Sustainability Performance, Goals, & Strategies

For each topic area (e.g., Energy, Water, Waste, etc.), Verdis Group analyzed extensive data in order to benchmark UNK’s sustainability performance. Then, relying on peer analysis and other experience/expertise, Verdis Group recommended sustainability goals for 2025 and 2050. Sustainability stakeholders, including the UNK Sustainability Committee, then modified and approved the goals.

Topic Area Baseline Performance % Change Goal (2025) Goal (2050)
Energy
weather-normalized source kBtu/ft2
206.2
2005
205.9
2014
-0.15% -25% ***
Water
gallons per weighted campus user
25,961
avg FY 2012-
13-14
26,068
FY 2014
+0.41% -15% -40%
Waste
recycling rate
12%
fall 2014
- - - 50% 90%
"zero waste"
Purchasing
percentage of Office Depot purchasing that is classified "green"
20%
Q1 2015
- - - 50% 75%
Mobility
percentage of students and employees that use alternatives to
single-occupancy vehicle commuting
65%
spring 2015
- - - 75% 85%
Emissions
tons of eCO2
38,760
2005
28,902
2014
-25% -35% -100%
"climate neutral"
***
Academics
percentage of all courses that focus on or include sustainability
0.20%
spring 2015
- - - 40% 75%
Campus Culture & Engagement
sustainability engagement score
43 / 100
spring 2015
- - - 54 / 100
+25%
86 / 100
+100%
Campus Culture & Engagement
percentage of available Campus Engagement STARS points
N/A
fall 2015
- - - 100%
*** Instead of specifying a longer–term energy goal (which is complex to predict), we will point to the longer–term emissions goal of reaching climate neutrality by 2050. This goal will naturally drive UNK’s energy consumption and energy profile in the most sustainable direction.


In addition to performance measures and goals, the topic area sections contain prioritized lists of strategies. These lists are, perhaps, the most useful components of this plan. To arrive at these lists, key UNK stakeholders evaluated lengthy collections of potential sustainability strategies according to the following criteria:

  • Implementation. To what extent is the strategy relatively simple to implement?
  • Engagement. To what extent does the strategy create engagement opportunities?
  • Environment. To what extent does the strategy lessen UNK’s environmental impact?
  • Financial Savings. To what extent does the strategy result in financial savings?
  • Leadership. To what extent does the strategy demonstrate leadership?
  • Student Recruitment. To what extent does the strategy improve UNK’s ability to recruit talented students?

In some topic area sections, we list the strategies as primary, secondary, or tertiary. In general, primary strategies scored highest in the evaluation exercise. Secondary and tertiary strategies scored less high; however, prioritizing the strategies was an inexact science and stakeholders should not feel obligated to implement the strategies sequentially.