Sustainability success at CSU

English: The Botanical and Horticultural Labor...
English: The Botanical and Horticultural Laboratory on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins, Colorado. Now called Routt Hall, the building was erected in 1890 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walking through virtually every building on campus, blue recycling bins litter the hallways. These, and many more eco-friendly initiatives, are a part of CSU’s efforts toward making the university highly sustainable.

With rising costs of Fort Collins utilities threatening valuable dollars that could be spent elsewhere, CSU facilities management energy engineer Carol Dollard said she works to ensure that sustainability is enforced campus-wide.


“One of the things that makes CSU stand out is how broad sustainability is across campus,” Dollard said. “We do energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that are big, small and everywhere in between.”

With the implementation of “green projects,” the university has been able to keep utility bills flat in terms of dollars for the past four to five years, according to Dollard.

The green projects can be seen across campus and include recycling in residence halls, waste audits in dining centers, creating energy efficient heating and ventilation, water system upgrades and many more.

One specific green project that invested over $2 million in new fluorescent light bulbs, increased efficiency around 35 percent.

“I think most students that come here are connected to sustainability in some fashion. For them to know that their dollars they’re spending are going towards initiatives that they want to see, is huge,” said Tim Broderick, sustainability coordinator for housing and dining services.

While these eco-friendly investments may seem too minor to make a difference, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Reporting System (STARS) survey attests to their success.

STARS is a national survey that measures sustainability efforts at universities and colleges across the country. CSU is once again the top school nationwide for our efforts.

“As of late with our number one sustainability ranking, we’ve been really pushing but I think we were always a sustainable university to begin with,” said Jacob Kimiecik, director of the Student Sustainability Center.

Within Housing and Dining Services, many eco-friendly changes are being implemented to teach residents that sustainable living can continue long after moving out of the dorms.

“Dining services looks at what we are doing with our food waste and get it to the Larimer County food bank, we recycle our oil and are turning it into biodiesel,” Broderick said. “We hope that our first year students really come away with an idea of sustainability and how that plays out in their daily life.”


With the recent sustainable success and recognition, it is clear that CSU has no plans of slowing down on the green projects and campus-wide initiatives.

According to Dollard, with the rising costs of utilities, the university will introduce even more green projects to hopefully combat and offset the costs.

“We’re definitely headed in the right direction and I see nothing but good things for the future of CSU,” Kimiecik said.

Collegian Campus Beat Reporter Lauren Rullman can be reached at