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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

Sustainability Resources

Learn how to improve your sustainability efforts and gain insights on issues that pertain to a variety of topics including capital asset management and budgeting. Find out the right questions to ask and explore ideas your colleagues have incorporated.

Free Videos to Members!   (Slight cost to others)

Finance and Facilities Leadership Series: Win-Win Strategies
View six, 30-minute videos, by yourself or in a group, to discuss potential opportunities and challenges facing institutions today.  The videos are designed to help you gather nuggets of wisdom on issues that pertain to the expanding campus financial duties beyond the balance sheet. 

  • Turning Deferred Maintenance Challenges into Savings (University of Vermont)
  • Bending the Deferred Maintenance Curve, The Value of Whole-Building Energy Retrofits (University of California, Irvine)
  • A Facilities Primer (APPA & NACUBO)
  • Strengthening University Environmental Leadership  (University of Washington)
  • Food Recovery Network: How Campuses Can Fight Waste and Feed People Definitions
  • Strategies for Sustainability (Arizona State University)

Free Podcasts Open to All !

Tune into these complimentary audio programs today. Subscribe on iTunes or stream directly from your computer.


Episode 8: Ruth Johnston on Transforming Administration to Support the Academic Mission

Episode 9: Wendell Brase on Performance Improvement at UC Irvine

Episode 10: Fred Roger's on the ROI of Smart Sustainability

Business Officer magazine

Featured in the September 2015 issue of Business Officer magazine the article, Five Telling Measures, reveals the results of the joint APPA-NACUBO Key Facilities Metrics Survey.  The research provides a valuable snapshot, year over year, of campuswide energy and water consumption.

Poster Sessions

Tell Your Campus Story in Montréal - Bring a poster to the NACUBO Annual Meeting in Montréal. You can:

  • Highlight your campus efficiency success with a poster!
  • Receive up to two annual meeting registration discounts for this effort!
  • Amazing initiatives are occuring at your campus-others want to know!
  • Share your poster in Montreal and NACUBO will highlight your story throughout the year.

Other Resources by Topic

1.    Physical assets  - Buildings account for 40% of energy use and 60% of all global warming emissions. Campuses play a huge role in contributing to or mitigating the effects of climate change through the materials used, energy consumed and health involved with a concentration of large buildings.    Evaluate general layout and existing composition, match of mission to the building spaces for efficiency, indoor air quality, building operation, preventative maintenance programs, space (both classroom and office) utilization and efficiency, building materials, building assessment systems such as monitors, and scheduling availability.  Master planning the strategic goals for a campus should include evaluation of its overall efficiency, campus physical plant infrastructure and alliance of physical asset to academic programs.

2.    Energy  Benchmarking utilities to improve overall energy consumption.   The types of fuel used for energy, and the efficiency of heating/cooling systems play a major role in campus sustainability. By evaluating campus energy use, measures can be taken to reduce a large percentage of energy use without major changes to buildings. Work with utility providers to understand and reduce consumption to improve.   Further examination of creating all potential renewables is urged (photovoltaic, biomass, geothermal, wind, etc) along with potential for Combine Heat and Power plant.   Evaluate the creation and track energy conservation plan, monitor energy management plan, recommission buildings and actively evaluate lighting controls.   Verify Energy Star on all equipment and in purchasing.

3.    Water  There are a variety of opportunities to reduce water consumption on campuses. By reducing campus water consumption, institutions can reduce pressures on local aquifers, streams, rivers, lakes and aquatic wildlife. By decreasing storm water runoff and treating storm water on site, institutions can help replenish natural aquifers, reduce erosion impacts, and minimize local water contamination.  Financial savings can occur from both the original acquisition of water and the heating
               Reduction of water consumption can be varied; simple adjustment on water sink aerators,  low flow urinals/toilets, storm water management, building water metering, non-potable water usage, Xeriscaping (vegetation which does not require irrigation) weather-informed Irrigation, use of grey water, creation of cisterns, and other innovations.

