Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, January 16, 2012

U-M annual sustainability report shows success in key areas

The university continues to make progress in key areas of energy reduction, alternative transportation and waste reduction, according to its just released 2011 annual sustainability report.

Covering more than 170 environmental metrics — the most measured in the five years of reporting — this report presents the university’s impact on the environment while highlighting many examples of stewardship and sustainability efforts taking place throughout the Ann Arbor campus. Some highlights from this year’s report include:


• The completion of the Campus Sustainability Integrated Assessment and subsequent announcement in September by President Mary Sue Coleman of five major stretch goals designed to guide the university’s efforts at reducing environmental impact through the key themes of Climate Change, Waste Prevention, Healthy Environments and Community Awareness.

• Continued success with the Planet Blue Operations Team program, highlighted by an 8 percent reduction in energy use and a corresponding utility cost avoidance of $3.8M annually in 71 buildings.
• Waste reduction efforts resulting in a 3 percent drop in total waste production and a decrease in per-person trash levels of nearly 4 percent from FY2010.

“The report provides visibility into what the campus community is doing in the areas of sustainability on the Ann Arbor campus,” says Terry Alexander, executive director of the Office of Campus Sustainability. “Our students, faculty and staff all play a vital role in our sustainability efforts across the full spectrum of academic, operational and research initiatives.”

Another key area highlighted in the report is the university’s alternative transportation program and specifically, the campus bus program and M-Ride, which is a joint program between the university and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. During FY 2011 the campus bus system carried 6.9 million riders; an increase from 6.5 million in FY 2010. The M-Ride program carried 2.4 million passengers in FY 2011; up from 2.3 million the previous year.

“Our alternative transportation program, whether it’s the campus bus system, M-Ride, ZipCar or replacing our vehicle fleet with hybrids continues to be an important part of our efforts to reduce the overall carbon footprint,” Alexander says. “The addition of new hybrid buses and hybrid sedans to our university fleet is another example of how U of M is greening the campus.”

The complete 2011 report is available online at and an interactive overview of the Environmental Metrics is available at Print versions of the report can be obtained by contacting Barbara Hagan at