Reporting System

Progress Report for University of Louisville

Submitted on Jan. 15, 2013; Last updated on Jan. 15, 2013

The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.

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General Statement of Progress

The University of Louisville's 2008 signing of the ACUPCC helped kick-start a more comprehensive, integrated, university-wide approach to sustainability. It was in that first year after signing that we:
1. Formed our university-wide Sustainability Council and its active committees and subcommittees,
2. Added sustainability to UofL's Strategic Plan (measuring progress through AASHE's STARS framework),
3. Hired a full-time Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, and
4. Completed our first greenhouse gas emissions inventory, establishing the baseline for our Climate Action Plan (adopted in 2010).
The number, diversity, and scale of our sustainability initiatives has expanded significantly since 2008 and we continue to measure our progress and set new priorities based upon the goals within STARS and our own Climate Action Plan. We also seek opportunities beyond these two frameworks as they arise to push our sustainability initiatives beyond our proscribed, preconceived notions and to respond appropriately to changing environmental, social, and economic conditions and opportunities.

Overall, in the 27 months since we released our Climate Action Plan, UofL has made the greatest progress in the areas of Energy Conservation and Efficiency, Green Building Design, Composting & Horticultural Practices, Transportation, and Food. Our greatest challenges lie in finding effective means of promoting university-wide Behavior Change, identifying funding to hire the small number of faculty necessary for us to launch our planned Degree Programs in Sustainability, and working out financial arrangements to fund the installation of our planned renewable energy projects in a state where funding for higher education continues to be slashed and renewable energy incentives are generally nonexistent.

Below is a status report on the 54 specific steps from our Climate Action Plan which we identified as short-term priorities for 2010-2012. 19 steps (35%) have been fully implemented; 25 steps (46%) have been partially implemented; and 10 steps (19%) have not yet been implemented:

Status 2010-12 Goals from Original CAP
Implemented Implement and promote the single stream recycling and mini-bin garbage reduction programs in all buildings university-wide
Implemented Create model green office
Implemented Work with Sodexo to create a full-time position to be the lead contact on sustainability issues, including local foods.
Implemented Involve the Food Service Advisory Group to identify ways to increase our campus use of locally grown food products
Implemented Phase 2 of performance contracting (HSC and Shelby)
Implemented Larger propane-powered lawn equipment and propane conversion of four-cycle string trimmers and hedge trimmers
Implemented Continue and expand the program for food waste composting and vermiculture
Implemented Implement awareness campaign
Implemented Individual education programs
Implemented Convert outdoor garbage bins along campus walkways to recycling bins
Implemented Free bike program to provide a new bicycle and helmet to students and employees who agree to forgo a campus parking permit for at least two years.
Implemented Campus Garden improvements and outreach
Implemented Building Dashboards (4 buildings)
Implemented Policy to systematically replace all dead, wind damaged, and removed trees with enough new trees
Implemented Campus tree tour - publicize and incorporate into curricula and research agendas
Implemented Identify and protect trees that have particular significance due to their size, historic value, unique species, etc,
Implemented Increase student, staff & faculty awareness of local food issues by hosting classes and information sessions in residence halls, Red Barn, Student Activities Center and University Club
Implemented Convene meeting of university’s caterers to discuss our goal to offer more local food products on campus. Develop a ‘local foods’ designation on UofL’s website for those caterers that desire to participate and will carry local food menu items
Implemented Collaborate with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to identify training needs of local farmers with the intent of UofL being able to provide training
Implemented (needs more enforcement/visibility) No idling campus policy
Implemented (needs more promotion/visibility) Establish a system for campus exchange and reuse of packaging materials
Implemented 2010, but not annually Annual tree giveaway program
Partially implemented Organizational unit and building competitions
Partially implemented Establish a corps of students within A&S to assist in implementing energy conservation projects.
Partially implemented Encourage employees and students to make suggestions on ways that the College can reduce energy use
Partially implemented Provide every residence hall with a bicycle pump and basic tool kit to be stored at the front desk for use with UofL ID
Partially implemented Identify space on or adjacent to campus for a bicycle repair shop, either through contracting with a private bike store, using work-study students to operate the shop, or a hybrid of the two
Partially implemented Faculty and student organizational awareness
Partially implemented University-wide education
Partially implemented Benchmark UofL’s per capita energy consumption
Partially implemented Develop energy use benchmarks to measure any energy reductions realized
Partially implemented Provide continuous feedback on energy reductions achieved
Partially implemented Continual education and engagement
Partially implemented Work with the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Department to build community infrastructure & signs to encourage biking and walking
Partially implemented Manage campus trees to increase carbon density through selective tree replacement and management
Partially implemented Provide incentives to carpools such as reduced parking permit prices, shared permits, preferred parking, university recognition, etc.
Partially implemented in some lots Preferred parking for fuel efficient cars in all parking garages
Partially implemented through Bicycle Master Plan Prepare campus circulation plans to design a holistic network of sidewalks, paths, and open spaces that promote and support walking
Not widely implemented Purchase smart surge protectors that detect when the computer is shut off and automatically turns off all of the peripherals (73% energy reduction)
Not widely implemented A&S departmental awareness
Not widely implemented Incorporating the plan into the classroom
Not widely implemented Organizational unit energy assessments
Not widely implemented Energy self assessments
No specific new initiatives, though this is generally accepted practice Encourage more use of flexible schedules and telecommuting for employees whenever possible
Planned, seeking funding Install two rain gardens
Not implemented - Still in discussion Public-private partnership to design and construct a biomass digester
Not implemented Create model green classroom
Not implemented Develop and post on appropriate websites a database that lists the submission dates for RFPs for supplying food products such as meats, milk, etc.
Not implemented Appoint an Energy Conservation Team
Not implemented Survey of energy use
Not implemented Energy Team should prepare an annual report of energy usage
Not implemented Work with KIPDA to establish dedicated vanpools to campus
Not implemented Create model green laboratory
Not implemented Establish a policy through which either travel expenses for destinations within 250 miles would only be reimbursed for ground transportation, or a requirement that all air travel reimbursement requests include information on the distance traveled and the amount of greenhouse gases produced.

