operations, research, teaching, and work with communities across the state and the world, and we have committed to actions big and small across campus in an effort to build a fully sustainable future

The University is leading by example by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions, and we are happy to announce that as of 2020, the Twin Cities campus has reached a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2008. This achievement comes one year ahead of the date for this milestone established in the campus’ 2011 climate action plan. Achieving this goal early would not have been possible without the hard work of staff across the University. "Staff in a variety of departments across the University made reaching this milestone a possibility with their commitment and consistent work to make the University more sustainable," says Bill Paulus, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management. "From Planning, Space, and Real Estate's campus planning efforts to Capital Project Management's B3 implementation to Energy Management's energy conservation program and every individual doing their part, the commitment to the University's path to carbon neutrality is evident across the board."

We’re not stopping here! There’s still plenty of work to be done in order to reduce emissions to zero. To achieve this goal, later this year a Sustainability Committee on the Twin Cities campus will begin developing a new, updated Climate Action Plan for cutting the campus’ remaining emissions. Sign up to stay informed on this process.

Read more in the Star Tribune

In addition to making high-level system changes in our operations, everyone on campus has a role in reducing our emissions here at the U and at home. Here are our top tips to help reduce the University’s footprint!

  • How do you commute to and from the University? Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota and a significant source for the University. Switch it up and try bicycling or riding public transportation to reduce our collective footprint from commuting.
  • Where does your energy come from? Contact your electric utility company to find out about renewable energy options available to you that can help power your home in a more sustainable way. 
  • If you are able, choose sustainably sourced foods to support local food providers and reduce harm to the environment from fertilizers and chemicals. Eating a plant-forward diet can contribute to lower risk for disease and promote better health and longer lifespans. Resources:
  • Be sure to vote and reach out to local public officials to share your thoughts and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and the climate emergency.

Read about the Advancing Climate Solutions. Now. The Swain Climate Policy Series and find out how to get involved.

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CAP Town Hall Sustainability Committee 2022

Join the Twin Cities Sustainability Committee (TCSC)! The committee was launched in the fall of 2021 with a charge of guiding the MPact 2025 goal to “Build a fully sustainable future” as stated in the Systemwide Strategic Plan. Moving forward, the committee’s work will encompass the entire span of campus sustainability activity and mission, inclusive of operations, teaching, research, and outreach. This committee is open to staff, faculty, undergraduate & graduate students.

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities has won the 2023 GameDay Football Zero Waste Touchdown Challenge in the Food Organics Per Capita category! 

This achievement underscores our commitment to waste reduction, putting sustainability at the forefront of our athletic spaces.

Building a Fully Sustainable Future 2023-2024 with a backdrop of fall colors and plants

The 2023-2024 Systemwide Sustainability Report for the University of Minnesota Board of Regents is now available!

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is aiming to make public buildings like hospitals and schools more resilient against future disasters by paying to install solar panels when they are rebuilt. Read more

Resilience and Adaptation Open House promo banner

Join us for the Climate Resilience & Adaptation Open House! 
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024, 3-5pm
1425 University Ave, room 175
Your opinion matters! Join the Office of Sustainability on Wednesday, February 21st from 3pm to 5pm at 1425 University Ave to review and provide insights on the Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan objectives and strategies. We want to hear what you think - tell us what we missed or what resonates with you. Open house format - come and go as you please. Light refreshments provided.


Fall 2023 Sustainability Advocates from SUST3480 conducted a recent Campus Engagement Project at the University of Minnesota aimed to improve the satisfaction and sustainability of the campus transportation system (Gopher Trip). They distributed a Sustainable Transportation Survey, gathering responses from 57 students to assess current challenges and future possibilities.

Do you have input regarding the University of Minnesota Twin Cities' Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program? Submit your feedback using this public comment form, open year-round. Learn more about the U of M stormwater program.

Research results recently published in Nature show that global forest lands could store enough carbon to soak up one-third of annual fossil fuel emissions for decades to come. But only after significant conservation, restoration, and sustainable management practices are implemented. 

Read more

Facilities Management’s Landcare team is the primary snow removal service provider for the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus, responsible for clearing nearly 100 miles of streets and walkways, and over 100 acres of parking surfaces. Learn more:

We're hiring a systemwide student communications assistant! Learn more or Apply now!