Meeting Summaries

Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
August 2, 2019


Hank Baier, Liz Barry, Andrew Berki, Anthony Denton, Austin Glass, Steve Forrest, Jennifer Haverkamp, Brandon Hofmeister, Drew Horning, Greg Keoleian, Camilo Serna, Logan Vear

Regrets: Larissa Larsen, Jonathan Overpeck, Barry Rabe, Missy Stults, Anna Stefanopoulou, Lisa Wozniak


Meeting began at 1:33 pm


Heat and Power Infrastructure Request for Proposal (RFP)

The UM Procurement office issued the Heat and Power Infrastructure RFP last week. It will be out for a month to allow firms to ask questions and submit bids. A commission subgroup will review the proposals and identify finalists to interview in September. The selected firm will likely begin work in October.

Internal Analysis Teams

Most of the faculty leads for the internal analysis teams have agreed to serve.

The first internal analysis team deliverable will be due August 18, and will contain information related to the scope of each team’s work, desired student intern qualifications to aid in hiring, and recommendations on UM staff roles that will be key to the success of the team. A draft charter document has been created to guide and standardize the internal analysis team work. This document is currently going through revisions based on team feedback, and will be shared with the Commission members for comment. The student advisory panel will also be invited to comment. A final version of this document will be included in the PCCN fall interim report in October.

Michigan Medicine

A subset of the Commission recently met with SVP/COO Tony Denton and other members of the UM Health System team. While there, they learned about the health system’s work with Practice Green Health, the health system’s energy efficiency, and waste reduction programs, and the health system’s sustainability initiatives moving forward. It was an informative conversation that will help guide future Commission discussion.

Fall Engagement and Communications


The Commission is developing an engagement strategy and roadmap for the fall semester and into 2020. There was also discussion of developing a short informational video about the PCCN scope, composition, and each individual internal analysis team to quickly inform people who may not be able to participate in engagement events.

The Commission is working towards a joint event with the City of Ann Arbor that would optimally take place following the release of the fall interim report. There was emphasis on a community education event focused around how to practically achieve carbon neutrality (i.e., transportation, natural gas, electric grid, etc.). It was also mentioned that discussing the scope of the PCCN, in the context of UM being a key part of the City, could be a beneficial topic for the Commission on which to receive feedback.

There was a discussion on targeted engagement ideas. Some of those mentioned include:

  • UM Flint and UM Dearborn
  • UM alumni groups
  • UM schools and colleges
  • Internal analysis team engagements (e.g., commuting)
  • Regional partners and players
  • Different constituencies who don’t normally engage in carbon neutrality discussions


The Office of Vice President for Communications is hiring into a new position focused on sustainability issues who will assist in communications for the PCCN. An early task for this individual will be to put together a communication plan for the PCCN.

    Emission Scope Considerations

    The Commission discussed a range of options, unknowns and potential next steps regarding scope 1 and 2 emissions. Comparable discussions around Scope 3 emissions will occur after the internal analysis teams begin their activities.

    Fossil-fuel powered equipment (non-transportation)

    This category includes emissions from gasoline-powered maintenance equipment such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers, for which the University has data and which are included in the 2025 goal. Efforts are underway to transition this equipment to electric power when comparably performing substitutes are available.  This category also includes compressed gases used in research labs, which are not included in the 2025 goal and need further investigation to quantify.

    On-campus Fugitive Emissions

    Efforts to assess the status and importance of fugitive methane emissions to the new power plant are underway. To accurately quantify these emissions, UM may need to rely on federal data to estimate emissions and/or perform localized tests across campus.

    Purchased electricity

    Purchased electricity is already included in UM Ann Arbor’s 2025 goal. UM has a commitment with DTE for supplying more of our energy needs with wind power beginning in 2021, but needs to identify the right time to further invest in renewables. The Commission will form a sub group to begin looking into this. At a future Commission meeting, DTE and Consumers will help the Commission understand the constraints to their capacity to build and buy renewables in the future.

