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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Eric O'Brien
Submission Date March 1, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

University of Northern Iowa
PAE-4: Sustainability Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Eric O'Brien
University Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
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Does the institution have a sustainability plan that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief description of how multiple stakeholder groups were involved in developing the plan:

At the June 12, 2008 meeting of the Iowa Board of Regents, the Board President outlined priorities for the next fiscal year – including a plan for sustainability. He stated that this initiative follows on and extends the very exciting work already underway on Regent campuses and he asked the Regent institutions to develop a plan during the next year to provide an integrated and collaborative effort towards greater sustainability. The board directed that the plan make the Regent institutions leaders in the nation on:
• Operational practices
• Education
• Research
• Economic development

This resulting plan was formed from input from faculty, staff, and administration from the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa, and Iowa State University, along with final approval by the Board of Regents. This plan is now one of the guiding documents in sustainability efforts at the University of Northern Iowa.

A brief description of the plan’s measurable goals :

Eight functional areas have been identified:
1. Planning and Development
• LEED Certification: All major projects (new buildings and major capital renovations) initiated after April 1, 2009 shall meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council's guidelines for silver level LEED certification.
• Design Professional Services Selection: For all major capital projects1 initiated after April 1, 2009, preference shall be given to design professionals with LEED certification experience.
• ASHRAE Energy Standards: All new building and major capital renovation projects that alter mechanical and electrical systems shall exceed the current American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1 requirements, which provides minimum requirements for energy efficient design of buildings.
• Energy Efficient Lighting and Lighting Systems: The design of new lighting and lighting control systems shall comply with the latest version of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers/Illumination Engineering Society of North America (ASHRAE/IESNA) 90.1, Energy-Efficient Design of New Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential. The Lighting quality and light uniformity shall comply with Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Standard, Current Edition.
2. Purchasing
• Energy Efficiency: Institutions shall specify U.S. EPA Energy Star* 2 equivalent or better ratings on applicable energy consuming products when available and practicable. When Energy Star labels are not available, all purchasing units shall choose products that are energy efficient.
• Source Reduction
• Institutions shall purchase products with a minimum of 30% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) recycled content for paper products, or, at the minimum, EPA standard for other products, or bio-based materials, when available and practicable.
• Reduce the use of disposable products. Specify and purchase products that are reusable or refillable wherever feasible and practical
• By July 1, 2012, the Regent institutions’ combined purchases with recycled content will increase by 10% over the base year of FY 2010.
• Buy Local: Institutions shall encourage purchase of locally grown and produced products, defined as within Iowa or a 500 mile radius of the institution, to minimize the environmental costs associated with shipping.
• Green Goods and Services: Institutions shall encourage the use of green certified products and services such as, but not limited to, Green Seal, Egologo, EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), FSC, etc.
• E-procurement:
• Institutions shall strive to achieve paperless processes by reducing the use of paper, toner, storage files and space
• By January 1, 2010, institutions shall require all bidders for goods and services (excluding construction) to:
• submit bids/proposals electronically or, at a minimum, on recycled paper, double-sided and without extra materials not requested
3. Energy and Climate
• Metering: By July 1, 2013, 90 percent of the utilities (steam, condensate, electricity, potable water and chilled water) systems shall be metered at the point of consumption to measure effectively use and waste in the system.
• Energy Portfolio:
• By July 1, 2013, the combined energy portfolio of the Regent institutions shall include at least 10% from renewable sources.
• By 2025, the Regent institutions shall meet the Culver/Judge Energy Legislation Initiative for a renewable standard of 25%
• The Regent institutions shall achieve reductions in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions consistent with the strategies developed by the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council created under Iowa Code § 455B.851 in 2007.
4. Materials and Recycling
• Conserving: Select the duplex setting as the default for printers and copiers, and use recycled toner whenever possible.
5. Transportation
• Emissions: Regent institutions shall reduce the emissions related to the campus fleet through:
• Increasing E85 and biodiesel alternate fuels while increasing the percentage of Flex Fuel, hybrid and electric vehicles in each fleet.
• Increasing the number of passenger miles traveled (number of passengers times the miles traveled) in university fleet vehicles, relative to total fleet mileage.
• Reducing the number of vehicles used for transportation of employees and guests to/from airports.
• Initiating discussions with Risk Management personnel to resolve Worker’s Compensation issues to allow Regents’ fleet vehicles to transport other state, county, municipal, and governmental staff and officials on coordinated travel.
• Increasing efforts to reduce vehicle idling.
• Alternative Transportation: Regent institutions shall strive to reduce the number of single occupant vehicles coming to campus through:
• Creating new or expanding programs or partnerships with municipalities and local bus, van pool and ride share systems to provide alternatives to commuting alone.
• Increasing parking system controls or incentives to encourage alternatives and achieve reductions in the number of single passenger commuter vehicles.
• Expanding the use of teleconferences, video conferencing, and interactive webinars with geographically distant individuals
• Coordinating travel of employees attending the same event.
• Encouraging walking and biking by enhancing safe walking paths, bike lanes, and other bicycle programs such as bike storage.
• Exploring work alternatives and alternative scheduling that meets the needs of the institution.