GHG Emissions & Reduction Targets

Climate Neutrality Target Date: 2050
Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline*
20% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
40% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2030 relative to baseline emissions in 2008
[click to view Climate Action Plan - University of Louisville Climate Action Plan 2010]

GHGs summary

GHGs for University of Louisville
Reporting Year Gross Emissions Net Emissions Full Time Enrollments Total Bldg. Sq. Ft. [action]
2008 192803.0 192789.0 17214.0 7000000.0 [ view ]
2010 201505.0 200859.0 18295.0 8146802.0 [ view ]
2013 192549.0 191822.0 18487.0 8081064.0 [ view ]
2015 199567.6 198909.94 18779.0 8180080.0 [ view ]
  • Change in GHG gross emissions


  • Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space


  • Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)


Education, Research, & Community Engagement


  • How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?

    The University has supported the integration of sustainability concepts and issues into the curriculum of all disciplines through the annual "Green Threads: Sustainability Across the Curriculum" program. Green Threads is an on-going series of workshops for tenured and tenure-track faculty sponsored by the UofL Sustainability Council's Education & Research Committee. The program is designed to expose faculty to sustainability issues and help them weave sustainability themes into existing courses or to create new courses focused on sustainability. Participants receive inspiration, resources, and mutual support. Incentives also include an honorarium of $500, a series of workshops and tours with local food meals, and resource materials on sustainability. Details at

    The University also provides a wide range of co-curricular learning opportunities that expose students to sustainability concepts, including a fall and spring Sustainability Week, Campus Sustainability Day, the spring Climate Change Teach-in, and a wide variety of lectures, panel discussions, films, conferences, field trips, community service projects, etc. Since 2010, sustainability concepts have also been deliberately woven into the university's new student orientation programs. These diverse co-curricular learning opportunities are cataloged at

    The University has also supported the creation of a variety of student organizations related to sustainability, and have included representatives from the Student Government Association and Group Recycling And Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) on the University's Sustainability Council and its subcommittees. Sustainability-related student groups at UofL are listed at

    Finally, the University has developed concrete proposals for a BA in Sustainability, and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Sustainability that are currently under review. A Masters degree in Sustainability is also under development. Details about our sustainability-related academic programs are available at

  • Education methods in use

    • Included sustainability in fulfilling regional accreditation requirements.
    • Offered professional development to all faculty in sustainability education.
    • Other - A variety of sustainability-related courses are available to the general public every year through UofL's continuing education program. Details are at

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville

  • Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville



  • If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?

