U-M President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality

On February 4, 2019, U-M President Mark Schlissel announced the members of the core team responsible for developing recommendations for how to achieve carbon neutrality for U-M, as well as develop scalable and transferable strategies that can be used by other institutions and larger communities to achieve the same goal.

 

The Charge

The U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality brings together the U-M community and regional partners to explore how U-M can reduce its carbon emissions to levels that are environmentally sustainable. Informed by panels of advisors, the commission will develop recommendations to achieve this goal in a fiscally responsible manner and in the context of U-M's mission of education, research, service and patient care.

The scope of the charge to the advisory committee to the president spans all three U-M campuses – Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn – and includes, but is not limited to: carbon emissions and sequestration; energy sourcing; technology development and policy change; facilities, operations and mobility; and behavioral change. Read the full charge here.

About the Commission

Co-Chairs

Stephen Forrest

Stephen Forrest

Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics, and Material Sciences and Engineering and former Vice President for Research, U-M.

“The commission's work will aim to provide a roadmap that can be scaled and implemented in institutions and communities much larger than our own. Our hope is to have this far-reaching impact on an issue of such central importance to our way of life now, and into the future,"
- Stephen Forrest, Commission Co-Chair

Jennifer Haverkamp

Jennifer Haverkamp

Graham Family Director, Graham Sustainability Institute; Professor from Practice, Michigan Law School; and Professor of Practice, Ford Public Policy School, U-M

“As one of the world’s leading public research universities, we are eager to deploy our vast capabilities in research and education in collaboration with regional partners’ expertise to address this critical global challenge,”
- Jennifer Haverkamp, Commission Co-Chair

Members

Henry Baier

Henry Baier

Associate Vice President for Facilities and Operations, U-M.

More about Hank

Henry Baier

Expertise: Baier is responsible for the facilities management of 37 million square feet of space at U-M, in which oversees more than $1 billion of construction and renovation projects in planning and design. See Hank's bio on the U-M Facilities & Operations website.

Andy Berki

Andrew Berki

Director, Office of Campus Sustainability, U-M.

More about Andy

Andrew Berki

Expertise: Berki heads the office responsible for sustainable campus operations, and collaborating with academic and research units, auxiliaries and student groups to further efforts toward reaching the campus-wide sustainability goals. See Andy's bio on the Planet Blue website.

T. Anthony Denton

T. Anthony Denton

Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, U-M Health System, Michigan Medicine.

More about Tony

T. Anthony Denton

Expertise: Mr. Denton is responsible for ensuring effective and efficient services, process improvement and financial stewardship across the continuum of care at U-M Health System. He has sponsored environmental stewardship initiatives at the Health System for past 15 years. See Tony's bio on the Michigan Medicine website.

University of Michigan

Austin Glass

U-M Doctoral Student.

More about Austin

Austin Glass

Expertise: Glass is a 2nd year PhD student in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering. He crafts and advocates for responsible student-facing climate policy as Speaker of the 8th Central Student Government Assembly.

Brandon Hofmeister

Brandon Hofmeister

Senior Vice President of Governmental, Regulatory and Public Affairs, Consumers Energy.

More about Brandon

Brandon Hofmeister

Expertise: Hofmeister is responsible for Consumers Energy engagement and relationships with federal, state, and local government officials and other stakeholders. He previously served as advisor to former governor Jennifer Granholm on energy and climate policy issues. See Brandon's bio on the Consumers Energy website

Gregory Keoleian

Gregory Keoleian

Director, Center for Sustainable Systems, Peter M. Wege Professor of Sustainable Systems, School for Environment and Sustainability, and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, U-M.

More about Greg

Gregory Keoleian

Expertise: Keoleian’s research focuses on the development and application of life cycle models and sustainability metrics to guide the design and improvement of products, technology and systems. He also led the development of the first comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories for the University of Michigan, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan. See Greg's bio on the SEAS website.

Larissa Larsen

Larissa Larsen

Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, U-M.

More about Larissa

Larissa Larsen

Expertise: Larsen’s research focuses on identifying environmental inequities in the built environment and advancing issues of urban sustainability and social justice. Her current work tackling climate adaptation planning and urban heat island studies. See Larissa's bio on the Taubman College website.

Jonathan Overpeck

Jonathan Overpeck

Samuel A. Graham Dean and Professor, William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, Professor of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, College of Engineering, and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, U-M.

More about Peck

Jonathan Overpeck

Expertise: Overpeck “Peck” is a highly respected climate scientist who currently has ongoing research programs across five continents, focusing on issues ranging from drought and mega-drought dynamics to conservation biology. Most notably, he served as Coordinating Lead Author of the Nobel-Peace Prize winning Fourth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007. See Peck's bio on the SEAS website.

Barry Rabe

Barry Rabe

J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Professor of Public Policy, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Environmental Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, U-M.

