“As a world leader in climate research and innovation, the UW is committed to doing our part to reach a carbon-neutral future.” -UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

Our goals

The University of Washington aspires to be Fossil Fuel Free for our direct greenhouse gas emissions across our tri-campus operations by 2035. We are also working to mitigate the impact from our indirect emissions, such as air travel, commuting and the goods and services we purchase.

Our interim target

UW’s Sustainability Action Plan establishes an interim target of 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, in line with the state of Washington's requirements. Learn more about the Greenhouse Gas reduction target in our Sustainability Action Plan.

Sustainability Action Plan

night time view of the UW Power Plant with steam rising from the stack

infographic breakdown of UW's greenhouse gas emissionsOur emissions

UW’s most recent Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report shows that University-wide emissions in 2022 totaled 524,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), which is the equivalent to the emissions generated from the annual energy use of about 66,000 residential households. UW’s top four emissions sources are:

  • Goods and services (64%)
  • Fossil fuel combustion (21%)
  • Air travel (6%)
  • Commuting (6%)

We conducted this comprehensive tri-campus GHG emissions inventory in 2023, the UW’s first GHG inventory that examines emissions from goods and services purchased. Read more about where all our emissions come from in the inventory report.



Watch the preview webinar on the 2023 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report and download the slides:

More decarbonization presentations

What we're doing

  • Energy Transformation: The UW Seattle campus has developed an Energy Transformation strategy to transition the power plant away from fossil fuels and decarbonize our energy system, addressing UW’s largest source of direct emissions. 

    The UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses have also begun planning to transition off fossil fuels. Watch the recent UW Decarbonization Town Hall where students, faculty, and staff discuss how we can work together to reach our goals. 

  • Electrify UW Fleet: Transportation Services plans to fully electrify the UW fleet by 2030, and is moving forward with projects to add electric vehicle charging stations and solar canopies on campus.

  • Green Building Standards: The UW is working on updating our Green Building Standards. The new standards will be more robust than UW’s existing guidelines and will address a variety of different project types. The updated Green Building Standards are expected to be finalized in Spring 2024.
  • Zero Carbon Roadmap: This strategic plan will outline strategies and resources needed for the UW to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with a focus on being fossil fuel for direct emissions by 2035. The roadmap should be finalized in late 2024.
  • Air Travel: The UW's Sustainability Action Plan calls for a reduction in air travel emissions. An ad hoc joint committee of the Environmental Stewardship Committee and the Faculty Council on Campus Planning and Stewardship is working to develop a policy proposal around reducing and mitigating air travel emissions.

Reports and policies

Plan CoverThe UW's Sustainability Action Plan lays out 10 targets and directs our sustainability actions.

Read the plan


Plan CoverThe 2022 GHG inventory is the UW's first comprehensive inventory of direct and indirect emissions.

See the inventory report



View many more reports and policies here.

Fall view of Rainier from Rainier Vista

Our greenhouse gas data