    The Sustainability Council envisions the University of Louisville as a living laboratory of sustainability. This means that faculty and students from all disciplines have the opportunity to study the environmental, social and economic challenges to sustainability that exist right here on campus and in our community...and to research solutions that make sense here. Details about our sustainability-related Research initiatives are available at A major new initiative to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary research in sustainability began in the 2012-13 academic year, with the launch of the UofL Sustainability Scholars Roundtable. All UofL faculty, staff, and graduate students engaged in research related to sustainability are encouraged to join us for an on-going series of Sustainability Scholars Roundtable gatherings. See profiles of UofL Sustainability Scholars here. We gather several times a year to share research interests, goals, and projects; hear from external renowned scholars; have roundtable discussions about sustainability research; and discuss specific sustainability topics of common interest. In spring 2013 we'll focus on "resilience" -- what is it? how do we understand, measure, analyze, and consider it? how is it similar to or different from sustainability? how can concepts of resilience aid sustainability? etc. Other topics will be developed for the future. The long-term goals of this initiative are to: Develop awareness of sustainability research at UofL; Develop networks of scholars to enhance collaboration and sharing of ideas; Enhance research grant capacity & opportunities through interdisciplinary proposals; Improve & increase sustainability-related research at UofL. This is a project of the Sustainability Council's Research Committee. For more info, contact Tony Arnold. UofL also hosts a wide variety of academic centers that support research in sustainability, including: Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace & Justice Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD) Center for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Sub-center: Environmental Cardiology Center Center for Environmental Education, part of the Kentucky University Partnership for Environmental Education (KUPEE) Center for Environmental Engineering Center for Environmental Policy and Management Sub-Center: EPA Region IV Environmental Finance Center Center for Environmental Science Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research Renewable Energy Applications Laboratory (REAL) Center for Infrastructure Research The Stream Institute Urban Design Studio City Solutions Center Urban Studies Institute Many UofL researchers outside of these centers also conduct studies related to sustainability topics. Many of these studies can be identified using our online reference search tool. Or consult our inventory of UofL Research Publications Related to Sustainability from 2007-2009. UofL also provides a wide variety of Research Incentives that can be used to conduct sustainability studies, including: Faculty and students interested in researching sustainability are encouraged to apply for UofL's Intramural Research Incentive Grants: Multidisciplinary Research Grant (MRG): The goal of the MRG program is to identify new areas of promising multidisciplinary research in the university that will lead to improvements in federally-funded research competitiveness. The focus is to seed innovative research activities that have potential for competing in multidisciplinary extramurally funded grants programs. NSF's Crosscutting/Interdisciplinary programs and NIH's programs in Biomedical Engineering are two specific examples, but other federal funding agencies support multidisciplinary research programs in specific high priority areas as well. Applicants are required to be full-time faculty members. Awards will be made up to $10,000 for one year. Vice President for Research Undergraduate Research Scholar Grant (URS): The primary purpose of a URS is to enrich the research, scholarship and creative arts experience of the undergraduate student by involving the student in research collaboration with a faculty member. The student is expected to become intellectually involved in design and execution of the research project, not just serve as "another pair of hands." The undergraduate student writes the URS proposal after he or she has identified a faculty mentor who is interested in serving as the mentor. The faculty mentor is expected to make arrangements for the student to receive up to three hours of course credit for the research or creative activity and provide a grade for the work completed by the student. Students are encouraged to present a poster, or an equivalent demonstration of the research, on the Undergraduate Research Day. The student may request up to $300 (dry lab/creative activity) or $500 (wet lab) for supplies and expenses required for conducting the research or creative activity. URS proposals may be submitted at any time. They will be reviewed on a monthly basis. The form can be found on the web. Application Form Project Completion Grant (PCG):The primary purpose of a PCG is to assist faculty who are nearing the end of a scholarly project and need some ancillary support to bring it to completion. PCG funds may be used to cover the costs of travel required to complete the project, manuscript preparation, library computer searches, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. Grants up to $4,000 are provided. Research Initiation Grant (RIG): The primary purpose of a RIG is to assist faculty in the initiation of new research projects. