California State University, Chico, was named one of America’s greenest campuses in the most recent edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges. Chico State has been ranked on every list since The Princeton Review started their Green Colleges rankings in 2010.
Chico State’s energy conservation work has resulted in other awards, too. Those honors include:
- Being named to the Sierra Club Cool Schools List from 2013 - 2015, ahead of every other CSU school.
- A Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
- The Second Nature Climate Leadership Award
- A top-10 ranking in Lucid’s Campus Conservation Nationals in 2014
That’s quite the list and it begs one question - how has Chico State managed to be so energy-conscious for so long?
The answer lies in their commitment to infrastructure, student engagement, and technology.
The U.S. Green Building Council reported that buildings account for 39% of CO2 emissions. This means that any organization serious about energy conservation has to update their current buildings to reduce emissions, or pay for new buildings altogether.
According to a Chico State press release, more than half a dozen buildings on campus are, “certified Gold or Silver in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED Gold buildings include the Arts and Humanities Building . . . the parking structure near the University Police Department . . . and the Wildcat Recreation Center.”
To have buildings that large - especially a recreation center - qualify for Gold status is no small feat. It requires serious commitment, and the forward thinking to realize future savings outweigh current upfront costs.
The high level of energy conservation demonstrated by Chico State isn’t a walk in the park, but it has become such a part of their culture that the students are fully committed to these efforts as well.
Per the press release, CSU students have hosted the This Way to Sustainability conference for the past 12 years. It is the largest student-run sustainability conference in the country and focuses on opportunities to enhance community and individual well-being, and the resources needed to do so.
Along with infrastructure and student engagement, Chico State utilizes BuildingOS to report on their broad portfolio of buildings.
This investment in technology has centralized their sustainability efforts. Instead of their energy savings data being spread across multiple dashboards and touchpoints, BuildingOS consolidates that data into one place, giving Chico State building managers unparalleled insight.
Once they have that information, they can generate reports on building performance. Data on their sustainability efforts can even be viewed in real-time by anyone, promoting sustainability efforts and leading to direct action across campus. Because of such transparency, visibility into the progress of the school's efforts isn’t limited to university officials. Everyone at Chico State, including every student, is able to participate in finding areas where energy conservation can be improved.
Between a solid investment in infrastructure and smart reporting, as well as student commitment, Chico State has set an example for many other schools to follow. Read more about how Chico State as well as CSU Fullerton are making sustainability and energy management a top priority.