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Colorado State University is first institution in the world to become platinum STARS certified

Out of 700 schools on six continents, CSU became the first institution in the world to receive a platinum rating by the STARS sustainability rating system.

The STARS rating system measures four broad categories: academics/research, engagement, operations and planning/administration. The rating system includes environmental, economic and diversity/social justice topics, according to a fact sheet.

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“(The platinum rating) represents CSU’s long term commitment to sustainability,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communication and sustainability for CSU. “We stand out from other universities because we are the first to have STARS Platinum certification and we have broad sustainability initiatives.”

Lucy Masters, a senior psychology major, stands next to the Living Green Wall at Laurel Village. (Photo Credit: Christina Vessa)
Lucy Masters, a senior psychology major, stands next to the Living Green Wall at Laurel Village. (Photo Credit: Christina Vessa)

Miyamoto said 1025 data points make up the STARS rating system. She said points are earned over a broad spectrum from types of courses offered to where money is invested.

Under the umbrella of the STARS ratings is the LEED certification.

LEED is a green building certification program that judges buildings by their sustainability infrastructure and practices. To receive this certification, buildings must meet standards and prerequisites. The first building to become LEED certified at CSU was the transit center in 2007.

Almost every aspect of the University’s operations are included in the STARS rating system.

“There are many different aspects to sustainability,” said Tim Broderick, senior sustainability coordinator for housing and dining. “We are leaders around the world.”

Each year, the components of the rating system become more strict, according to Broderick. He said the University is constantly improving their sustainable efforts to meet the increasing expectations of the STARS rating system.

When asked about the future of sustainable practices at CSU, Broderick said that he believes the University is looking to improve community engagement with sustainable buildings on campus.

It takes about one week to install a set of solar panels, according to Nick Williamson, Commercial Project Manager for Namaste Solar. Colorado State University plans to install five more sets by June.
It takes about one week to install a set of solar panels, according to Nick Williamson, Commercial Project Manager for Namaste Solar. Colorado State University plans to install five more sets by June.

The Pavilion at Laurel Village offers an interactive screen where users can learn and engage with the building and its features.

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“The next step is having the buildings being living organisms,” Miyamoto said. “The idea is engagement with the users of the building.”

The Pavilion at Laurel Village is in the process of being certified as LEED platinum. This building features sustainable aspects such as the Living Green Wall, which encourages use of the stairs and increases interior oxygen levels.

Lucy Masters, a senior psychology major and community desk manager at Laurel Village, said buildings such as the Pavilion give unique learning experiences by incorporating light, fresh air and comfortable social spaces.

“I can see us using this approach on other buildings in the future,” Masters said. “I think this is important for learning environments.”

Collegian Reporter Keoni Grundhauser can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @kgrundhauser.

 

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