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary for the conduct of the research, student wages, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. In general, priority is given to new faculty, those entering new areas of research and scholarship and others who have not previously received an RIG. Grants up to $5,000 are provided. Research On Women Grant (ROW): This grant is available to full- and part-time faculty. The primary purpose of an ROW grant is to provide support to stimulate scholarship on women and encourage research on women's issues. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary for the conduct of the research, student wages, release from teaching duties, or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses. Grants are provided up to $4,000. Undergraduate Research Grants (URG): The primary purpose of a URG is to enhance the research environment of a unit by involving undergraduate students in research in collaboration with a faculty mentor. Special consideration will be given to projects in which the student is intellectually involved in design and execution of the research. Students will be expected to provide a written report on their project participation and have it evaluated by faculty. Students are encouraged to co-author scholarly research papers with their mentors. Priority will be given to projects involving UofL undergraduates and no awards will be made to projects in which students provide just "another pair of hands." URG funds may be used for undergraduate student stipends and supplies. They may range from a 10-week summer project to a full year. Grants up to $3,000 are provided. The Office of Community Engagement Faculty Grants Program fosters UofL faculty and staff projects within the west Louisville community and Jefferson County. This is a great opportunity for those interested in weaving community-based sustainability issues into courses and research! The grant focuses on infrastructure development, research and non-research projects which hold a community participatory action perspective. The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research Faculty Research Fund helps sponsor, stimulate and disseminate research relevant to the Louisville community and the U.S. South on social movements, citizen participation, and public policy reforms around racial and social justice. Proposals that engage one or more social justice topics (historical or contemporary) such as race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, environmentalism, disability, and/or age will be given preference. Any faculty member in the College of Arts & Sciences is eligible to apply for a grant of up to $1,000 during a period not to exceed 12 months (this includes term and part-time faculty). Proposals that represent faculty/community or faculty/student collaborations are especially encouraged. Students can also seek funding through the Anne Braden Institute's Social Justice Research Awards. Graduate and undergraduate students from any discipline are asked to engage one or more social justice topics, with a preference given to papers engaging race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, environmentalism, disability, and/or age. The best two undergraduate applications receive $100 each, while the best graduate application receives $300. The Summer Research Opportunity Program provides UofL undergraduate students (preferably juniors or sophomores) who would like to know more about graduate-level education at the university, with a 10-week research-intensive experience in a department that offers graduate degrees. Mentors will provide students with individualized research projects. All UofL departments with graduate programs will be supported. Students will receive a stipend of $3,500 for the 10 weeks and the mentor is eligible for up to $500 to support the student's research and costs for production of the poster that is required. The Ali Scholars Program, offered by the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice to full-time undergraduate UofL students, is a unique 2-year experience combining training, research and service in the areas of violence prevention and peace building in an urban living context. A special emphasis is placed on understanding and addressing the social conditions that impact those issues. Scholars will receive a $500 scholarship each semester, for a total program scholarship of $2,000. Conn Center Fellows: Want to be involved in advances in renewable energy? The Leigh Ann Conn Fellows Program is for grads & undergrads planning to conduct energy-related research. Areas include Solar Decathlon, Solar Manufacturing R&D, Biofuels/Biomass R&D, and Materials Discovery/Manufacturing. Full info and application details here. KREC Competitive Grants Program (FY2008-2011) The Kentucky Renewable Energy Consortium (KREC), administered by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) at UofL's J.B. Speed School of Engineering, encouraged faculty research through the Competitive Grants Program. KREC advanced and funded innovative research on renewable energy and energy efficiency that focuses on developing resource-responsible technologies and practices for the energy sector. A total of $864,000 was awarded to seven recipients in the latest round of grants. Though grant funding has expired, you can still join KREC on Facebook to share information, discuss ideas, ask questions or post items of interest to the renewable energy community and help get the word out about what's happening in renewable energy and energy efficiency in Kentucky!

