Northwestern University: Using an Energy-as-a-Service Partnership to Reduce Emissions and Train Students


Northwestern University has entered a five-year multi-faceted partnership to work towards its sustainability goals. The partnership is with Ameresco, a renewable energy and energy efficiency company. This partnership gives Northwestern access to engineering support for projects and training for students, which will assist Northwestern in reducing carbon emissions through energy efficiency and engineering projects as well as support learning opportunities for students through a paid internship program and student sustainability fellowship program.

Through this partnership, Northwestern is exploring additional opportunities for energy improvements through ongoing energy management services across its 200+ building portfolio. This includes the development of a comprehensive asset condition inventory and planning framework. This ongoing engagement also creates an opportunity to support a student sustainability fellowship program and two paid interns, allowing students to gain real-world experience in the physical environment in areas such as energy management, renewable energy, and sustainability. Working alongside industry experts, students will assist in helping solve real-world problems, engage with the physical environment, and grow as leaders in sustainability.

The engineering phase of the partnership will play out through a long-term Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS) agreement that will assist both the Evanston and Chicago campuses with deferred maintenance projects and upgrading energy infrastructure without the upfront capital investment coming from the University. Projects are funded over time through the program’s energy savings, while simultaneously resulting in a direct decrease in operational carbon emissions. The scope of projects will include smart building technology implementation, building automation, lighting upgrades, heating and cooling system optimization, and alternative energy systems.

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Education, College or university