Colorado State University, Governor’s Energy Office Collaborate on Energy Efficiency

Colorado State University faculty and researchers will collaborate with the Governor’s Energy Office on a unique program to enhance energy efficiency across state government operations that employ 30,000 state workers.

The Governor’s Energy Office has signed an agreement with the Center for Multiscale Modeling for Atmospheric Processes, or CMMAP – a multi-institutional Science and Technology Center based at Colorado State – to implement mandatory energy-saving requirements.

The state’s Greening Government initiative includes such measures as reducing energy, water and paper use. A major component to this goal will be behavioral changes, Colorado State scientists said.

“We’re going to help the state’s Greening Government Council to organize workshops and develop fun and useful training for people who can then take the message of cutting energy usage to 30,000 employees,” said Scott Denning, an atmospheric science professor who is managing the program for the university. “We want to help people understand why this is important and why they should buy in.

“This collaboration is a huge gold star for CSU and an important part of our outreach and service mission as Colorado’s land-grant institution,” Denning said.

“Colorado is already positioned to be the first state reporting its greenhouse gas emissions from statewide operations and has implemented a number of major initiatives in buildings that will help reduce energy usage and save taxpayers money,” said TJ Deora, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This partnership with Colorado State University will help take us to the next level to ensure that we are changing behaviors and increasing our overall efficiency.”

The Greening Government Council includes representatives from each executive agency in the state responsible for implementing energy-saving changes. Colorado State researchers and students will work closely with the council on cutting-edge research related to state data on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The state and the university have established a small seed-grant fund to initiate research projects, said Michele Betsill, a political science professor affiliated with the university’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability, or SoGES. Betsill chairs the SoGES Environmental Governance Group, which is a multi-disciplinary CSU program seeking to advance research on issues of environmental governance and sustainability.

“Our scientists are anxious to help state officials not only cut energy consumption and costs, but also to work together on research that could lead to additional reduction measures or help other states or private industry tackle similar projects,” Betsill said.

The partnership also provides the Governor’s Energy Office with access to researchers in everything from organizational psychology and sociology to engineering, Denning said.

Beyond the initial efforts to assist greening government with a series of mini-grants, additional research topics have been submitted for consideration by CSU researchers. These topics identify broader issues related to physical science; behavioral psychology; economics; finance; vehicles and fuels; economic development; environmental and energy literacy; and commodity pricing.

Environmental goals required by executive order for state government operations include:
• 10 percent reduction in water consumption by 2012,
• 20 percent reduction in energy consumption by 2012,
• 20 percent reduction in paper consumption by 2012,
• 25 percent reduction in petroleum use by state fleet by 2012,
• 75 percent landfill diversion by 2020, and
• 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020 and 80 percent reduction by 2050.

About the Governor’s Energy Office

The mission of the Governor’s Energy Office (GEO) is to “promote sustainable economic development in Colorado through advancing the State’s energy market and industry to create jobs, increase energy security, lower long-term consumer costs, and protect our environment,” and the Administration’s efforts to make state government more efficient and effective while focused on activities that are essential.

For more information about the greening government program, go to

About the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes at Colorado State University

The Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes, or CMMAP, is one of 17 current Science and Technology Centers sponsored by the National Science foundation. CMMAP is a partnership of research and educational institutions, government agencies and industry. The center conducts cloud-modeling research and promotes the education of a diverse scientific workforce. CMMAP communicates its findings to the general public, to policy makers and to centers that predict weather and climate. For more information about CMMAP, go to