    Reducing Energy Use

    Members discussed the need for energy conservation and efficiency.  The Commission will form a sub group to consider the contents for a potential energy efficiency RFP to look at a systems-level approach to energy efficiency. Energy conservation and efficiency is also expected to be a significant focus of two internal analysis teams – Building Standards, and Energy Consumption Policies.

    Developing Processes for Recommending Carbon Neutrality Timelines

    The commission discussed a range of factors to consider in recommending a date for carbon neutrality, such as environmental and economic realities and technological developments. There could be different phased goals to reach carbon neutrality depending on factors such as scope categories and UM campus boundaries. Members noted the possibility of revisiting any date selected in light of changes in technology.

    The Commission had a preliminary discussion around the role of offsets in carbon neutrality. UM could take actions focused on minimizing scope 3 emissions that are out of UM’s full control, and thus will require the purchase of offsets to neutralize them. There was a understanding that some offsets would be needed to get to carbon neutrality, but that offsets have less impact than direct reductions. Concerns were raised about the potential costs and sources of funding for offsets, should they be looked to as a significant way of meeting an ambitious goal. 

    Meeting adjourned 3:35 pm

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    July 19, 2019


    Liz Barry, Andrew Berki, Anthony Denton, Stephen Forrest, Austin Glass, Brandon Hofmeister, Andrew Horning, Gregory Keoleian, Barry Rabe, Missy Stults, Lisa Wozniak

    Regrets: Henry Baier, Jennifer Haverkamp, Larissa Larsen, Jonathan Overpeck, Camilo Serna, Anna Stefanopoulou, Logan Vear

    Meeting began 1:33 pm



    The co-chairs will consult soon with President Schlissel regarding the merits of joining the University Climate Change Coalition, and the responsibilities associated with membership.

    Faculty Advisory Panel

    A sub-group reported on its initial discussions regarding the optimal roles and potential make-up of the panel. Members view the panel as a conduit between the Commission and the university units, and as an important sounding board representing a key stakeholder group (UM faculty). In addition, the panel might take on particular initiatives (e.g., developing recommendations on organizational structure considerations, best practices for faculty engagement, theme semester ideas, etc.). Views regarding panel membership included that it should be representative of the breadth of expertise across the university, and should include some faculty who are not steeped in sustainability and bring other important perspectives and experience.

    Carbon Accounting Sub Group

    The sub-group is developing a recommendation regarding fugitive methane emissions for the Commission to consider. The sub-group is also working to identify methodologies, data gaps and uncertainties regarding scope 3 emissions. The group plans to work with several internal analysis teams to ensure activities are complementary throughout the process. This work should help in informing boundary definitions and establishing baselines.

    RFP Status

    The scope of work document for the carbon neutral heat and power analysis is now complete and will be distributed shortly by UM Procurement to external bidders.

    Internal Analysis Teams

    PCCN staff is close to finalizing commitments from faculty leads/co-leads (as identified by the Commission) for the analysis teams, and has put together a team charter with uniform expectations, timelines and deliverables. The Commission’s discussion of the internal analysis teams included how it would oversee their work and emphasized the need to find multiple ways for UM Flint and UM Dearborn to engage with the projects.

    Ross Integrative Semester Project

    Commissioners were advised that carbon neutrality will be the theme of the fall integrative semester experience for Ross Business School undergraduates, and that Ross would welcome commissioners’ help in judging student project presentations in October.

    Fall PCCN Public Engagement

    The Commission agreed to prioritize public engagement throughout the fall, and discussed ways to engage the broader community and identify opportunities to foster awareness, buy-in, and involvement across all constituencies. Examples include:

    • Holding a UM-Ann Arbor campus town hall in September
    • Hosting similar community gatherings on the Dearborn and Flint campuses
    • Possible inclusion in new faculty orientation during the last week of August.
    • Possible inclusion in new student orientation, which is already exploring ways to incorporate more sustainability content into their programming
    • UM’s Office of Communications is hiring a new position to focus exclusively on sustainability which will include working to communicate the Commission’s work.

