A central challenge of our time is sustaining the world’s developing population while minimizing damage to the environment. The Campus as a Lab (CaaL) Initiative uses Chicago’s own campus as a test bed for creating innovative solutions and developing skills in analyzing systems of energy and resource flows. CaaL involves education in quantitative environmental analysis, research into practical energy management strategies, and communication that explains our campus and environment. Projects reflect our core values: data-driven and quantitative analysis, implementable solutions, and open-source tools and data.


A central challenge of our time is sustaining the world’s developing population while minimizing damage to the environment. The Campus as a Lab (CaaL) Initiative uses Chicago’s own campus as a test bed for creating innovative solutions and developing skills in analyzing systems of energy and resource flows. CaaL involves education in quantitative environmental analysis, research into practical energy management strategies, and communication that explains our campus and environment. Projects reflect our core values: data-driven and quantitative analysis, implementable solutions, and open-source tools and data.

Campus as a Lab is...

Who: undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and Facilities staff working in collaboration.

When: ongoing, launched in Spring 2016 and featuring 4 core events in 2016-2017

What: data hackathons on campus energy and resource, demonstration events on waste and energy, and opportunities to be involved in research on campus energy, water, and waste. Focus areas include operation of campus facilities and infrastructure, economics of U Chicago’s energy purchases, building retrofit suggestions, transportation planning, and behavioral incentives.


How to Get Involved:

Check out the upcoming events listed below! If you're interested in helping out, have a question, or want to be added to the Campus as a Laboratory listserv, email:  CampusAsALaboratory@uchicago.edu. To learn more about winning a competitive research fellowships, come to the first hackathon.


Upcoming Campus as a Lab Activities

Fall Quarter Hackathon on Campus Energy and Resource use, November 17
In 2015, the 160 campus buildings and grounds used $40 million worth of energy. Come see where and why – help improve our understanding of campus energy usage and increase energy efficiency.

Campus total energy use and building control
Thursday, November 17th
4:30-10:30p (Food Provided!)
Saieh Hall for Economics, 1160 E 58th St

Notes: A CaaL hackathon is a four- to six-hour event that brings a group of students together with faculty, staff, and experts to collectively solve or “hack” a problem. They are low-pressure, fun, high-energy events designed for collaboration and creativity. You don’t need a particular skill-set or programming expertise to participate -- in fact, the more diverse the group of attendees, the better the results. Attendees have access to previously unavailable data and the opportunity to talk in person with the people who make our campus run. Food and drinks always provided!


Past Events


This event is organized in partnership with the University of Chicago Office of the Provost , UChicagoSustainability, UChicago Facilities, and the Energy Policy Institute  at the University of Chicago.