More about Barry

Barry Rabe

Expertise: Rabe studies the political feasibility and durability of environmental and energy policy, specializing in federal systems of government such as the United States and Canada. This includes recent research and policy engagement related to the political viability of putting a price on carbon, reflected in his most recent book, CAN WE PRICE CARBON? (MIT Press, 2018). See Barry's bio on the Ford School website.

Camilo Serna

Camilo Serna

Vice President Corporate Strategy, DTE Energy.

More about Camilo

Camilo Serna

Expertise: Serna is responsible for developing strategic initiatives in regards to changing market, consumer, policy and technology trends for DTE — a Detroit based diversified energy company serving more than 2 million customers in Southeast Michigan. See Camilo's bio on the DTE website (PDF).

Anna Stefanopoulou

Anna Stefanopoulou

William Clay Ford Professor of Manufacturing, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, College of Engineering, and Director, University of Michigan Energy Institute, U-M.

More about Anna

Anna Stefanopoulou

Expertise: Stefanopoulou serves as the director of the U-M Energy Institute, while contributing immensely to energy research through her book, 20 US patents, and over 250 publications regarding the estimation and control of powertrains for highly efficient vehicles. See Anna's bio on the Energy Institute website.

Missy Stults

Missy Stults

Sustainability & Innovations Manager for the City of Ann Arbor.

More about Missy

Missy Stults

Expertise: Stults is responsible for ensuring that the city of Ann Arbor meets its climate and sustainability goals, which include powering municipal operations by 100% clean and renewable energy by 2035 and a 90% reduction in community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. See Missy's LinkedIn profile (LinkedIn login required).

University of Michigan

Logan Vear

U-M Undergraduate Student.

More about Logan

Logan Vear

Logan Vear is a Junior in Civil and Environmental Engineering. At U-M’s Energy Institute she investigates measures for achieving campus carbon neutrality. As a co-founder of Climate Action Movement, she promotes cross campus and city collaboration and engagement.

Lisa Wozniak

Lisa Wozniak

Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

More about Lisa

Lisa Wozniak

Expertise: Wozniak is a well-known conservation leader in the state of Michigan with experience working with a diverse range of interest groups to advance environmental conservation. See Lisa's bio on the Michigan League of Conservation Voters website.

Commission Support

Andrew Horning, Admin Director for the Commission, Managing Director, Graham Sustainability Institute, U-M.

Lydia Whitbeck, Project Coordinator for the Commission, U-M.

Liz Barry, Liaison to the President, Special Counsel to the President, Office of the President, U-M.

 

Advisory Panels

Broad input is critical to the development of the recommendations. The commission will create several advisory panels to provide various perspectives and expertise, and to serve as a forum for connecting with key stakeholder groups. The panels will be organized by the commission co-chairs as the commission gets underway.

Student Advisory Panel

Students from all three U-M campuses are deeply interested in and committed to sustainability with many having focused their studies and research at U-M on the problems associated with climate change. These students will be active and critical partners in the commission’s work. The Student Advisory Panel will serve as a resource for the commission, helping to bring forward student ideas and issues and engaging the student community on all three campuses.

Liaisons to the Commission

Austin Glass, Doctoral Student in the Department of Climate and Space Sciences Engineering 

Logan Vear, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering 

Student Members

Sophie Alphonso, Bachelor of Science in Environment 

Sabrina Butcher, Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy (2021)

Grant Faber, Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability (2021)

Kristen Hayden, Bachelor of Science in Environment, Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Sciences (2020)

Marc Jaruzel, Master in Public Policy (2020)

Virginia Lefever, Master of Public Health 

Mitch Mead, Bachelor of Arts in Architecture (2021)

Jake North, Bachelor of Science in Engineering (2020)

Christian Noyce, Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Justice (2020)

Gregory Phillips, Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability, Masters of Business Administration (2020)

Liana Smale, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor in Environment (2020)

Noah Weaverdyck, Doctoral Student in the Physics Department (2021)

U-M Dearborn Student Member, forthcoming 

U-M Flint Student Member, forthcoming 

Faculty Expert Advisory Panel

U-M faculty members are leading scholars and researchers in areas that will be explored by the commission including but not limited to climate change, energy, economics, public policy and human behavior. This panel will be a group of faculty and other experts that will be called upon by the commission as it explores various questions and solutions related to lowering emissions and achieving carbon neutrality.

University Advisory Panel

Given the broad scope of the commission's charge, there are many U-M units, groups and offices that are critical to the commission’s work in understanding the current situation, exploring approaches and solutions for different campuses and areas of the university, and engaging key communities throughout the process. This panel will include representatives from: UM-Dearborn; UM-Flint; UM-Athletics; Michigan Medicine; Government Relations; Communications; Office of Student Life; Utilities; Architecture, Engineering and Construction; Logistics, Transportation and Parking; and Office of the University Planner. Other units and offices may be added as the work develops.

External Advisory Panel

This will be a group of external advisors drawn from the ranks of knowledgeable and interested parties in the university’s broader orbit. It may include other regional community members, business representatives, alumni and members of other external advisory groups active at the university in relevant areas.