6. Water and Landscape
• Irrigation Water Consumption: Regents institutions will adopt best management practices for minimizing irrigation and for the use of graywater for this purpose.
• Organic Campus: Regents institutions will use Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed pesticides and fertilizers on campus.
• Stormwater Management: Regents institutions will adopt best management practices for stormwater on campus.

7. Sustainability in the Curriculum
• Increase efforts to recruit high school students, as well as professional and graduate students, who are seeking an education in sustainability at an institution that practices sustainability.
• Increase the sustainability experiences for freshmen through first-year seminars, core general education requirements, or living/learning communities.
• Make sustainability a part of all orientation programs on campus.
• Form curriculum workshops to engage and assist faculty and teaching assistants in integrating sustainability into general education and, as appropriate, undergraduate and graduate programs.
• Continue to participate in national efforts to understand and promote sustainability education, such as the National Teach-in Day for Climate Change and Sustainability, the workshop on sustainability education sponsored by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and the Consortium on the place of sustainability in Global Learning Leadership sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
• Increase the curricular offerings in sustainability to undergraduates through majors, minors, certificates, internships, service learning, and living/learning communities.
• Continue to support incorporating sustainability in the curriculum and in faculty research.
• Encourage departments to offer interdisciplinary courses related to sustainability.
• Offer courses that address specific issues related to sustainability, including encouraging students to be knowledgeable and responsible citizens and preparing students to pursue sustainable practices in their professions. Topics that can be addressed are environmental restoration and preservation, LEED construction practices, efficient operation and control of mechanical and power systems, alternative power sources, and sustainability incorporated in the design of human environments.
• Sponsor Town Hall meetings on campus to discuss curricular efforts related to sustainability.
• Create sustainability enhancements for graduate and professional degree students through certificates, internships, or research partnered with green industry, government agencies, or non-government organizations.
• Increase opportunities for sustainability education through stand-along certificates for returning students, certificates through distance education, or cooperative agreements with community colleges.

8. Sustainability in Research and Outreach
• Expand external funding of sustainability research.
• Continue to work with other educational leaders at all levels and leaders in the private sector to develop a statewide science and technology plan to reposition Iowa for workforce development and to capitalize on the unique strengths of each of the three public universities.
• Sponsor seminars for industries in wind energy, biofuels, solar and other renewable energies, biobased energy, and other biobased products.
• Work with students and businesses to exploit opportunities made available by the promotion of sustainability.
• Conduct an ongoing series of high profile workshops on sustainability, available to the public, including major international conferences on renewable energy and water resources.
• Exploit the creative resources of the Internet to share the vision, knowledge, and practices and to invite engagement in these challenging issues of the 21st century.
• Assist in the implementation of sustainable practices by firms and government agencies, including the identification of cost-effective environmentally-friendly processes that are economically sustainable to generate a normal rate of profit.
• Develop new methods of analysis for evaluating the sustainability of alternative natural and built environments within different economic systems.
• Develop and transfer new technologies that conserve energy, matter, and, in particular, water, air, minerals, and other natural resources.
• Sustain and create industries that drive the world’s economic engines to improve the quality of life.
• Continue to develop and grow programs that are directed at sustainability for the nation and the developing world.
• Provide public education to increase energy and resource conservation and the recycling and reuse of material.
• Develop public education to reduce soil erosion and overuse of chemicals and fertilizers in agriculture, and to increase energy efficiency on farms.

A brief description of how progress in meeting the plan’s goals is measured:

Each year UNI prepares a report highlighting its progress toward meeting each of the goals outlined in the plan at a spring Board of Regents Meeting. At this forum, the regents have the ability to approve, deny, or ask for more information on the report. Additionally, this is the time when changes are made to the plan with regard to each of the universities within the Iowa Board or Regents System.

The website URL where more information about the sustainability plan is available:
The year the plan was developed or last updated:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.