Analysis Teams

The U-M President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality (PCCN) has been supported by numerous internal analysis teams, commission sub-groups, and external consulting firms. Each group researched and assessed potential recommendations on specific topics related to carbon neutrality at U-M.

Upon concluding their analyses, teams submitted reports containing recommendations related to their scope of work, while the work of some other teams continues. The reports developed by these teams are linked to below. The reports are inputs to the PCCN process and are informing commission deliberations. These reports do not reflect Commission-level recommendations, and should neither be interpreted as being recommendations of the PCCN nor carrying its endorsement.

Biosequestration Analysis

Faculty Co-Leads: Heather Dawson & Rebecca Tonietto

Team Scope

Final Biosequestration Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The biosequestration 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

  • Nicole Blankertz, undergraduate student
  • Hannah Mosiniak, graduate student
  • Lara O’Brien, graduate student
  • Caleb Short, undergraduate student
  • Chenyang Su, graduate student
  • Cyrus Van Haitsma, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Andy Berki, Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Ann Arbor Facilities and Operations
  • Dearborn Facilities and Operations
  • Flint Facilities and Operations
  • School for Environment and Sustainability Facilities 
Building Standards Analysis

Faculty Lead: Lars Junghans and Jen Maigret

Team Scope

Final Building Standards Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

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

  • McHugh Carroll, graduate student
  • Hannah Irish, undergraduate student
  • Mitch Mead, undergraduate student
  • Shuhaib Nawawi, graduate student
  • Nicole Rusk, graduate student
  • Kay Wright, undergraduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Andy Berki, Office of Campus Sustainability 
  • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)
Campus Culture and Communication Analysis

Faculty Co-Leads Samer Ali & Joseph Trumpey

Team Scope

Final Campus Culture and Communication Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The campus culture and communication analysis 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

  • Meg Czerwinski, graduate student
  • Ben Ingall, undergraduate student
  • Lisa Maillard, graduate student
  • Chris Merchant, graduate student
  • Madeline Peery, undergraduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Alumni Association 
  • Campus Farm
  • Islamophobia Working Group

  • LSA National Center for Institutional Diversity 
  • Office of Campus Sustainability 
  • Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Planet Blue 
  • Student Life 
Carbon Accounting Analysis

Group Lead: Greg Keoleian

Carbon Accounting Modeling Project Report (PDF)

Phase I - Emissions Accounting Methodology
The carbon accounting subgroup spent the Fall 2019 semester verifying appropriate emissions accounting methods based on current scientific knowledge of global warming potentials, 20- vs. 100-year impact analysis, and the impacts of supply chain losses. The group also examined fugitive methane emissions from natural gas supplies from their point of origin to delivery on the campus. At President Schlissel’s request, the group compiled information on this issue, and a memo delivering their analyses can be found here.

Key Contributors

  • Austin Glass, UM doctoral student
  • Catie Hausman, UM faculty
  • Kenneth Keeler, UM Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Eric Kort, UM faculty
  • Geoff Lewis, UM staff
  • Daniel Raimi, UM faculty

Phase 2 – Carbon Accounting Modeling Project
The group is now developing a carbon accounting model to be the engine of the PCCN’s overall planning and decision-making framework throughout phase three of the work. The group is constructing the model to evaluate scenarios of demand reduction and energy supply decarbonization strategies, and to illustrate the resulting carbon reduction trajectories for U-M. This modeling effort will continue through fall 2020 and will include a more comprehensive characterization of the U-M emissions baseline and the reduction potential of carbon reduction strategies.

Key Contributors

  • Stephen Hilton, UM student
  • Nate Hua, UM student
  • Nicholas Kemp, UM student
  • Geoff Lewis, UM staff
  • Michael Mazor, UM staff
Commuting Analysis

Faculty Lead: Jonathan Levine

Team Scope

Final Commuting Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The commuting analysis 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

  • Griffin Barron, undergraduate student
  • Samuel Maves, undergraduate student
  • Abas Shkembi, undergraduate student
  • Gwyndolyn Sofka, graduate student
  • James Woolridge, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Stephen Dolen, Logistics, Transportation, and Parking
  • Ken Keeler, Office of Campus Sustainability 
  • Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program
Deep Energy Retrofits

SmithGroup Inc. was selected by the Commission to perform a building energy and carbon impact study to analyze and find substantial reductions in Energy Use Intensity (EUI) through deep energy retrofits, and to identify specific potential energy reduction ideas to yield the greatest reduction in carbon impact on the Art and Architecture Building. The goal of the study was to determine what it would take to drive emissions down as far as possible for a singular pre-existing building and to establish a process for building evaluation that could be applied to future building studies at the university. The following report details the findings of SmithGroup's study.

Building Energy Efficiency Study (PDF)

Energy Consumption Policies Analysis

Faculty Lead: Tom Lyon

Team Scope

Final Energy Consumption Policies Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The energy consumption policies analysis 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

  • Jessica Carlin, undergraduate student
  • Lyanda Dudley, graduate student
  • Taylor Lind, undergraduate student
  • Larson Lovdal, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Kevin Morgan, UM Facilities and Operations
  • Athletics Department
  • Life Sciences Institute
  • Michigan Medicine
  • Office of Campus Sustainability 
  • School for Environment and Sustainability Faculty Members
  • Student Life Department
Environmental Justice Analysis

Sub Group Lead: Larissa Larsen

Team Scope of Work

The environmental justice subgroup explored the social equity impacts arising from potential commission recommendations, and how these may be addressed in efforts to achieve carbon neutrality. Accordingly, the subgroup’s analysis intersects with the findings of multiple other teams.

