Campus Sustainability Tour - Colorado College

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Campus Sustainability Virtual Tour Printable walking tour [PDF] About this tour

More Sustainability Initiatives

2020 Campaign for Carbon Neutrality

In 2008, Colorado College completed a full study of its carbon footprint and drafted a sustainability plan to meet the goal of carbon neutrality, which it aims to achieve in the year 2020. The individual goals of the 2020 Campaign for Carbon Neutrality are to achieve 20 percent of our carbon footprint reduction through behavioral change, 30 percent through technological improvements for energy conservation, and 50 percent through renewable energy sources. Beyond carbon neutrality, CC’s long-term goal is to become carbon-regenerative and a net energy producer, in order to offset other unavoidable carbon footprint aspects such as heating with natural gas and college related travel.

Academics and sustainability

CC offers four formal majors related to sustainability: Environmental science, environmental policy, environmental chemistry, and environmental physics. CC also offers a thematic minor in environmental issues that is accessible to students in all disciplines. There are many classes that relate to the environment. A few examples are: Introduction to Global Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Ecological Economics, Human Impacts on Biogeochemical Cycles, and Social and Environmental Justice in the Southwest.
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Campus Sustainability Council

One of Colorado College’s core values is to “nurture a sense of place and an ethic of environmental sustainability.” The Campus Sustainability Council helps put that value into practice. The CSC is comprised of students, faculty, and staff who are appointed by the president. In 2008, building off of a comprehensive environmental inventory and recommendations for sustainability management, the CSC drafted the campus sustainability plan. The Board of Trustees approved the plan shortly thereafter.
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Efficient ice

The college installed low-emissivity ceiling material in Honnen Ice Arena, saving 20-30 percent in electricity refrigeration costs to maintain the ice at the proper temperature.

Electrical system

The college has replaced a majority of its building fluorescent T-12, magnetic ballasted lighting systems with energy-efficient electronic ballasts and T-8, T-5, and compact fluorescent fixtures. Room occupancy sensors were installed in several classroom buildings; when the sensors detect that a room is devoid of people, the lights go out and the heat goes down. LED exterior lighting has been installed along the Tiger Trail walkway to Stewart Field and in landscape areas and walkways around Packard Hall; LED lighting has 10 times the life, and uses one-tenth of the wattage of other light sources.

Green cleaning

Custodial workers use “Green Seal” and “Green Seal Certified” products for all cleaning, and the college has established sustainable practices for purchasing products and supplies and equipment operations. The college also started using fewer chemicals in laundry operations and saving water by eliminating rewashes. A maintenance program for laundry machines was established, ensuring optimum performance and water reduction.

President's Climate Commitment

Colorado College President Dick Celeste signed the Presidents Climate Commitment on April 14, 2009.The PCC enlists colleges and universities in the fight to cut greenhouse gas emissions and achieve carbon neutrality. To date, more than 650 college and university presidents or chancellors across the country have signed the PCC. Before becoming a signatory of the PCC, the college completed a full study of its carbon footprint and drafted a sustainability plan to meet the goal of carbon neutrality, which it aims to achieve in the year 2020. The college’s long-term goal is to become carbon-regenerative and a net energy producer.
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For the first time in 2009, CC participated in Recyclemania, a competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. CC finished 22nd (top 10 percent) in the Grand Champion category, which measures cumulative recycling rate.
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Saving water

Colorado Springs is considered an “alpine desert” and receives more than 300 days of sunshine, but only about 16 inches of precipitation per year. Therefore, water is precious. The college has installed low-flow or water-conserving devices — including showerheads, toilets, aerator nozzles, and motion-detecting faucets — in some buildings around campus.

Sustainable paint

The college uses powder-coat paint, rather than brush painting, for exterior signage and hand railings. The powder-coat paint process emits no volatile organic compounds to the atmosphere, doesn’t generate hazardous waste, eliminates environmental compliance issues, and is approved by the EPA. For interior painting, the college uses four color palettes. Each palette has a light base color and up to three coordinated accent colors. This standardization reduces the amount of stored touch-up paint required and provides better control of environmentally friendly paint products on campus.


Since we are a residential college, few CC students drive to campus daily. The compact CC campus is bike-friendly, which is particularly convenient for first-year students, who may not bring cars to campus. The college has incorporated hybrid/alternative vehicles into the campus fleet, including two Honda Civic hybrids, one Ford Escape hybrid, and two plug-in electric service vehicles. There are also 11 B20 biodiesel vehicles, including buses and tractors. The president and facilities project managers use energy efficient electric Segway scooters to get around campus.