Our Achievements

Performance Contracts

Based on 1995 energy and water consumption and the ESG analysis, the university has saved:
  • 42.3% of electricity
  • 23.0% of natural gas
  • 34.84% metric ton of CO2 emissions
  • 37,972 kgal of water
We have been able to achieve these reductions by making upgrades through performance contracts with our partner Energy Systems Group. These performance contracts were enabled with the aid of grants from the Department of Energy and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Equal Opportunity. Energy Systems provides a full description of energy and efficiency improvements.

Solar Energy

Solar Thermal Heating for Swimming Pools

As a sustainable measure to conserve natural gas, NIU installed solar water heating systems for the indoor swimming pools at Gabel Hall and Anderson Hall. A solar water heating system, in conjunction with a pool cover, eliminates the need for central plant steam for heating the pool water.

Visit energy.gov for more information about how solar systems work.

H2O 2Go

In an effort for our university and our students to become more environmentally friendly – and to promote sustainability – we are bringing attention to single-use water bottles and the amount of waste they generate, during the production process and in landfills. By giving people alternatives for carrying water and highlighting the negative impacts of disposable water bottles, we hope to make noticeable changes to how we think of sustainable lifestyle choices.

With H2O 2Go, we pass out reusable water bottles to students and install water bottle refill stations (hydration stations), reducing the reliance on disposable plastic water bottles. To motivate our students to use personal water bottles, we provide free NIU-branded reusable water bottles at campus events.

Get more information about H2O 2Go NIU on Facebook

Recycling efforts

General recycling from July 2015 through June 2016

  • Recycling: 752.28 tons
  • Waste: 1,053.34 tons
  • 359 pieces of equipment were repurposed to other users within the university
  • 3,577 pieces of electronics were recycled
  • 17 pieces of furniture were refurbished to avoid the alternative of landfill disposal

Goodwill Collections

  • 2014: 15,633 lbs.
  • 2015: 14,494 lbs.
  • 2016: 12,118 lbs.
  • 2017: 11,129 lbs.

Other recycling products reported in 2015 

  • 1,150 pounds of alkaline batteries
  • 984 gallons of used oil
  • 450 pounds of used oil filters
  • 212 used tires
  • 17,672 mercury-containing bulbs
  • 569 smoke alarms
  • 48,730 net pounds of grease

Initiative is being evaluated for recycling food wastes from the dining operations. This will further help divert our waste stream from contributing to landfill demands.


  • We use 10% ethanol blend gasoline and B11/B2 soy biodiesel to help address greenhouse gas emissions.
  • We currently have 35 hybrid vehicles in the fleet to promote increased fuel efficiency.
  • An electric charging station was completed in Oct 2016 to support commuters with electric vehicles.
  • We support alternative transportation methods by supporting a Zipcar program and a free bike loan program with 150 bikes.

Chemical management and reduction

In our janitorial operations, 68% of cleaning products are Green.  In an increasing number of applications, ionized water is effectively being used to replace chemical-based cleaning products.

In grounds maintenance operations, we use herbicides/pesticides sparingly and, generally, as a last resort when other non-chemical control approaches fail.

Greenhouse gas management:  The Refrigeration Shop of Physical Plant manages and tracks approx. 1800 pieces of equipment containing about 10,000 lbs of regulated refrigerant.

Energy conservation

Over $50M of energy conservation improvements (lighting improvements, heating/cooling improvements, insulating improvements, etc.) have been systematically made over the past 15 years, generating ~$4M of savings annually.More energy conservation improvements are currently underway and energy conservation is a major design consideration for all repair/construction projects.

A boiler plant assessment study has been completed working towards planning for the next generation of campus steam generation infrastructure. While designs have not yet been completed, the anticipated replacement boilers will be much more efficient than the existing boilers which have served the campus well but were installed in the 1960's.


Compiled List of Projects

Green Initiative Map

green initiative map