Climate & Greenhouse Gases
Dynamic growth while continuing to be financially responsible, academically sound and environmentally sustainable. We meet the future with energy, enthusiasm and a commitment to retaining a close, interconnected campus community (UCCS Values of Excellence). UCCS is committed to sustainability and addressing climate change by mitigating our greenhouse gas emissions and successfully adapting to a resource and carbon-constrained planet .
In 2007, on behalf of the students, faculty, staff and alumni of UCCS, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). In doing so, she stated:
"We are in an era requiring leadership and innovative approaches to prepare our graduates for a rapidly changing global environment. UCCS seeks to play a pivotal leadership role in creating a culture of sustainability, providing both the knowledge and practices that students can carry with them into their lives after college. We are committed to a sustainability vision that builds on our early successes and utilizes all of our talents to create a legacy for future generations.
I signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment on behalf of faculty, staff, and students. To significantly reduce our carbon emissions and incorporate sustainability into the curriculum will take a concerted effort by the entire campus community. I invite all of the UCCS community to get involved in helping the campus to reduce its carbon footprint, model sustainable practices for our students, and provide curriculum that facilitates the leadership needed to address this era's significant challenges." Pam Shockley-Zalabak, Chancellor, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
In response to the chancellor's directive, UCCS published its first Climate Action Plan, a comprehensive document that describes our strategies and goals for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and eventually achieving carbon neutrality. To execute the plan, the university convened the Climate Advisory Board, consisting of administrators, faculty, staff and students, who are developing specific strategies, initiatives, and programs to meet our goals. If you are part of the UCCS community, please contact the Office of Sustainability to get involved in this board and be part of UCCS' future.
UCCS 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions
During the 2016 fiscal year, UCCS' greenhouse gas emissions have increased, primarily due to increases in campus population and building square footage. This is countered by the fact that Colorado Springs Utility (CSU) has reduced its emissions per unit of energy because coal use, the primary contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, has decreased from approximately 75% to 50%; this was replaced mostly by natural gas, a cleaner fuel that produces fewer emissions compared to coal.
Here at UCCS we have mitigated much of these emissions through on-site solar photovoltaics, off-site solar gardens, and renewable energy credits (RECs). Primarily due to the purchase of RECs, UCCS is well below the emissions reduction target for 2016 and we are on track to meet our first major milestone in 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% from 2016 levels, a significant achievement given the campus growth
- Continue to implement no or low-cost energy efficiency projects and explore options for funding of energy efficiency projects, which can potentially provide a solid return investment through reduced energy costs and value added to the buildings.
- Investigate ideas to improve campus engagement in helping to reduce campus energy and resource use, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Continue to pursue renewable energy projects with CSU and third party-party entities.