Higher Education Sustainability Consulting | ENGIE Impact

Universities & Higher Education

Higher education institutions have been progressively incorporating more sustainable development strategies. As young people increasingly demand climate action, institutions seek to swiftly integrate sustainable practices into teaching, research, infrastructure, and campus operations for generations to come.

The number of students worldwide enrolled in higher education is predicted to increase to 262 million by 2025, more than double the 2020 enrollment numbers. There is a growing awareness of the need to transition towards sustainable campuses. As important energy actors in the community, institutions are acutely aware of the need to drive cutting-edge research. This awareness is fueled by institutions seeking to attract talent and students that are advocates for sustainability.

Universities need to continue working towards being environmental leaders and facilitating real change by addressing carbon emissions. Over 7,000 institutions have committed to going carbon neutral by 2030 – but the vast majority do not have a clear roadmap or financing plans to match action to ambition. With proper planning and carefully engineered implementation, universities will dramatically improve their ability to achieve their decarbonization goals.

Sustainability for Higher Education Institutions

ENGIE Impact's tailored sustainability solutions enable transformation at speed and scale for universities worldwide, at any stage of their sustainability journey.

Sustainability Maturity Scale Graphic

Several variables influence the sustainability maturity of a university. These variables are found throughout management practices, teaching curriculum, human resources actions, research focus, and community engagement. The sustainability maturity of an institution is highly influenced by its students and can also be swayed by the social, economic, or natural commitment to programs and initiatives.

ENGIE Impact brings a unique blend of depth and breadth in expertise combined with a track record for identifying decarbonization solutions for universities worldwide. We have deep knowledge and in-house expertise in energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean mobility, and experience developing an integrated energy master plan toward carbon neutrality.


higher education institutions have pledged to address the climate crisis


of students think universities can do more to reduce environmental impact


value of institutions divesting from fossil fuels

How ENGIE Impact Can Help Higher Education Institutions

We define sustainable campus development aspirations and implement the most relevant sustainability solutions by activating four critical levers:

1. Sustainable Campus Ambition Setting

We develop a robust understanding of the university's footprint and define sustainability ambition to identify viable decarbonization opportunities across campuses.

ENGIE Impact collects end-to-end measurement and data of campus emissions to derive carbon footprint and set targets. Engaging internal and external stakeholders is crucial to understanding their objectives and motivations while embarking on the transformation.

This essential foundation of emissions data enables universities to bolster sustainability reporting, evaluate renewable energy decisions, set targets, estimate the impact of a carbon price, and more.

2. Decarbonization Road Mapping

We evaluate and optimize the different decarbonization levers and develop the associated business cases.

ENGIE Impact develops scenarios and runs simulations to quantify the optimal energy efficiency measures, green energy supply options, clean mobility strategy, and the functional specifications of enabling digital infrastructure. Our proprietary optimization tool, Prosumer, designs optimal business cases for each selected project type, with ROI, payback periods, and carbon reduction impact sensitivities all included.

The resulting decarbonization roadmap provides the most cost- and time-effective pathway to accelerate progress.

3. Financing and Contracting Solutions

We design funding models that reduce risk and accelerate low-carbon objectives.

ENGIE Impact evaluates a range of financing solutions and contracting models that reduce the economic impact, risk, and complexity of decarbonization projects. We help clients design investment plans that maximize asset yield and allow for annual updates to evolve to changing conditions. We have a track record for delivering successful financing models for complex, long-term engagements, including As-a-Service models in which ENGIE assumes all operational risk and capital expense and guarantees energy and carbon reductions to ensure clients achieve their goals.

A comprehensive solution can offer both a least-cost pathway to sustainability and a range of financing and contracting options that fit the university's requirements.

4. Continuous Collaboration

We establish connections with a range of stakeholders along the higher education institution's unique sustainability transformation journey.

ENGIE Impact engages groups of stakeholders through academic and research partnerships to help with the university's sustainability transformation, prioritizing involvement in dialogues across various stakeholder groups (e.g., staff, students, communities, public institutions, private sector.)

These collaborations develop the necessary joint initiatives to foster teaching, research, and expert-led workshops focusing on sustainable development.

Case Studies

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa

ENGIE and Meridiam were awarded a 50-year contract valued at more than $1B to address the University of Iowa's energy, water and sustainability goals for two campuses, spanning 1,700 acres.

Qatar University

Qatar University

RED, a company of ENGIE Impact, provided the schematic design and engineering services to Qatar University for a new data center to support the prestigious university's administration and research facilities.

Ohio State University

The Ohio State University

ENGIE and Axium Infrastructure US were awarded a 50-year contract, valued at more than $1B, to address Ohio State University's energy sustainability goals for its 485-building campus, one of the largest university campuses in the United States.

University of west england

University of the West of England

RED, a company of ENGIE Impact, was appointed to provide ICT consultancy for the University of the West of England's Smart Campus solution for reduced energy consumption, operating costs, and automation solutions for specific Estates and Facilities operations.

Ready To Become a Sustainability Leader?

Let's discuss your higher education sustainability strategy and how we can accelerate decarbonization towards a more green, sustainable campus.