Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.70
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date Sept. 22, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Colorado Boulder
PA-1: Sustainability Coordination

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Dave Newport
Environmental Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee, office, and/or officer that focuses on sustainability broadly and covers the entire institution?:

A brief description of the activities and substantive accomplishments of the committee(s), office(s), and/or officer(s) during the previous three years:

To numerous to count. Just a smattering include:
• Sports
o CU was in 2008 the nation’s first NCAA Division 1 football program to transition sports events to zero waste—and has won two EPA national championships in the years since. Sustainability in sports has ballooned nationally in recent years and CU continues to lead that effort. Recently, CU has been championed by the Natural Resources Defense Council as a leader in this arena. We continue to work with many other campuses and organizations in sports sustainability.
• Training & Engagement
o Responding to sustained student interest, the EC assessed campus leadership programs and their inclusion of sustainability. We planned to launch the Sustainability Immersion Leadership Training program in Fall 2012 but delayed with consideration to synergize with the Sustainable Practices Program overhaul and offerings and to condense to a one-semester program. This effort will feed from and into existing leadership and service-learning assets already present on campus, and use existing staffers’ (Director, EOC, Assoc. Director, etc) expertise to create a focused, non-credit curriculum for a select number of students. The program does not require new support from CUSG; however, this will create a national model at a time when demand for sustainability-related leadership training is rapidly growing. We are planning to launch in Spring 2014 with recruiting in Fall 2013 provided staff resources are available. One intended outcome of the program is to establish a training program for first and second year students who will be potential candidates for board or staff positions.
o The EC has actively supported the interdepartmental coordination of campus sustainability communications and outreach material. A major focus is development of a communications strategic plan given the sheer number of departments involved and active in sustainability operations, research and education and engagement. This plan, along with other developments, is establishing the need for continued and new training and engagement programs for all sectors of the campus community.
• Student Affairs Sustainability Plan
o The Student Affairs Division at CU recently incorporated a strong sustainability goal in its strategic plan and asked the Environmental Center to lead that effort within the division. Short term this means a training program for all SA staff and students that is leveraged with existing EC programs for greater traction in residence halls and offices. Longer term, the plan calls for CU’s SA division to become a national leader in this arena—and we are well on the way to that goal.
• Sustainability Action Teams
o The Vice Chancellor for Adminsitration several years ago established Sustainability Action Teams (SATs) that combine personnel from across campus together to work on specific outcomes (e.g. recycling, energy, etc). Various EC staff participated on most of the SATs. The SATs also set 1-3 year performance goals to pursue and channel funds from the VCA and others into related projects. The latest goals for 2012 were all met—even though they were fairly aggressive.
• nLab
o The partnership between Leeds Business School Deming Center for Entrepreneurship and the Environmental Center has launched nLab—and sustainability creative crucible designed to elicit innovative ideas from all students in all majors. The EC funded the nBox part of nLab, a mobile entrepreneurship incubator. That program has already integrated several dozen students into the formative process. When nBox goes mobile in 2013 we expect that number to climb substantially.
* Recycling
With the addition of Zero Waste Goals adopted into the Campus Master Plan (90% diversion rate by 2020), CU Recycling has been vigorously working to plan and implement action items to continue to take the campus towards Zero Waste.
• Achieving a campus diversion rate of 41%, the second highest in CU’s history (down 1% from last year)
• Expansion of the compost pilot program to implement compost collections throughout 3 additional buildings on campus: Regent, Systems Biotech and Wolf Law.
o Current total buildings composting = 6
o Compost bins have been established in all the rest rooms of these buildings, which has proven to be the most cost effective, operationally efficient method of providing central composting locations for the buildings.
• “Can Parity” pilot program has been completed in Business, Education, Regent and Systems Biotech. Improvements are still being made in EH&S, Wolf Law, and Norlin Library to achieve Can Parity.
