As an original signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, CU formed the Carbon Neutrality Working Group and charged this group with analyzing and projecting a date by which the campus could attain carbon neutrality. After two years of dilligent work, the group develped the Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality in which they recommend short-term and long-term approaches to reduce the campus carbon footprint.
You can read the full plan here. Below are the highlights:
- 20% reduction in greehouse gaseses by 2020 through conservation and cogeneration use
- 50% reduction by 2050 through the use of large scale renewables
- 80% reduction by 2080 using innovative technologies
Here is just a sample of what CU is doing:
- CU has a zero-waste goal, meaning that not even 1% of the material we use would end up in the dump! We're at 30% right now, which, when compared with other universities of our size is really good. Reduced waste equals reduced methane emissions from landfills.
- CU offers an Eco Pass to all students, staff and faculty, allowing them to ride the bus and light rail for free, which reduces our emissions from single-passenger commutes. And saves our students the need to have a car, pay for parking, pay for insurance, etc.
- CU buses are powered by biodiesel to keep our Colorado air as clean as possible.
- CU produces approximately 1.5MWh of energy from its solar panels. Most are located on flat roofs where they can't bee seen from the ground, but are generating more energy on sunny days. Find out more about the renewables at CU here.
- CU offsets its energy use by purchasing 5% of it's electricity use from wind power sources.
- CUSG purchases carbon offsets to neutralize the impact of emissions for the two student-government-owned buildings - UMC and the Rec Center.
- All new buildings are built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, gold or platinum.
- All dining halls and kitchens on campus compost pre-consumer waste and many compost post-consumer waste, reducing methane gas released from slow decomposition of organic materials in landfills.
- Irrigation of CU Boulder lawns comes from ditch water, reducing the energy needed to clean potable water.
- Most buildings on campus are cooled using chilled water, which uses less energy than air conditioning.
- Lighting upgrades throughout campus have resulted in decreased electricity needed to light rooms.
- Our students are highly involved in environmental causes and are working together to find solutions, both personally and globally, to the causes of climate change.
- We can always do more! Please report energy and water waste to the energy conservation hotline (303) 735-6202 or email: EnergyConservationHotline@fm.colorado.edu