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 Tuesday, April 22, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Sustainability at CU: we're growing greener every day
By Linda Besen, Publications and Creative Services

To understand the scope of CU-Boulder's commitment to saving the Earth, curl up with the campus' new 25-page sustainability plan (pdf), written by Campus Energy Conservation Officer Moe Tabrizi. With momentum from a long and successful history of sustainability initiatives and leadership, the campus is implementing dozens of new strategies to support both the governor's Greening of the State Government Program and the longer-range chancellor's climate commitment.

Tabrizi leads the Office of Campus Resource Conservation in Facilities Management, which is charged with evaluation and implementation of economically feasible technological breakthroughs and solutions to reduce our environmental footprint. According to Campus Architect Paul Leef, Tabrizi has done "tremendous work" in the area of environmental sustainability.

In April 2007, Governor Bill Ritter signed the "Greening of the State Government" executive orders, asking all state agencies (including institutions of higher education) to take positions of leadership in the new energy economy. Among other items, Greening of the State Government Program goals are to achieve by 2012 at least a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, a 20 percent paper reduction, a 10 percent water consumption reduction and a 25 percent volumetric petroleum reduction by state vehicles (from a 2006 baseline).

Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson recently signed the climate neutrality pledge (pdf) for the campus as detailed in the American College and University President Climate Commitment. The pledge requires the campus to implement certain short-term carbon mitigation strategies and begin a two-year process to create a robust plan to attain campus climate neutrality. CU-Boulder must complete its "Comprehensive Plan for Climate Neutrality" by September 2009.

 "We think of the Greening of the State Program as a near-term goal in support of our larger goal of carbon neutrality," Tabrizi said. "To reach the larger goal we need to employ three strategies: large-scale energy conservation measures, large-scale renewable energy power generation sources and new and cost-effective breakthrough technologies."

The campus is already a national leader in energy conservation focus and environmental stewardship: CU-Boulder students were the first to establish a campus recycling program (1976), to use a bus pass program (1991) and to purchase renewable wind power (2000). In 2004, a campus pledge card campaign whereby students, staff and faculty committed to reducing their energy consumption by 10 percent netted over 13,000 pledges.

Tabrizi is the first to say that sustainability will always be a work in progress. But according to Leef, what Tabrizi and his department are doing represent a low-cost, high-impact investment in our future. "Both the campus and our environment have benefited from Moe's commitment and leadership," he said.


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