o Results will be reviewed to determine best method to expand to all buildings on campus over the next few years.
• “Can Parity” on the outdoor waste stations at the UMC has been completed, thus achieving “Can Parity” at almost all outdoor waste stations across campus
• The Zero Waste operations in Folsom Stadium for the home football games have been the highlight of Ralphie’s Green Stampede once again. For the fourth year, CU Recycling has led these Zero Waste events, successfully creating a diversion rate of over 72% at each game.
* Energy & Climate
• You Can Turn Off Climate Change Campaign: We continue to seek out new ways to use this campaign to reach students, staff and faculty. The newest effort is in stickers that encourage campus users to report energy and water waste.
• SCORE (Student and Community Outreach on Renter Efficiency): In fiscal year 2012-2013 Xcel Energy not only provided funding for a team of student employees to visit 200 homes to conduct energy assessments, but they increased their support in providing additional funds for the Greek Sustainability program described below. The energy and water assessments of student rental properties houses include direct installation of CFLs, low-flow showerheads, sink aerators, weather stripping, window film, and hot water pipe insulation. In addition, student employees review energy-savings habits that tenants can adopt to lower their energy bill.
• Greek Sustainability: Through the generous funding of Xcel Energy we were able to significantly increase our outreach among the Greeks by hiring both a Fraternity and Sorority Greek Sustainability Coordinator, enhancing our outreach efforts to both sets of Greeks. This duo, with the assistance of SCORE technicians, conducts energy and water assessments in the Greek houses and facilitates regular meetings with the Greek Sustainability Chairs. Almost all houses have a Sustainability Chair that works with house residents to reduce their energy demand. In the spring of 2013 we will conduct and energy competition, the Green Cup, among the sorority houses.
• Green Labs Program: CU Green Labs has had a great year of progress which can be seen by the large increase in ongoing electrical saving. This year we are reporting an ongoing savings of 510,000 kWh/year compared to 270,000 kWh/year that was reported last year. One of the main reasons for this large jump is that we have reached the point in our program where labs think of reaching out to CU Green Labs prior to making purchases. As a result we have been able to have large impacts on the purchase decisions of scientists. Other notable accomplishments include:
• Ongoing savings of 4.2 million gallons of water/year (up 0.5 million/year from last year)
• Unknown but significant natural gas savings (fume hood sash contest for 125 fume hoods and two autoclaves taken off house steam)
• Total of 340 cubic yards of foam recycled since Jan 2011 (up from 130 cubic yards last year)
• NEW THIS YEAR: Addition of pipette tip box recycling pilot with Eco-cycle– already ~1000 lbs of material collected
• Increased presence of posters raising awareness and addressing conservation in labs (including positive feedback from labs on the positive impacts the posters are making)
• More sharing of ULT freezers between labs than any other year
• More conversion to more energy efficient freezer sample storage temperature (from ultra low temps to -20⁰C or room temperature) than any other year
• 35% of ULT freezers at -70⁰C instead of -80⁰C
• Winner of National Freezer Challenge for the second year in a row
• Notable national reputation among universities and government labs as a leader in Green Labs topics and program structure
• Energy Green Teams: With funding from the City of Boulder, Energy Green Teams visits 1,200 residences in the Goss/Grove, Aurora and Hill neighborhoods to distribute information on energy and water conservation, CFLs, and sink aerators. While the majority of the potential conservation impacts will occur in residents’ homes, we expect many students to carry over these new learned behaviors, such as turning off lights and managing computer energy use, onto campus.
• iCAST partnership: The International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (iCAST)was awarded a large HUD grant to conduct improvements to low-income homes. We partnered with iCAST during the summer of 2012 to provide SCORE-like assessments for low-income housing in Boulder. One paid student employee (funding provided by iCAST) and three volunteer interns visited over 30 homes twice to work with residents to reduce their energy use.
• Community Based Social Marketing Analysis: This fall the Energy Outreach Team is focusing on an analysis of the residence halls. This analysis includes identification of desired behaviors and associated barriers, focus group discussions to clarify barriers and desired incentives, campus-wide survey to determine attitudes and likeliness to adopt new behaviors, and piloting of campaign materials. The analysis conducted this year will be useful in developing effective and impactful campaign materials for the next several years.

