Rocky Mountain Institute Selects Colorado State University for Study of Universities that Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The prestigious Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass has selected Colorado State University for a national study on best practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on college and university campuses.

Colorado State is the only university selected in the Rocky Mountain West and one of a dozen institutions selected nationally for the study, which is co-sponsored by the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE.

Other colleges and universities selected for the study include Yale University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Vermont and Tufts University. For a complete list, visit the Web at

"Colorado State University has set an ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2020, and the significant challenges we must work through in reaching this goal will provide a valuable body of research that can benefit other institutions worldwide," said Colorado State President Larry Edward Penley. "We are proud that CSU’s experience will help to create a model that may encourage more widespread adoption of sustainable operations. We look forward to our collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute and AASHE to help our colleagues across the country emphasize energy conservation strategies in a cost-effective manner."

Ultimately, the Rocky Mountain Institute aims to develop a Web-based guide for other universities interested in the barriers and solutions for successful climate-change mitigation initiatives.

In August, RMI invited U.S. colleges and universities to submit proposal applications to host RMI researchers on their campuses this fall and take part in a collaborative RMI workshop to find solutions to common greenhouse-gas mitigation challenges.

Colorado State’s comprehensive approach to its climate-change efforts is receiving international attention. That approach includes everything from filtering pollutants through wetlands and eliminating trays in cafeterias to reduce waste to conducting global research on clean and renewable energy alternatives and sustainability. In addition, in July, the university announced the new School of Global Environmental Sustainability, which will streamline all the university’s environmental offerings to ensure that every student is properly prepared for the emerging green workforce.

Most recently, Newsweek magazine praised Colorado State as one of the nation’s greenest universities, and the Chronicle of Higher Education featured CSU’s Live Green Team – a group of students who led the sorting of recyclables for the Democratic National Convention, helping divert trash from the landfill. In September, Denmark and Spain recognized CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory with the 2008 Royal Award for Sustainable Technology Transfer.

With all its successes, the university can learn from the experiences of others, said Carol Dollard, a member of the university’s Facilities team working on tracking and reducing the university’s greenhouse gases.

"This is an opportunity for Colorado State to collaborate with other campuses, receive assistance with a climate action plan and eventually have the opportunity to obtain seed funding for a high potential greenhouse gas reduction project," Dollard said.

The Rocky Mountain Institute was established in 1982 by resource analysts L. Hunter Lovins and Amory B. Lovins. The mission of the non-profit organization is to show businesses, communities, individuals and governments how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage and enjoy many other benefits – largely by doing what they do more efficiently. The institute has grown to 80 full-time staff and an annual budget of $12 million.