Climate change is the environmental issue of our time. The UW is a world-class research center in climate-related topics; in fact climate change’s centrality to our academic life is reflected in a Guiding Principle of this Sustainability Strategy. We’re going to follow through on our sustainability commitment by embarking on a major energy planning process to drastically reduce the Seattle Campus district heating system’s demand for fossil fuels, and reduce our dependence on utility energy with solar photovoltaic power on all our campuses.

This Target is relative to a 2005 baseline, for consistency with Washington State law. All other Targets in the UW Sustainability Plan are relative to a 2020 baseline.

Target actions for 2023

View actions for past fiscal years

Sustainability plan guiding principles

  •  Ensure students achieve sustainability literacy
  •  Choose our research conscientiously
  •  Keep equity and inclusion at the center
  •  Use resources responsibly
  •  Decarbonize

Steps we will take in FY 2023

  1. Request resources for Phase 1 of plan & implement 

  2. Socialize the Seattle steam plant energy transformation strategy 
  3. Host steam plant decarbonization tours 
  4. Host steam plant decarbonization discussions with key stakeholders 

The UW will continue to develop the plan for decarbonization, including evaluating transitioning the campus heating system from steam to hot water. This will include determining technological and financing options, creating a strategy for achieving the carbon reduction goals while maintaining reliable and cost effective service.

This year, UW Facilities is beginning to implement phase one of the Energy Transformation strategy, which is to increase resources toward energy conservation efforts, while working to communicate and socialize the full strategy among the UW community.

Development of the plan will include key stakeholder involvement and engagement with the UW community. In addition to creating a communications plan and determining ways to effectively convey the need for this project to campus users, UW Facilities and UW Sustainability are organizing tours and discussions of the steam plant with key stakeholders to provide context around the need for decarbonization.

Steps we will take in FY 2023

  1. Transition 50-70 ICE vehicle replacements per year to EV, as feasible. 
  2. Implement charging infrastructure in concert with a fleet electrification plan. 
  3. Implement a two-pronged strategy for solar canopy and EV charging installation. 

The UW will continue to transition to electric vehicles, with a target of 50-70 vehicle replacements each year, while also implementing new charging and solar infrastructure as needed. Transportation Services is working on plans for creating additional charging infrastructure, including installing solar canopies in parking lots to help power EV charging stations.

Steps we will take in FY 2023

Conduct pre-design and planning for E-18 parking lot solar canopy 

The Seattle campus solar plan created by UW Solar includes opportunities for creating new solar power installations on campus. UW Transportation Services is starting a process to move forward with planning for a solar canopy on parking lot E-18, which would provide new charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Steps we will take in FY 2023

Continue work on the Carbon Roadmap so that each unit, campus, etc. has annual steps to take to reach interim targets. 
The Carbon Roadmap is a strategy to meet our greenhouse gas emission requirements under state legislation and other mandates. The Carbon Roadmap working group will continue creating the strategy, including identifying interim targets and required annual steps by various units to meet those targets.