Saving the Environment and Dollars: CU-Boulder Rewards Conservation and Tames Waste in the Process

Published: Oct. 27, 2008

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and a campus energy bill that exceeds $25 million a year, the University of Colorado at Boulder is rewarding employees who implement strategies to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions while providing conservation learning opportunities to students.

Three campus buildings attained Buff Energy Star status during the 2007-08 fiscal year, with building employees reducing energy usage by at least 5 percent over the previous fiscal year.

"Energy conservation is good for the environment and the university's bottom line," said campus conservation officer Moe Tabrizi. "Simple strategies such as turning off unnecessary lights or equipment help us create a conservation-minded campus and help us curb costs over time."

The three buildings conserved a total of nearly 53,241 kilowatt-hours of energy, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 106,000 pounds and saved the university some $6,144, said Tabrizi.

The latest Buff Energy Star winners are the Continuing Education Center, Clare Small Arts and Sciences Building and the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research building.

For their energy-saving efforts, building proctors will receive a one-time $1,000 cash bonus from CU-Boulder Vice Chancellor for Administration Frank Bruno. The winning building proctors are Bobbie Klein at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, Carrie Mares at Clare Small and Deanna Knowles and Kathy Redman at the Continuing Education Center.

The combined conservation efforts by all Buff Energy Star program participants since 2004 has resulted in total energy savings of more than 1.2 million kilowatt-hours and a cost savings of some $147,000. Total reduction of carbon dioxide emissions amount to more than 2.4 million pounds, Tabrizi said.

Leading Buff Energy Star buildings reported energy savings ranging from 8 percent to more than 21 percent. Specific actions that resulted in savings included turning off lights when not in use, enabling power-management features on computers and other office equipment, relying more on daylight, reporting energy waste to the campus conservation hotline and building energy audits.

Each year, campus administrators select Buff Energy Star winners based on how well participants adhere to program criteria, Tabrizi said.

To be considered for Buff Energy Star status, building proctors must show a 5 percent energy reduction over the previous year, complete an energy audit, take action based on the audit, post energy and waste conservation posters and other educational materials throughout the building, and take an active role in communication and encouraging resource conservation.

This year's selection committee included Moe Tabrizi and Robert Hall from the CU Environmental Center.

The 2008-09 Buff Energy Star cycle runs from July 2008 to June 2009. All nominations should be forwarded to Moe Tabrizi via campus mail at UCB 453 or via e-mail at

To learn more about energy conservation on the CU-Boulder campus and to nominate a building for Buff Energy Star status visit To report campus energy waste, call 303-735-6202 or e-mail