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.

Status updates

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 2024

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

The UW issued an RFQ in Spring 2023 for a firm to provide engineering consulting services and develop a detailed plan for decarbonization of the campus and Power Plant. The firm was selected in Summer 2023 and will begin work immediately to develop an implementation plan by August of 2024. Under state legislation, the UW must have begun development of a decarbonization plan for the Power Plant by June 2024. This implementation plan is critical to identify the capital resources needed to convert the Seattle campus district energy system off fossil fuels. Work will also continue on energy conservation measures across the UW, as well as communicating information about the Energy Transformation to the UW community.

UW Transportation Services will continue to prioritize electric vehicles when replacing vehicles in the fleet, as well as continuing to move forward with the parking lot projects to add charging stations and solar canopies (see the FY23 progress for details).

The greenhouse gas comprehensive inventory and analysis conducted by Cascadia Consulting Group will be delivered in Fall 2023. UW Sustainability will then work with campus stakeholders to identify and prioritize actions which will have a measurable impact in reducing our associated emissions, especially Scope 3 emissions.