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville

Community Engagement

  • How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?

    The Sustainability Council partners with the Office of Community Engagement to connect students, faculty, and staff with community groups working to tackle climate change and other sustainability concerns in our community. Details are at

  • Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville

  • Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?

    see STARs report for University of Louisville

Many of the above questions correspond to AASHE's Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) credits. For signatories that are STARS participants you may find more detail on their efforts in the areas of education, research, and community engagement by accessing their STARS report.

Energy & Finances

Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:


  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:


  • For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:


Renewable Energy

  • Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by University of Louisville

    • Solar output: 81580 kWh

    • Wind output: 0 kWh

    • Biomass output: 0 kWh

    • Fuel Cell output: 0 kWh

    • Geothermal output: 0 kWh

    • Annual renewable energy purchased: 200000 kWh

  • Other GHG mitigation efforts:
    Note: The 200,000kWhs indicated as "Annual renewable energy purchased" was awarded to UofL in 2012 by Sterling Planet for our top-ten finish in the Campus Conservation Nationals. It does not represent a direct expenditure by UofL nor an annual commitment.

    1. Launched a free bikeshare program using refurbished abandoned bikes.
    2. Launched an "Earn-A-Bike" program through which students, faculty and staff willing to give up their parking permit for at least two years can receive a $400 bike voucher.
    3. Lauched the WeCar car-sharing program.
    4. Launched the Zimride carpool-matching social media platform for the campus community.

    1. Completed a $46.2M energy-savings performance contract, reducing our utility bill by $4.4M per year.
    2. Installed energy dashboards for real time energy use feedback at four residence halls.
    3. Used our new Building Dashboards and students enrolled in a new course, PSYC414-04 “Mindfulness & Sustainability,” to facilitate our competition in the Campus Conservation Nationals in spring of 2012 and 2013. In 2012, UofL finished in 9th place (out of 100 schools) nationally, reducing our electricity consumption in residence halls by nearly 12% (38,415 kWh of electricity saved).

    1. Began composting food waste from UofL dining halls on campus using volunteers as a pilot project in 2010. Post-consumer compost bins were added to the campus garden in 2011. In March 2012, UofL established a new sub-contract with Blue Skies Recycling for collection and pick-up of all food wastes from UofL dining facilities as well as our Early Learning Campus. This allows us to compost both pre- and post-consumer food wastes, as well as meats, bones, and dairy-products, all of which are now collected and composted into organic soil amendments. This new system has allowed us to keep over 200,000 pounds of food waste out of the landfill every year!
    2. Completed conversion of all buildings to the single-stream recycling program and diverted 39.8% of waste from landfill in 2011.

    1. In May 2012, students in UofL's Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Club, designed, constructed and installed a low-cost 120-watt solar panel at the Garden Commons to power the ventilation system for the new greenhouse. More about the project at
    2. Chemical Engineering faculty and students have been involved in the conversion of waste vegetable oil from UofL dining halls into biodiesel used to fuel our campus shuttle. In 2011, UofL began supplying about 400 gallons/week of used cooking oil to the Louisville Biodiesel Cooperative for conversion into green fuel. Details of the project are at

Financial Data

  • Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?


  • Amount spent on CAP projects:


  • Estimated amount saved to date from implementing your CAP projects:


  • Estimated total savings expected from implementing entire Climate Action Plan


  • Additional information or context to support expected savings:

    Steve Muzzy at ACUPCC (Second Nature) informs us that we are to report here estimated ANNUAL savings, rather than total savings. This figure is extremely difficult to estimate, but we know that our energy-savings performance contract alone is estimated to save UofL $4.4M/year. We are guessing that complete implementation of our entire Climate Action Plan will produce an annual savings of at least ten times that amount, or roughly $45M/year. Given the extreme difficulty in estimating changes in technology and energy costs by our target climate neutrality date of 2050, however, this figure is only a guess.
finance methods...

Non-public data

This data is available to signatories with reporting system access.
"" fields in which no data was submitted have been omitted from this report

For more information about University of Louisville's climate & sustainability efforts please click here