Community Awareness

We will pursue stakeholder engagement, education, and evaluation strategies toward a campus-wide ethic of sustainability.


Campus has more than 2400 Planet Blue Ambassadors who have undergone training directly linked to U-M’s sustainability goals in energy, food, waste, water and community. This past year, they completed nearly 22,000 individual sustainable actions, such as using reusable water bottles or turning off their computers at night. Our water bottle initiative has provided a free Planet Blue water bottle to more than 24,000 undergraduate students. The university has over 300 water filling stations on campus for students, faculty and staff to fill up their bottles. More than 2,800 staff members are engaging in green operations through the Sustainable Workplace program.

Finally, several thousand students, faculty, and staff have completed the annual Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program survey. Survey results are being widely used to inform campus sustainability behavior and awareness initiatives.

Projects and Initiatives


Updates on the Sustainability Goals

Central Power Plant Expansion Timeline

In response to recent questions, the Central Power Plant expansion timeline has not changed since it was announced in October 2018. The project, which will significantly reduce U-M's greenhouse gas emissions, is expected to be completed winter 2021.

The university has engaged the U-M community, as well as the local community, on this project and its progress since it was first introduced as one of the recommendations from a committee – comprising students, faculty and staff – in October 2015.

Since that time, there have been numerous stories in the University Record, as well as the Michigan Daily and MLive; opportunities for public comment on the project during the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s air permit process; numerous public tours of the Central Power Plant as well as U-M hosted community meetings on the project in October 2017 and November 2018.

If you have questions, feel free to email us at

Carbon Neutrality and 2025 Greenhouse Gas Goal Update

President Schlissel announced October 4, 2018 that U-M will pursue a path toward carbon neutrality. Schlissel also affirmed that we are on track to meet or exceed our existing goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.

To achieve the 25% reduction, U-M is installing a natural gas turbine in the Central Power Plant and pursuing a renewable-energy purchase agreement to reduce emissions.

The turbine will reduce U-M’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 80,000 metric tons annually, bringing us about halfway to the 2025 goal. The Central Power Plant uses co-generation to generate electricity from steam that would otherwise be wasted, resulting in an overall efficiency of 70-80%—much higher than conventional power plants. This project was recommended in the 2015 report from the President’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Committee as “the single largest contributor to meeting the 2025 target.” Also, the State of Michigan Energy Office and the City of Ann Arbor’s Climate Action Plan recommend expansion of co-generation as part of the future energy mix.

The power purchase agreement under negotiation will enable U-M to procure large-scale renewable energy generated in Michigan. The agreement will reduce our emissions by replacing a portion of the electricity we purchase with renewable energy such as solar or wind. Emissions associated with the electricity we purchase, which currently relies heavily on coal, are included in our goal. Therefore, increasing the portion of our purchased electricity that comes from renewable sources will reduce our overall emissions.