    System Boundaries – Continuing Discussion

    Scope Category Boundaries

    Commission members continued their discussion of which categories of emissions to include in their scope, with a strong preference for inclusivity. There was general agreement regarding how various types of Scope 3 emissions (e.g., waste disposal, commuting, food purchasing, etc.) should be classified with respect to the ability to accurately calculate their GHG footprint and control reductions.

    Geographic Boundaries

    Commissioners were briefed on U-M property holdings and discussed which to include in the scope. Approximately 95% of UM’s facility square footage is owned, while 5% is leased. In addition, 86% of UM facilities are already included in the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emission accounting for the 2025 GHG emissions reductions goal. Those not included are outside the Ann Abor area, with a handful located in other U.S. states and countries. There was strong support for including all owned facilities in GHG emissions calculations and associated goals going forward.

    There was support for including leased facilities in the scope, but recognition that more analysis needs to be done. There was agreement that if a facility is owned or leased and already included in the current goal, UM should continue accounting for it and include it in the scope. There was interest in considering how to ensure future leased facilities will be held up to UM’s environmental standards. A next step is to map UM GHG emissions by building categories.

    Meeting adjourned 3:29 pm

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    June 28, 2019


    Andrew Berki, Brandon Hofmeister, Andrew Horning, Austin Glass, Barry Rabe, Gregory Keoleian, Henry Baier, Jennifer Haverkamp, Lisa Wozniak, Liz Barry, Stephen Forrest

    Regrets: James Holloway, Anthony Denton, Larissa Larsen, Missy Stults, Anna Stefanopoulou, Logan Vear, Camilo Serna

    Meeting began at 1:32pm

    Subgroup Updates

    Heat and Power Infrastructure RFP

    The sub group recently met and discussed details that needed to be added to the draft RFP (e.g., timelines, deliverables, etc.). The sub group is now reviewing a revised draft and is aiming to issue a final RFP in early/mid July.

    Internal Analysis Team Faculty Leads

    The sub group has identified potential faculty leaders for the internal analysis teams and will begin the process of securing their commitments. The Commission decided that serving as a faculty lead need not preclude a faculty member from also serving on the faculty advisory panel. Next steps for the sub group include creating a formal charge for each internal team that adequately explains the expectations, scope of work, etc. The Commission anticipates an iterative process of engagement with and guidance of the internal analysis teams throughout the project timeline.

    Carbon Accounting

    The sub group recently met and preliminarily discussed a variety of key issues, such as lifecycle accounting of fuels, global warming potential time horizons for methane, etc. Next steps for the sub group will be to secure additional research assistance support and develop a good benchmark of what U-M and other universities are doing within the carbon accounting space.

    Fleet Electrification

    The sub group is currently working on a feasibility study identifying good routes for electric buses, a cost assessment study for en-route chargers to mitigate risks on cold-weather ranges, and identifying external funding sources to subsidize electric bus purchases.

    Early Actions

    The sub group is prioritizing the list of activities that have been identified as potential early actions for the Commission to recommend.

    Faculty Advisory Panel

    The sub group will meet in early July to consider the structure and process of the Faculty Advisory Panel. There is a strong desire to include disciplines and spaces not currently represented on the Commission (e.g., arts and humanities, economics, U-M Flint, U-M Dearborn, etc.).

    Defining Scope – Initial Discussion

    Emission Categories

    The Commission discussed possible criteria for deciding which categories of GHG emissions should be included in U-M’s accounting and goals. Commissioners were in general agreement that efforts should be taken to mitigate emissions across all relevant scopes and categories, but that their inclusion in, and timelines for, the University’s carbon neutrality goals may vary based on a variety of key factors, including the ability to measure, relative GHG footprint, U-M’s influence in affecting change, and the experiences of other institutions.

    With Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions clearly within the Commission’s charge, the discussion of categories focused largely on how to address Scope 3 emissions. It was noted that universities with GHG reduction or neutrality goals typically include emissions from commuting, university- sponsored travel, and waste disposal, and that UM has means for measuring (with relative ease though varying degees of accuracy) these types of emissions. Emissions from general purchasing (e.g., food, equipment, supplies, etc.) could be estimated using general input/output models. A discussion of emissions related to off-campus student housing noted the opportunities to work creatively with the City of Ann Arbor as well as the challenges of measurement and question of whether such emissions fit within the GHG Protocol.