Notable new programs and projects
• Green Labs EcoLeader Team Leads: Newly hired Team Leads are graduate students who help manage and lead Lab Eco-Leaders and who work with their lab department on conservation efforts. Since departmental or chair approval was received before offering these positions to graduate students, the positions also indirectly established social support for the CU Green Labs Program in lab departments with the leadership of those departments. Even though the first four team leads have only been in place since late November, they are already having great impact. In the new Biotech building (JSCBB) on East campus, an educational campaign and contest managed by the JSCBB Team Lead on the importance of closing fume hood sashes for energy savings and safety began on Jan 7th for more than 125 fume hoods in that building. In Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EBio), information about EBio IT conservation efforts related to research & classroom computers are being spread and shared with other research departments as a result of initial efforts of the EBio Team Lead. In Chemistry, two autoclaves (large consumers) are being turned off and acetone recycling is being explored as a result of efforts of the Chemistry Team Lead. And in Environmental Engineering, the addition of foam & pipette tip box recycling for this department is being worked on as a result of the efforts of the Env. Eng. Team Lead.
• Dining Partnership: Late in the summer of 2012 we participated in the full day training with all Dining staff in which we did a presentation and engaging activity with staff to encourage energy and water conservation in the kitchens. This opened the door for an expanded partnership with Dining and we are now invited to join the monthly tours of campus dining halls to recommend outreach and educational opportunities.
• Climate Reality Project: In August Susan Beckett (Energy Program Manager) was trained by Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project to do presentation on climate change. Thus far she has conducted five presentations to various sectors of campus, including RAs, Green Office participants, and students. We also hosted 24 Hours of Reality in which we broadcast
* Transportation
• Late Night Transit maintained services levels in FY2013. No change is anticipated in FY2014. Due to the nature of boardings and since the contract pays Via Mobility Services and CU Buff Bus per hour and not per rider it is difficult to track actual ridership.
• The Ski Bus is presently selling at a 100% sold-out service between November and January, along with additional day-of standby sales. With below average snowfall affecting last season, we failed to sale out the last two trips.
• The bicycle station, jointly managed with Parking & Transportation Services, reported beyond maximum capacity for customer throughput during the fall. We expanded to two employees at a time we often had 3 employees working. Bike station #2 was opened in a temporary landscaping trailer located between Cockerell Hall and the Engineering Center as part of the Cockerell Drive Transportation Improvement Program grant from CDOT. The station opened later than anticipated, but was welcomed by all users. The permanent structure has recently been installed and final touches will take place in February for a March grand opening. Bike station #3 is in the preliminary phases of discussion and is aiming to be located in an existing structure at Williams Village. In the meantime a self service Dero FixIt rack will be placed in the vicinity of the future station.
• Pilot impound bicycle refurbishment, also jointly managed with Parking & Transportation Services, sold all 160 of its bicycles within 2 hours of opening the 2012 fall sale.
• Semester Rentals, funded by a Sustainable CU grant, has continued to grow at an unanticipated but welcoming fast rate. Without additional advertising we rented all of our available bikes in 4 days. The waiting list grew to 89 soon afterwards. The program diligently purchased high quality rental bikes to prepare for the upcoming Spring rush. Currently the program has exceed the grant funded number of 150 bikes and we now have 175 bikes.
www.cucommute.com, in collaboration with Denver Regional Council of Government (DRCOG) we switched from zimride to a site operated as iCarpool. It is a contracted carpool matching service funded jointly with Parking & Transportation Services. The purpose of the switch is cost savings and to have a much larger network of potential carpool matches. iCarpool will match carpoolers with anyone who registers in the Denver Metro region while zimride only matched with students, faculty, and staff of CU, Boulder County and City employees, and employees of NOAA. Zimride continues to do ticketing for the the CU Ski Bus. The goal is that we will get more users registered on the site and we will then see a higher rate of carpooling in return.
• The advertising program, jointly managed and funded with Parking & Transportation Services, continues to build on its success with streamlined project management and skilled student staffing.
• The development area of the sustainable transportation program includes projects such as pedestrian safety by enhancing bike routes and stripping and/or lane painting, increasing ridership of public transit, collaborate with other Universities to persuade RTD to retrofit RFID readers that would allow us to have a unified Buff OneCard/bus pass, working with DRCOG to increase carpooling along the Highway 36 corridor, adding a Dero FixIt rack to Will Vill and family house, eventually replace the self repair rack at Will Vill with a year round staffed bike station, adding covered and secured bike parking, and others.

