CSU is proud of its holistic approach to sustainability. From riding bicycles to learning from researchers who are changing the world, the community at our land-grant University is making a difference in all things green.

Derek Esposita installs solar on Colorado State University Engineering Building. Esposita is a CSU Construction Management alum.

Possibilities are limitless

It’s great to be green. It’s even better that, for many decades, Colorado State University has advanced green technology and sustainability with efforts that go far beyond just changing light bulbs.

CSU is internationally known for environmentally conscious initiatives and clean-energy research including alternative fuels, clean engines, photovoltaics, smart grid technology, wind engineering, water resources and satellite-based atmospheric monitoring and tracking systems.

Sustainability forever

The Integrated Solid Waste (ISW) program recycles more than 2 million pounds of recyclable material every year. In FY14, Colorado State had a recycling rate of 56 percent.

Colorado State practices a single-stream recycling system, facilitating recycling on campus.

Since 2004, Colorado State has competed in the annual national recycling competition RecycleMania, competing against hundreds of other colleges and universities. CSU has often placed in the top 5-10 percent since 2005, and consistently places as the top Colorado university.

While CSU faculty, staff and students help keep campus as sustainable as possible, efforts also reach far and wide to advance green technology and research throughout the globe.

Students in Jason La Belle's Archaeology Field School survey a site at a Larimer County Open Space.

Onward and outward

According to CSU’s STARS® Report, more than 90 percent of the academic departments including more than 150 faculty members are active in research related to sustainability. CSU is on the map in part because of people like engineering Professor Bryan Willson, who helped develop a cleaner-burning, more efficient cookstove that has been lauded by the environmental community worldwide and is now being sold in more than 45 countries.

And Diana Wall, an ecosystem scientist in Department of Biology and director of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES, has completed 24 research seasons in the Antarctic Dry Valleys examining how soil food webs and ecosystem processes respond to global change.

Our green home

Closer to home, former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter joined CSU to head a new national policy center focused on building the new energy economy. Ritter is the director of the Center for the New Energy Economy and senior scholar within SoGES.

“Clean and renewable energy is a new economic frontier, and its important for Colorado and our country that we continue to position ourselves as leaders in this emerging economy,” says CSU President Tony Frank.

Under Ritter’s leadership, the policy center will help build essential partnerships around research-based clean energy solutions, workforce development and advancement of technologies that will fuel long-term, sustainable economic growth.

Even more green

CSU students, faculty and staff have been a big part of campus conservation efforts. Between 2006 and 2015, the CSU main campus has added over 1.7 million square feet to our built environment. During this same period, the University’s energy usage remained level. High performing buildings and individual efforts have helped us to reduce per square foot energy use across campus, says Carol Dollard, Facilities Management Energy Engineer.

The Colorado State University Oval

But wait, there’s more

Following is a small — very small — sampling of green projects happening at CSU.

  • A 30-acre, 5.3-megawatt solar plant is one of the largest solar plants at a U.S. university and large enough to provide one-third of the power at CSU’s Foothills Campus.
  • Colorado State is listed as one of nation’s greenest colleges in the The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges.” The list, published in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, is heralded as a one-of-a-kind resource because of its focus on colleges that demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability.
  • In March 2015, Colorado State became the first university to earn a Platinum rating in STARS®, a comprehensive national survey of higher education institutions dedicated to sustainability. STARS is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System — developed by AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
  • The Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise at CSU’s College of Business launched a new, innovative program to make companies more valuable through sustainable business practices.
  • A biomass boiler produces energy from pines destroyed by beetles.
  • Graywater systems use shower water from Aspen Hall for engineering research on reusing water.
  • The Green Warrior campaign engages students in sustainability and energy conservation behaviors. During the fall 2015 campaign, more than 1,000 students participated in the campaign.
  • In March of 2012 as well as 2013, Colorado State was selected as one of the final four universities in the first-ever “March Madness Tournament for Environmental Studies,” a competition assessing universities’ environmental education programs.
  • Colorado State was designated an Official Tree Campus USA. CSU was honored by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota Motor North America Inc. for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and communities in conversation about urban tree care.

Additional resources

CSU’s Climate Action Plan (CAP): In 2010, Colorado State University released its first CAP to define a path towards climate neutrality. The CAP outlines strategies to guide the university to carbon neutrality by the year 2050.

CSU’s STARS® Report

2016 Eco Literacy Assessment

Sustainability in Facilities Management

Sustainability in Housing & Dining Services