Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 75.41
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date March 23, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Colorado Boulder
IN-4: Green Athletics

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Dave Newport
Environmental Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution’s green athletics program include the following?:
Yes or No
Zero waste and/or carbon neutral athletic events Yes
A stadium certified under a green building rating system Yes
A sustainable food and beverage purchasing program that includes athletic event vendors and concessions ---
A program to minimize the use of potable water and chemicals in turf maintenance and groundskeeping Yes
A program to support more sustainable transportation options for athletic events Yes
Community engagement efforts, e.g. to educate students and fans/supporters about the institution’s sustainability initiatives Yes
An athletic team certification program No

A brief description of the institution’s green athletics program, including the specific initiatives selected above:

Folsom Field was the nation's first NCAA Division 1 zero-waste football stadium. All football and basketball games, held at Folsom Field and the Coors Event Center respectively, are now zero-waste events as are soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, etc.

But zero-waste was just the first step. All new buildings on CU's campus are built to LEED standards and Athletics is no exception -- the Basketball & Volleyball Practice Facility and Champions Center Complex (including the Champions Center, Dal Ward, and the Indoor Practice Facility) have received LEED Platinum certifications. The IPF is net-zero energy due to design elements and a 1 MW solar array on its roof. Several facilities have installed advanced LED systems, been recommissioned, and implemented other energy savings programs.

All remaining GHG emissions from Athletics facilities are offset annually as part of the Environmental Center's local carbon offsets purchase described in OP1.

Existing buildings -- Folsom Field and the Coors Event Center -- have been retrofitted to be more energy and water efficient. All water use in Athletics is balanced against Water Restoration Certificates that fund water restoration efforts along the Colorado River basin operated by Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

And all fields on campus; sport, recreation, and otherwise; are pesticide-free, providing a healthier playing field for our athletes, fans, and the environment.

All bikes used to get to football games are allowed to park free directly adjacent to the stadium--the only free onsite parking available to any vehicle. Likewise, Boulder B-Cycle provides several dozen additional bike to supply their docking station directly adjacent to the football stadium on game days. RTD supplies numerous busses from all over the Denver metro area that drop off and pick up directly next to the football stadium.

Extensive community engagment is ongoing through partnerships with the City, County, School Boards, the Boy Scouts, who promote our sports sustainability activities through their outreach channels. Likewise, the Athletics Department pushes out numerous digital messages featuring "Ralphies Green Stampede"--our branded sports sustainability program. The essential message strategy in all these channels is to norm sustainability as a baseline value and activity across all sports, inform fans and the community of the sustainability elements in game, and then equate fandom with being a good Buff fan.

This approach sets up the "What kind of Buff will you be?" call to action seen in virtually all marketing that asks all fans to be a zero-waste Buff at home, work or play. The power of this messaging was ratified last year in a funded research study performed by a faculty member who found that fans that don't recycle at home actually recycle more than fans that do normally recycle at home. Why? Many of those fans said words to the effect of "We don't do this at home, but when we come here it is clearly what to do--and we want to be on the team."

Overall, CU Athletics is zero waste, zero net carbon, zero net water, and zero synthetic pesticides. They have half of the eight LEED Platinum facilities on campus. They host abut 90% of the campus installed PV capacity, they have a zero waste, car-free tailgate facility next to campus, they prepare sustainable snacks for their student-athletes by sourcing local, organic foods which their nutritionists then prepare into discrete, targeted meals suited for the various athletics activities. And they are using all this operational acumen to promote and inspire all their fans and the community to implement sustainable behaviors in their lives every day.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

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.