Internal Analysis Teams

The University of Michigan (UM) President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality (PCCN) has secured faculty leadership for eight internal analysis teams. Each team is tasked with conducting in-depth research and analysis on a specific topic related to carbon neutrality pathways. All analyses conducted by these internal teams will be submitted to the Commission for consideration and potential inclusion in the PCCN recommendations.

Building Standards

Faculty Lead: Jen Maigret

Team Scope

The building standards analysis team has been charged with evaluating current and emerging best practices regarding the adoption, implementation, and long-term efficacy of building code policies to improve sustainable building performance outcomes with a particular focus on achieving carbon emission reduction targets. The scope of this analysis will be centered around four areas of building design and construction that have the potential to contribute significantly to carbon emissions reductions. These are energy, water, site, and materials. Additionally, a range of secondary dimensions will be considered including, but not limited to, prescriptive versus performance-based criteria, initial costs compared with payback periods, specification standards and post-construction commissioning, operations and maintenance and code targets for new construction versus renovations.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
Energy Consumption

Faculty Lead: Tom Lyon

Team Scope

The Energy Consumption team has been charged with evaluating potential budgetary/financial mechanisms to decrease energy usage across the university. The analysis will likely consider dimensions such as an internal carbon tax, revolving loan fund, project payback criteria, etc. The project will take place in three main stages: 1) understanding current university policies, incentive structures, and performance, 2) gathering information about best practices at other universities and institutions, and 3) developing a set of specific recommendations for UM.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
Commuting

Faculty Lead: Jonathan Levine

Team Scope

The commuting team will develop an approach to measuring the carbon impact of the commute to the three University of Michigan campuses; will study approaches used by peer institutions to reducing the carbon impact of the commute and their effectiveness; will adapt promising approaches used elsewhere to the specific conditions of the UM campuses and their surrounding areas; and will develop prioritized recommendations for reducing the commute’s carbon footprint, including metrics and indicators for tracking progress.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
University Travel

Faculty Co-Leads: John Williams & Ming Xu

Team Scope

The University Travel team analysis will include six different goals: 1) to compile all published literature on travel footprints, footprint of academic meetings, university and other travel policies, 2) to determine quantitatively the amount of University travel, 3) to understand why University personnel travel, 4) to propose ways to educate the University community to consider the carbon footprint when deciding whether travel is warranted and how to carry it out to minimize the carbon footprint, 5) to propose a system of offsets for travelers to use, and 6) to propose changes for travel-related data management systems.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
Food

Faculty Co-Leads: Lesli Hoey & Andrew Jones

Team Scope

The Food Analysis team is charged with evaluating and recommending approaches to decrease the GHG footprint associated with food consumption at UM. Considerations may include sourcing, certifications, volume reduction, disposal, offsets, etc. The team’s work will focus attention on the role that dining services play in shaping the UM food system and will include mapping UM’s dining services supply chains, existing data and current practices relevant to greenhouse gas emissions reductions across UM dining services.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
Bio sequestration

Faculty Co-Leads: Heather Dawson & Rebecca Tonietto

Team Scope

The Bio sequestration team will evaluate and recommend optimal approaches for potential biological sequestration projects on and off-campus. The team defines its scope as having three overarching goals: 1) assessment of current UM landholdings, 2) categorization of land use on these properties, and 3) evaluation of land-use changes, where possible, that would maximize biosequestration potential. Additionally, the team will evaluate opportunities and challenges of different methods for changing land use, at multiple scales, to increase sequestration.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
Campus Culture and Communication

Faculty Co-Leads Samer Ali & Joseph Trumpey

Team Scope

The Campus Culture and Communication team will evaluate existing communicative structures and recommend new strategies to raise awareness, enhance personal investment, and drive behavioral change. This includes: (a) finding key moments in time that capture large cohorts of our broad community; (b) hosting town hall meetings where stakeholders can learn and share perspectives; (c) staging old and new media campaigns; (d) behavioral incentives, along the lines of the M-Healthy Rewards (e) collaborating with existing stakeholders to support cultural change. This could include suggestions for how to best organize existing infrastructure and how to enhance, rebrand or reorganize to become more aligned with a centralized carbon mission.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming
External Collaboration

Faculty Co-Leads: Andy Hoffman & Trish Koman

Team Scope

The External Collaboration team has been charged with evaluating opportunities for collaborations focused on scaling and replicating high-impact solutions. Examples may include local and regional partnerships, collaborative education initiatives, mitigation and resilience policy, etc.

Student Team Members

  • Forthcoming

U-M Staff Collaborators

  • Forthcoming

     

Commission Sub Groups

In the course of its work thus far, the Commission has constituted various sub-groups to drive progress more efficiently than would be possible meeting only in plenary. Commission sub-group topics include the following:

Carbon Accounting

Content to come

Fleet Electrification

Content to come