4.    Food   Encouraging the use of local foods may empower and educate students, faculty and administration on the importance of being aware of food production. Using local foods will also stimulate the regional economy. Evaluation can be in use of local foods, dining waste, trayless dining, vegetarian and vegan options, trans-fats, pre-consumer food, waste composting, post-consumer food waste composting, food donation and recycled content products.

5.   Waste    Recycling and waste management are important for campus sustainability because addressing these issues can reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce hauling costs. According to the EPA, the disposal of solid waste produces greenhouse gas emissions in a number of ways.   First, the anaerobic decomposition of waste in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Second, the incineration of waste produces carbon dioxide as a by-product. In addition, the transportation of waste to disposal sites produces greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of the fuel used in the equipment. Finally, the disposal of materials indicates they are potentially replaced by new products; this production often requires the use of fossil fuels to obtain raw materials and manufacture the items, causing additional emissions.

Waste reduction can occur by examining two issues of diversion and disposal.  This can include variation of pickup times, construction and demolition waste, electronic waste recycling, hazardous waste management, materials exchange, limited printing, reuse inventory, move-in and move-out waste reduction.

6.  Transportation    Modes of transportation for both students and faculty commutes can greatly affect the greenhouse gases emissions. By providing and supporting alternative forms of transportation (bicycling, rideshare, walking, etc.) the campus can encourage this reduction in emissions. Campuses can help shape markets by creating demand for and enhancing the visibility of more efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality. Evaluation can occur on  many different categories, subsidies and strategies to improve: student and employee commute, Ride Share Program, Car Share Program (carpool discounts), public transportation, special parking, bicycle sharing, facilities for bicyclists and overall bicycle plan, condensed or alternative work schedules,  local housing, prohibiting idling, air miles offset programs,  and efficient campus fleet.

7.   Landscaping    Campus grounds play a strong role in sequestering carbon. Care must be taken to consider the impact building in certain areas will have on wildlife habitat and wetlands. Maintenance of buildings, removing ice/snow and dealing with pests are also opportunities to improve campus sustainability.    Evaluation can occur in a number of areas such as: native plants, wildlife habitat, xeriscaping, limited and controlled irrigation plans, Tree Campus USA, snow and ice removal, compost, and Integrated Pest Management.

8.    Purchasing    Decisions on what products to support and policies can be far reaching to improve sustainability. Campuses can make a difference by purchasing products which are produced sustainably. These products take into account the entire life-cycle of the item. By switching to non-toxic cleaning products, institutions reduce exposure impacts for all building occupants and the environment, thereby promoting clean and healthy work, living and learning spaces.    Evaluation should be of sustainable purchasing in buying Energy Star rated as well as computer, cleaning, texts and office products. 

9.    General Operations     The framework of administration and working within the unique culture and alignment of mission to processes can be overlaid with principles of sustainability.  Engaging campus staff to evaluate operations - ongoing commissioning to verify campus operating at peak performance, assuring leadership has adequate metrics to evaluate strategic decisions.   Bringing operations of physical plant into the core mission with inter academic  programmatic issues, offering sustainability that is integrated into  courses or research opportunities, bringing the operations of the institutions into the knowledge base of faculty and staff, service-related components,  the "living lab" development that is unit-based, student  or campus wide sustainability committees, campus policies, surrounding community partnerships and other unique program issues related to the campus.     As learning institutions, a major impact campuses can have on sustainability is simply to educate their students and faculty about the issues. By supporting sustainable research opportunities and creating curricula which integrate sustainable topics into each department, environmental literacy improves and has the opportunity to create catalytic change in the institutions.

10.  Carbon Emissions  -Carbon Climate    Campuses have the potential to either emit or reduce large amounts of carbon in the form of greenhouse gases from their many, large buildings.   Many different opportunities exist to either develop renewal energy sources on or off site for a campus,  use green space, green roofs and forest areas to mitigate these pollutants. By understanding where carbon emissions are coming from in the largest quantities (transportation, heating/cooling, etc.) it is possible to reduce these gases.


Sally Grans Korsh
Director, Facilities Management and Environmental Policy