University of Minnesota
Contractors finished installing solar panels on a steel canopy above a dull parking lot next to the University of Minnesota’s Law School in 2019. They covered an empty green space next to the parking lot—and Mondale Hall’s rooftop—with panels, making the multisite solar installation the largest on campus. It's the most visual manifestation of the University’s longstanding commitment to clean energy and sustainability.
Over the past decade, the U of M has made its support of renewable energy plain by investing in solar through utility-operated clean energy programs and on-campus solar installations. And by improving building efficiency and generating energy through a relatively new combined heat and power plant—less noticeable but still important developments—the University has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 39 percent over the past 11 years.
Beyond targeting the campus’s energy consumption, the University relies on research by scientists, architects, and policy experts to develop pathways to green the state and country’s power infrastructure.
As part of President Joan Gabel’s MPact Systemwide Strategic Plan, the U of M is implementing a next-generation Climate Action Plan for 2030, including proposing a plan for each of its five campuses.
The ultimate goal: Reduce greenhouse gases and waste while improving water stewardship. By 2050 the University wants to be carbon neutral, offsetting any remaining emissions with clean energy.