Annual report highlights progress toward sustainability

The Office of Sustainability at the University of Notre Dame has released its annual report summarizing the University’s progress toward sustainability over the past year, including ongoing projects related to hydroelectric, geothermal and solar energy and food waste.

Among the highlights:

  • The University ceased burning coal Oct. 15, 2019, more than a year ahead of schedule. This marked a milestone in the University’s progress toward reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 83 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 and eventually become carbon neutral.
  • The University commissioned the East Plant, which utilizes geothermal well fields underneath Ricci Fields to heat and cool Dunne, Flaherty and McCourtney Halls.
  • The University announced a large-scale solar facility partnership with Indiana Michigan Power. The University will receive 40 percent of the output from the facility when it is commissioned.
  • The University broke ground on a 2.5-megawatt hydroelectric generation facility at Seitz Park in South Bend.
  • The University partnered with Grind2Energy and Homestead Dairy to convert food waste to energy at North and South dining halls and the Center for Culinary Excellence.
2019 Sustainability Infographic

In addition, 130 sustainability related courses were offered this academic year in the areas of energy studies, resiliency and Sustainability of Engineering Systems and as part of the sustainability minor.

So far this year, sustainability content was added to the Moreau First Year Experience, and “Take Ten for the Planet” debuted. The latter encourages faculty to discuss sustainability in the classroom the week of Earth Day.

“We continue to drive progress toward the goals set forth in our University Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy with input and support from faculty, administrators and students from across campus,” said Carol Mullaney, senior director of sustainability and logistics at Notre Dame. “On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we pause to reflect on our progress while also acknowledging that there is much work still ahead.”

Notre Dame’s commitment to sustainability is grounded in its Catholic mission and values and acknowledges the link between sustainability and the University’s future. It equates stewardship of the planet with care for God’s creation.

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Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on April 22, 2020.