The University of Iowa

Sustainable Initiatives

The University of Iowa officially transferred management of its utility system to ENGIE North America on March 11, 2020. The 50-year partnership with ENGIE and Meridiam will help fund and support the University's strategic plan and core missions of teaching, research, and scholarship. More information is available here. Updates to staff directories and web pages are underway.

About Us

The UI's 2030 Vision outlines six ambitious sustainability targets. Facilities Management plays an integral role in helping The University of Iowa to meet several of these targets. In addition, Facilities Management is committed to a number of sustainable practices and programs in an effort to do our part in making the UI campus greener.



Our Commitment to Sustainability

University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld announced Feb. 20, 2017, that the University of Iowa campus will be coal-free by 2025. The UI Power Plant pioneered a unique and innovative source of biomass fuel-- oat hulls, and is currently growing, investigating and testing a number of other biomass fuels to meet its goal like Miscanthus energy grass and energy pellets.

The Building Commissioning Program ensures buildings operate to optimal designed conditions. New buildings will be initially commissioned and existing buildings will typically be re-commissioned in order to minimize energy consumption.

The University of Iowa is committed to sustainability in its campus development through the incorporation of green principles in the placement, design and construction of new campus facilities and major renovation projects.

Landscape Services oversees the installation of over 300 trees on average per year and is the first university in Iowa to receive Tree Campus USA designation.


CHP, also known as co-generation, is an efficient, clean, and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source.  CHP is part of our Utilities Production and Distribution.

Energy Control Center will serve as a centralized location for the monitoring, analysis, and efficient dispatching of utility systems.

Facilities Management looks to reduce its overall energy consumption by replacing outdated lighting fixtures to high-efficiency LED lighting. LED lighting uses less energy than florescent or incandescent bulbs. LED lights also last longer, reducing maintenance costs to replace burnt-out bulbs.

In addition to the high-efficiency LED fixtures, Facilities Management is upgrading lighting control systems so they can be maintained through a web browser. This will allow for more control maintenance and lighting schedules so lights are only used when they are needed.

A dedicated team of technicians within our maintenance and operations group use technology known as Fault Detection and Diagnostics to conserve energy usage on the University of Iowa campus.

This system utilizes building data to discover and diagnose building operation issues before they lead to wasted energy, occupant discomfort, or system failure. This team's work has resulted in energy savings for campus and more comfortable, productive work environments for our students, faculty and staff.

Custodial services operates in a way that protects the environment by considering what types of chemicals and equipment we use to perform custodial work in a safe manner. FM custodians use environmentally friendly chemicals and work practices, such as using microfiber cloths, LEED-certified equipment, and green-certified cleaning products.

The University of Iowa has three buildings on campus that support green roofs; the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, the Visual Arts Building, and the Seamans Center, otherwise known as the College of Engineering.

Green roofs assist in stormwater management, provide insulation, mitigate energy consumption, reduce the urban heat island effect, and provide beauty to an otherwise concrete landscape.

Facilities Management is a strong partner, along with the UI Office of Sustainability, in supporting campus efforts to increase recycling and reduce waste

Storm water management is the practice of managing storm water runoff to minimize the number of pollutants that storm water collects when it travels through storm sewers directly into streams, rivers, and lakes without being treated. When storm water runs off of surfaces like roads, buildings, and compacted soils, it can pick up pollutants like pesticides, fertilizer, soap, sediment from construction, grass clippings, and other substances that can harm the health of water bodies.

Sustainable infrastructure encompasses a variety of water management practices that have been implemented on campus, such as green roofs, roadside plantings, absorbent gardens, permeable pavers, bioswales, bio-retention cells to filter and reduce storm water. Storm water management practices help restore some of the natural processes required to manage water and create healthier urban environments. 

SEDD is an area roughly bounded by the UI Madison Street Services Building (MSSB), the University Services Building (USB) and the UI Power Plant. The area engages approximately eight different sustainable energy technologies.

Facilities Management has purchased electric vehicles with a vision to eventually convert more than 50% of Facilities Management’s fleet vehicles. Some departments are currently evaluating electric vehicles for the service fleet. A solar electric car charging station located just west of the University Services Building has space for approximately 20 electric vehicles.

The University of Iowa's 2020 sustainability goals consisting of seven specific targets can be found here



Contact Us

For additional information related to green practices at the University of Iowa, please contact the UI Office of Sustainability and the Environment.

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