    Geographic Boundaries

    The Commission also held an initial discussion of which U-M properties and facilities should be included in its charge, in light of the wide range of U-M’s land and building footprint that exists beyond the boundaries of U-M’s primary campuses. Those properties within the boundaries of U-M Ann Arbor campus are already included in the 2025 goal, but those beyond are not. Commission members noted the GHG sequestration properties of U-M’s many field stations and preserves. Leased facilities and Michigan Medicine satellite units were discussed briefly. There are many different types of leased space throughout the state, and even a few nationally and globally. Michigan Medicine also has a wide range of facilities throughout the state, some of which are wholly-owned, some that are leased, and some where U-M has affiliation agreements with other providers.

    As next steps, the Commission plans to develop principles for recommending what should be included and excluded from our GHG accounting and goals, and Facilities and Operations were asked to generate a list of university properties to help determine materiality and scope.

    Meeting ended at 3:30 pm

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    May 31, 2019


    Andrew Berki, Andrew Horning, Anna Stefanopoulou, Austin Glass, Barry Rabe, Camilo Serna, Gregory Keoleian, Henry Baier, Jennifer Haverkamp, Lisa Wozniak, Liz Barry, Logan Vear, Missy Stults, Jonathan Overpeck, Stephen Forrest Regrets: Anthony Denton, Brandon Hofmeister, James Holloway, Larissa Larsen

    Meeting started at 1:35pm


    There was a discussion about the definition and framing of early actions the Commission might take and recommend to the Administration. Those considered most likely to be favorably received by the Administration at this stage in the Commission’s work are interim actions that support the Commission in its efforts to develop a robust plan, as opposed to one-off technical solutions or actions that might constrain the range of options the Commission could consider down the road.

    University Engagement Ideas

    There was a brief discussion of non-technical actions the commission might consider supporting to pave the way for the plan that will emerge from its work. There was general support for creating an onboarding module for new U-M community members to educate them on climate change and how U-M is addressing it. . As a next step, this idea will likely be a topic for the Culture and Communications analysis team but some would prefer to move more quickly.

    University Climate Change Coalition (UC3)

    Gina Stovall from Second Nature joined the meeting by phone to brief the commission on the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). A description of the coalition is available here: This presentation was followed by a commission- only discussion about the merits of joining the coalition, with members supporting further exploration of the idea.

    Commission Sub-group updates

    A variety of commission sub-groups have been formed and will be meeting in the coming weeks to begin their work. Topics include: fleet electrification, carbon accounting and methane leakage, potential interim actions, and internal analysis team faculty lead selection.

    External Infrastructure Analysis

    There was a discussion regarding the urgency of commissioning an external analysis to evaluate options for transitioning campus energy infrastructure to carbon neutral outcomes. A decision was made to proceed with developing and issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) on this issue as soon as possible. Also discussed was the likely need to commission an additional external analysis concerning developing an institution-level approach and strategies for high-performance buildings (new and existing facilities). Some additional exploration that is required before drafting the buildings RFP will be a significant focus in the coming weeks.

    Advisory Panels Status

    • Student panel – Up and running and meeting regularly. Still seeking representation from Flint and Dearborn
    • University Units panel – Units representing the breadth of U-M’s activities have been identified. The next step is to reach out to these units to identify representatives
    • External panel – This group primarily will comprise external experts consulted at the commission or analysis team level. These advisors will not likely meet as a group but a subset could conceivably be convened at a major milestone or around a particular issue.
    • Faculty Panel –Commission is identifying liaison(s) to help define the role, composition, and function. This will be a priority in the coming weeks.