The group’s work has been informed by a variety of sources, including, but not limited to:

  • Historical climate justice movements’ bundling of social and environmental issues into a single movement;
  • Benchmarking of 31 peer institutions, localities, states, and nations to understand how social equity and justice considerations are included in climate action and sustainability plans, and;
  • A climate justice and community-based environmental justice literature

Key Contributors

  • Daphne Onsay, UM graduate student
  • Ifeoluwa Owolabi, UM graduate student
  • Roshan Krishan, UM graduate student
External Collaboration Analysis

Faculty Co-Leads: Andy Hoffman & Trish Koman

Team Scope

Final External Collaboration Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The external collaboration analysis 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

  • Gopichand Alla, graduate student
  • Amelia Brinkerhoff, graduate student
  • Zoie Chang, undergraduate student
  • Wenjie Liu, graduate student
  • Erin O’Shaughnessy, undergraduate student
  • Mara Page, graduate student
  • Joe Samulski, undergraduate student
  • Anya Shapiro, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Ginsberg Center
  • Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program 
Food Analysis

Faculty Co-Leads: Lesli Hoey & Andrew Jones

Team Scope

Final Food Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The food analysis team is charged with evaluating and recommending approaches to decrease the GHG footprint associated with food consumption at U-M. 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 U-M’s dining services supply chains, existing data and current practices relevant to greenhouse gas emissions reductions across U-M dining services.

Student Team Members

  • Caroline Baloga, undergraduate student
  • Sarah Bellaire, graduate student
  • Rebecca Harley, undergraduate student
  • Marc Jaruzel, graduate student
  • Nathalie Lambrecht, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Alex Bryan, UM Sustainable Food Program
  • Steve Mangan, Michigan Dining
  • Jeremy Moghtader, UM Campus Farm
  • Keith Soster, Michigan Dining
  • MDining 
  • Michigan Medicine 
  • Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design
  • Procurement 
  • Ross School of Business 
  • School for Environment and Sustainability 
  • Sustainable Living Experience
  • University Unions
Heat and Power Infrastructure Analysis

Summary: Carbon Neutral Power & Heat Infrastructure Study (PDF)
Full Report: Carbon Neutral Power & Heat Infrastructure Study (PDF)

After forming a subgroup to shape the scope of work, the PCCN issued a request for quote (RFQ) in July 2019 seeking an external firm to evaluate potential pathways for evolving UM’s heating and power generation infrastructure toward carbon neutrality. See here for the full Heat and Power Infrastructure RFQ. In October, the Commission selected Integral Group to complete the work, which will run through April 2020. Integral Group has completed several similar studies at campus- and city-scale in locations within and outside the United States. The project, which is receiving staff support from a range of U-M Facilities and Operations staff, will follow a four-stage process:

  1. Developing in-depth knowledge about historic energy consumption, and campus infrastructure characteristics;
  2. Leveraging information to create a dynamic, iterative process to explore and analyze a range of strategies;
  3. Selecting several options for conceptual design; modeling pinpoint emissions reductions; financial analysis;
  4. Delivering a plan that provides a roadmap for decarbonizing UM’s heat and power infrastructure.

Key Contributors

  • James Adams, UM Utilities
  • Malcolm Bambling, UM Utilities
  • Andrew Berki, UM Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Sam Brooks, Integral Group
  • Justin Chin, Integral Group
  • Greg Kats, Integral Group
  • Kenneth Keeler, UM Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Jennie Kim, Integral Group
  • Sara Lappano, Integral Group
  • Vladamir Milkler, Integral Group
  • Kevin Morgan, UM Office of Campus Sustainability
  • Shreshth Nagpal, Integral Group
  • Tom Prince, UM Utilities
  • Dan Stanish, UM Facilities and Operations
  • Mike Swanson, UM Utilities
  • Natalie Vadeboncoeur, Integral Group
  • Eric Van Nus, Integral Group
Mobility Electrification Analysis

Sub Group Lead: Anna Stefanopoulou

Final Mobility Electrification Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The mobility electrification subgroup is investigating benefits and challenges in shifting UM’s buses and other vehicles to electric battery technology. The group is working closely with U-M Facilities and Operations on possible design and funding options, and the PCCN is supportive of pursuing the concept. See here for the group's scope of work.

Key Contributors

  • Andrew Berki, UM Office of Campus Sustainability
  • John DeCicco, UM Energy Institute
  • Stephen Dolen, UM Logistics, Transportation, and Parking
  • Austin Glass, UM doctoral student
  • Kamryn Hayes, UM undergraduate student
  • Brandon Hofmeister, CMS Energy
  • Gregory Keoleian, UM faculty
  • William McAllister, UM Logistics, Transportation, and Parking
  • Jason Siegel, UM College of Engineering
  • Camilo Serna, DTE 
  • Missy Stults, City of Ann Arbor
  • Wencong Su, UM-Dearborn faculty
  • Juan Sun, UM College of Engineering graduate student
  • Preston VanAlstine, UM undergraduate student
University-Sponsored Travel Analysis

Faculty Co-Leads: John Williams & Ming Xu

Team Scope

Final University-Sponsored Travel Analysis Team Report and Recommendations (PDF)

The university-sponsored travel team analysis will include six different goals: 1) to compile all published literature on travel footprints, the 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

  • Hyo Sub Choi, graduate student
  • William Chown, undergraduate student
  • Jiangzhou Fu, graduate student
  • Nate Hua, graduate student
  • You Lyu, graduate student
  • Monica Yen, graduate student

U-M Staff and Department Collaborators

  • Athletics Department 
  • Institute for Social Research 
  • Office of Financial Aid
  • Procurement Services
  • Provost's Office 
  • Rackham Graduate School
  • Shared Services Center
  • Sustainability Cultural Indicators Program