Delay in CSU vision to be carbon-neutral by 2020
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) – Colorado State University administrators say it will take longer than initially expected for the school to be carbon neutral.
Former CSU President Larry Penley had proposed the university become carbon-neutral by 2020. But current Fort Collins campus President Tony Frank says the university can’t afford to make major changes right now and acknowledges it could be decades before Penley’s vision is realized.
CSU’s emissions for everything from electrical power generation and commutes by faculty have been rising as the university has grown. In fiscal 2006, CSU emitted 217,070 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The Coloradoan reports those emissions rose 7 percent by 2009.
CSU would have to dramatically shift where it gets its power and reduce the power it uses to significantly reduce emissions, but the university has been adding new buildings and admitting more students.
“We could save a lot of energy by sending the students home, sending the researchers home. But that’s not what we do here,” said Carol Dollard, who helps coordinate CSU’s climate-action efforts. “We’re adding students, adding buildings.”
New buildings are being designed to be more efficient, though, and older buildings are being renovated to use less energy.
The newly renovated Student Recreation Center, for instance, is now twice as big but still uses the same amount of energy because engineers helped pick energy-efficient lights, equipment, and heating and air conditioning systems.
CSU also has taken smaller steps including installing energy-efficient lighting in the veterinary hospital and retrofitting vending machines so they shut off when no one is around, saving $4,300 worth of power annually, the Coloradoan reported.
Campuswide, CSU says that spending $2.7 million to fine-tune utility use in buildings will save $306,000 annually and reduce overall emissions by 1 percent, the Coloradoan reported.
“There’s still a lot of efficiency to be harvested,” Dollard said. “We’ve made some great strides. We have a long way to go.”
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