    Meeting ended at 3:32 pm

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    May 3, 2019


    Jennifer Haverkamp, Steve Forrest, Drew Horning, Anna Stefanopoulou, Gregory Keoleian, Hank Baier, Larissa Larsen, Missy Stults, Jonathan Overpeck, Logan Vear, Austin Glass, Brandon Hofmeister, Lisa Wozniak, Barry Rabe, Tony Denton, Liz Barry, James Holloway


    Regrets: Camilo Serna, Andrew Berki

    1:33pm Meeting begins

    Updates on developments since the last meeting

    The meeting opened with an update on the work plan, which is now posted on the website.

    While the work plan emphasizes the criticality of stakeholder involvement, one member further emphasized the importance of ensuring that internal and external analyses directly involve non-technical experts who are likely to be affected by recommended actions.

    An update was also provided regarding a mini Town Hall involving people from the Taubman College and Stamps school communities.

    It was announced that the Commission’s Project Coordinator has been hired and will begin on May 29, 2019.

    Externally-Commissioned Infrastructure Analysis

    This discussion focused on shaping the process for conducting an externally-commissioned analysis to evaluate campus infrastructure and what would be required to move it toward carbon neutrality. Commissioners touched on several key elements they felt should be addressed as part of the analysis, including:

    • Recognize the scale involved given the inclusion of the Health System and the Flint and Dearborn campuses (note: Dearborn & Flint do not yet have an emissions inventory)
    • Distinguish between campus-wide energy infrastructure and building-level considerations
    • Segment building stock based on usage type (e.g., office/classroom, residential, low-tech lab, hi-tech lab, patient care, data centers, etc.)
    • Assess optimal usage of existing building stock
    • Assess energy distribution infrastructure capacity, needs, etc.
    • Address transportation infrastructure opportunities extending beyond the campus alongside local and regional partners
    • Identify opportunities that could spur companies to develop new clean energy capacity in the State
    • Identify opportunities where infrastructure decisions could support the circular economy
    • Incorporate consideration of planned future construction in the analysis

    Commissioners proposed to begin with a “Request for Information” to identify what firms have to offer and follow up with more specific “Request for Proposals” based on what services are available and most useful. A sub-group was formed to draft the RFI and bring it back to the Commission to finalize.

    Potential “Early Wins”

    This discussion focused on developing ideas for actions that could potentially be recommended for implementation prior to the completion of the Commission’s work. This began with a discussion to collectively define what the group means by an “early win”. Key elements included:

    • Visible
    • Substantive
    • Virtue signaling
    • Directional
    • Complementary
    • Educational
    • Does not impede future directions or decisions
    • Achievable in the next 6-12 months

    Commissioners also had an initial discussion of various “early win” ideas they had collected prior to the meeting. A commission sub-group is being formed to develop a short list of priorities that align with the Commission’s definition that will be proposed to the full membership for consideration.

    A subgroup was also established to explore the accuracy of UM’s carbon accounting, including assessing losses/leakages throughout the supply chain, as well as fugitive emissions on campus.

    Another subgroup was established to explore possible short-term actions to help accelerate electric vehicle transportation infrastructure on campus.

    3:35pm Meeting adjourned

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    April 12, 2019


    Hank Baier, Andrew Berki, Steve Forrest, Austin Glass, Jennifer Haverkamp, Brandon Hofmeister, Drew Horning, Gregory Keoleian, Larissa Larsen, Jonathan Overpeck, Barry Rabe, Camilo Serna, Anna Stefanopoulou, Missy Stults, Logan Vear, Lisa Wozniak

    Regrets: Liz Barry, Tony Denton, James Holloway

    Started promptly at 1:30pm

    Updates on engagement efforts since the last meeting

    The co-chairs opened with a summary of engagement conducted since the previous meeting, which included engagement with:

    • Academic Planning Group (i.e., U-M Deans)
    • Associate Deans Group
    • Graham Sustainability Institute External Advisory Board
    • Global CO2 Initiative Advisory Group
    • Local A2 citizens advocacy group
    • 2 Town Hall events with roundtable conversations
    • Special Public Session with President Schlissel

    Future engagement:

    • Ongoing engagement and communication in many forms and with many different stakeholders will be essential
    • There are conceptual plans for a town-gown engagement geared toward the broader A2 area community – perhaps in June around the A2 Green Fair
    • Engaging with key decision makers (e.g., President, Board of Regents) at key milestones will be important

    Presentation and discussion on U-M GHG emission reduction – past progress and current status, and plans (Hank Baier and Andy Berki)


    Key notes:

    • Data shown is for Ann Arbor campus only. It does not include Flint and Dearborn which are also in scope for the Commission
    • Forecasts reflect “business as usual” approach and could change based on Commission recommendations that are adopted by the university
    • U-M’s heating infrastructure, which is currently fueled by natural gas, will be a key issue for the Commission to address
    • The State of Michigan and much of the U.S. face similar challenges related to current reliance on natural gas heating infrastructure

    Discussion of Draft Work Plan

    All Commission members had the opportunity to comment on a draft work plan in advance of the meeting, and a revised draft reflecting that input was shared prior to the meeting. This revised draft plan was discussed in detail at the meeting. Based on that discussion further refinements will be made to the work plan with a goal of finalizing it before the next Commission meeting and moving quickly to implementation. The final work plan will be made public.

    Meeting ended 3:05pm.

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    March 11, 2019

    3:30pm – Meeting began

    Co-chairs opened the meeting by summarizing the agenda. This was followed an update from the commission’s administrative director on plans for the Town Hall immediately following the meeting.

    Representatives from U-M’s Office of General Counsel and FOIA Office then briefed the Commission on how the FOIA process works at U-M.

    This was followed by a discussion of the Commission’s operating principles and guidelines

    The co-chairs described engagement efforts to date with students and turned it over to the student commission members to outline the progress being made in developing the student advisory panel. The primary goal is to ensure the panel has diverse representation across university programs, campuses, and topical areas of interest related to climate change and carbon reduction.

    Next, there was a discussion of the potential composition and purpose of the University Advisory Panel. The goal is to make this group large enough that it is representative of all three campuses and all types of major U-M units, while also keeping it small enough to be highly functional.

    Professor Greg Keoleian then gave an informative presentation on GHG emission scopes and their components. Those slides are posted on the Commission’s public website. View/download slides (PDF)

    The presentation was followed by a preliminary discussion of UM GHG emissions by scope, with a particular focus on Scope 3 emissions, which come from a variety of sources including commuting, business travel, solid waste disposal, etc. Commission members discussed the importance and challenges of creating accurate metrics for tracking Scope 3 emissions, and benchmarking how other universities, industries, and communities are addressing Scope 3 emissions. This discussion also included recognition that potential approaches need to be mindful of socio-economic impacts.

    5pm – Meeting adjourned

    Co-Chairs Summary of Commission Meeting
    February 22, 2019

    The meeting opened with President Schlissel giving the charge to the Commission to begin its work on carbon neutrality. He stressed the importance of the objectives of the Commission as set forth in the Charge document, and the commitment of the university to ensuring that we meet the goals set forth in the objectives. He reminded the Commission that its purpose was advisory, to recommend actions that will lead to meeting the university’s goals. The university administration and the Board of Regents’ duty will be to act on those recommendations in a responsible manner, balancing the top priorities of the university, which include setting and meeting goals for carbon neutrality. President Schlissel reviewed the scope of the Commission which includes all three campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn). President Schlissel also reiterated the university’s commitment to and expectation of achieving the 2025 goal of a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2006 baseline, and charged the Commission with focusing its efforts on the path forward beyond 2025.

    After President Schlissel departed, the Commission members introduced themselves to each other, describing their backgrounds, relevant areas of expertise, and interests in working to achieve the Commission's objectives.

    This was followed by the co-chairs setting forth the responsibilities of the Commission members as the work proceeds, and a discussion of the initial focus of work. Topics to be addressed over the next few meetings will include formation of the advisory panels and exploring the scope of the Commission’s work, which will include briefings on how emission scopes are defined and familiarizing members with the baseline, history and status of UM efforts to date.

    The Commission suggested and agreed to host a first public “Town Hall” session as soon as possible to gain additional input from the broader stakeholder community.