Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.48
Liaison Amy Brunvand
Submission Date Oct. 21, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Utah
PRE-2: Points of Distinction

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete N/A Amy Brunvand
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s featured sustainability program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Campuswide Energy Improvements

A brief description of the institution’s featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:

The University of Utah’s portfolio consists of more than 280 buildings and over 16 million square feet. Total energy consumption and costs are the lowest they’ve been since 2011, despite a 23% growth in total building area over the same time span.

Energy use intensity savings were realized with a focus on operational efficiency, source energy management, and use of increasingly-efficient infrastructure in construction and renovation projects. Zone scheduling, controls optimization, lighting and HVAC system upgrades, the use of analytics to identify and validate failed equipment, and thermostat usage guidelines have all contributed heavily to increased operational efficiency.

Large-scale construction projects, including expansions to the Huntsman Cancer Hospital and Rice-Eccles Stadium that were launched in 2019, are showing projections of 20-30% improvement over code in energy performance.

The University of Utah takes great pride in reducing, avoiding, and improving energy consumption.

Which of the following impact areas does the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Air & Climate

Website URL where more information about the accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
OP-5: Building Energy Efficiency; IN-50: Geothermal and Solar Power Purchase

A photograph or document associated with the featured program, initiative, or accomplishment:
Name of a second highlighted sustainability program/initiative/accomplishment:
Sustainability in the Curriculum

A brief description of the second program/initiative/accomplishment:

In 2011, the University of Utah began efforts to integrate sustainability more broadly into the curriculum. These efforts are a highlight of this STARS reporting period because of the way they work to identify campuswide sustainability curriculum and call attention to interdisciplinary connections and student opportunities. New since the 2017 report: In several departments sustainability-focused curriculum has been identified by new emphasis areas designated within degree programs; learning outcomes have been revised, expanding the institutional commitment to sustainability literacy; a new Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Water and Hydrology was launched; sustainability course attributes rooted in the big ideas of sustainability were added to the General Catalog and Course Schedule. In 2017, the Global Change & Sustainability Center released a new book, “Embedded in Nature: The University of Utah Field Stations,” which highlights opportunities for student learning in protected natural areas managed by the University of Utah. The idea of using field stations and campus grounds to promote the Campus as a Living Laboratory has caught on with upper administration and has become a major focus to promote an institutional identity.

Which impact areas does the second program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Campus Engagement
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the second program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the second program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):
AC-1 through AC-8: Curriculum

A photograph or document associated with the second program/initiative/accomplishment:
Name of a third highlighted program/initiative/accomplishment:
Air Quality Road Map

A brief description of the third program/initiative/accomplishment:

During the 2019 General Session, the Utah Legislature approved $200,000 in funding for a review of air quality and changing climate research by the Kem C. Gardner Institute. Researchers at the Institute along with a 37-person Technical Advisory Committee prepared “The Utah Roadmap” released in January 2020 to assist with legislative policy-making. The Gardner Institute and Technical Advisory Committee reviewed past Utah-specific work on air quality and changing climate completed by Envision Utah and the 2007 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council. This previous analysis included over 200 policy options. After a six-month expert assessment, the Committee prioritized 59 of these options as those with the greatest potential to impact Utah’s air and changing climate. The Gardner Institute then selected seven as the first areas of focus. Those recommendations outline a pathway for reducing statewide air pollution emissions by 50% and carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. A public comment process provided opportunity for community engagement. The report positions the State of Utah to actively participate in a national dialog about market-based approaches to reduce carbon emissions.

Which impact areas does the third program/initiative/accomplishment most closely relate to?:
Public Engagement
Air & Climate
Coordination & Planning

Website URL where more information about the third program/initiative/accomplishment may be found:
STARS credit in which the third program/initiative/accomplishment is reported (if applicable):

A photograph or document associated with the third program/initiative/accomplishment:


Wes Magnum. U Exceeds Federal Energy Reduction Commitment @theU, 17 April, 2020.

Bianca Greef, Uncovering Sustainability. @theU. 2 April, 2018.

Kem C. Garnder Policy Institute. News Release: New Report Calls for Seven Priority Actions to Improve Air Quality and Address a Changing Climate. 6 January 2020.


Benson, Mangum. Extracts from the University's online profile for the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge, adjusted for scope relevant to the STARS reporting period through the end of FY19. (2020)


University of Utah, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.Educational Futures and Student Success Taskforce. 15 April, 2020.
URL: https://attheu.utah.edu/announcements/planning-the-future-ofeducation-the-next-170-years/

Cachelin, Adrienne, Ann Darling, Brett Clark, and Kim Hackford-Peer. "Weaving Equity and Sustainability into the Fabric of Higher Education: The University of Utah Experience." Sustainability: The Journal of Record 12, no. 6 (2019): 304-309.

Ward, Mercedes, Brenda Bowen, Steven Burian, Adrienne Cachelin, and Daniel McCool. "Institutionalizing interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum at a large, research-intensive university: challenges and opportunities." Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6, no. 2 (2016): 425-431.

Air Quality Road MapP

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. The Utah Road Map: Positive Solutions on Climate and Air Quality. 31 January, 2020.
URL: https://gardner.utah.edu/utahroadmap/

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.