Does the institution have at least one sustainability committee?:

The charter or mission statement of the committee(s) or a brief description of each committee's purview and activities:

CU has several committees that satisfy the criteria for this credit; the Chancellor's Committee on Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CCEES); the Carbon Neutrality Working Group (CNWG, also charged with broad tasks such as promoting sustainability in curriculum), and the Sustainability Executive Council, an informal advisory body comprised of students, faculty and staff that work with the VCA and Provost's office to coordinate myriad sustainability functions across campus.

However, for the purposes of this credit, full information is submitted in support of the broadest group, the CCEES.

In the Chancellor’s speech on February 21, 2007, he established the Chancellor's Committee on Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CCEES) led by the VCA for the purpose of “setting sustainability goals and advising the university on all environmental matters.” He tasked the CCEES with executing the “climate neutrality” commitments he made under the Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC). Likewise, the PCC also addresses increased sustainability research, and integration of sustainability into curriculum and student life.

As directed by the Chancellor, the VCA chairs. The CCEES may create sub-committee of related department leaders to which plan development and execution would be delegated (e.g. CNWG).

Tasking is vertical from the CCEES’ members to their subordinate organizational units. For instance, the Provost may task appropriate Deans, Directors, and/or faculty to develop options for the integration of sustainability into curriculum. Likewise, the VCA and FM coordinate plans to enhance conservation and efficiency programs. Similarly, the VCSA and Environmental Center develop student life and conservation outreach programs, and so forth. All the organizational units use internal expertise, existing partnerships and related standing committees to analyze and develop plans, as appropriate.

Members of each committee, including affiliations and role (e.g. staff, student, or faculty):

Based on the Chancellor’s instructions and mindful of the specific deliverables enumerated in the PCC , eleven personnel characterized as “Campus Leaders and Community Partners” were tapped to serve. These are:

-Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
-UCSU (Tri-Executive)
-Environmental Center Director
-Vice Chancellor for Administration (Chair)
-Resource Conservation Officer
-Vice Chancellor for Research
-CU Energy Initiative Director
-City of Boulder Mayor
-Boulder County Commission Chair
-Governors Energy Office Director

The website URL where information about the sustainability committee(s) is available:

Does the institution have at least one sustainability office that includes more than 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) employee?:

A brief description of each sustainability office:

CU has several offices that meet this need. The CU Environmental Center is the oldest and largest. However, Facilities Management, Housing and Dining Services, and Purchasing all have offices/personnel designated for this function. Overall, the Vice Chancellor of Administration's office is tasked with coordinating sustainability-related activities.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) of people employed in the sustainability office(s):

The website URL where information about the sustainability office(s) is available:
Does the institution have at least one sustainability officer?:

Name and title of each sustainability officer:
Steven Thweatt, Interim Vice Chancellor of Administration

A brief description of each sustainability officer position:

VCA is charged by the Chancellor to coordinate all sustainability efforts on campus. This includes interfaces with sustainability personnel in student affairs, facilities, transportation, and purchasing.

The website URL where information about the sustainability officer(s) is available:

Note that the VCA has been charged by the Chancellor as the leader of campus sustainability efforts per the statements in the Chancellor's speech linked above.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.