Client story

University makes progress toward ambitious carbon reduction goals

They enlisted JLL to support their Campus Energy and Building Decarbonization Strategy and reach their goals to be carbon neutral by 2050.

A large midwestern university has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. In 2023 they enlisted JLL to support their sustainability teams to develop a Campus Energy and Building Decarbonization Strategy. The University sought a 10-year decarbonization action plan in alignment with the long-term net zero carbon pathway for the more than 1,000-acre campus.

Over a 6-month period, JLL’s sustainability consulting group worked closely with the University to:

  • Assess and validate the plan vision, goals, strategies, KPIs, and implementation steps.

  • Perform a technical analysis of carbon and energy reductions across buildings, campus energy plants, and grid-supplied electricity to 2033 and 2050.

  • Support the University’s working group in decision-making and goal alignment.

As part of the analysis, JLL was tasked with building alignment among participating stakeholders, evaluating various scenarios for new construction standards, energy modeling of over 200 buildings to evaluate energy efficiency upgrades, analyzing on- and off-campus solar, and decarbonizing the recently built combined heat and power central plant.

“Working with the broad stakeholder group throughout the process enabled the university to set ambitious decarbonization targets that have project champions and implementation plans aligned from the start,” said Shawn Hesse, RA, NCARB, LFA, LEED AP, Vice President of Sustainability at JLL. “This allows them take action immediately and gets them further on the path toward achieving their 10-year goals.”

The final strategy was integrated into the University’s Climate Action Plan and puts forward a vision to reduce emissions at a pace consistent with limiting planetary warming to 1.5°C, and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

To achieve this vision, JLL helped the University set goals for reducing energy demand through:

  • New Construction: Developing net zero carbon requirements for new construction.

  • Existing Buildings: Reducing site energy use intensity from existing buildings.

  • Space Optimization: Optimizing space utilization to decommission inefficient and unused square footage on campus.

They also developed the following goals for the supply of energy:

  • On-Campus Solar: Double on campus solar by 2033 and quadruple by 2050.

  • Grid-Supplied Renewables: 100% renewable energy procurement by 2033.

  • On-Campus Thermal Energy: Improve thermal energy efficiency to reduce emissions through 2033, and fully decarbonize thermal energy by 2045.

The strategy puts the University on a science-aligned 1.5-degree decarbonization pathway, with a reduction of more than 60% projected by 2033, and 100% by 2045. By engaging stakeholders, utilizing available data, and understanding the goals of the University, JLL helped them make key decisions and develop a solid plan to meet their sustainability commitments.

For more information on how JLL can help you develop a strategy to meet your decarbonization goals, including building pathways and investment plans to start taking action now, visit our Decarbonization strategy page.