Campus sustainability encompasses a wide variety of efforts to steward the University's resources and reduce our environmental impact. Sustainability includes areas such as climate action, energy, water, waste reduction, transportation, food, green buildings, social responsibility, and academics. Efforts span from large capital projects to outreach efforts, engaging the campus to embrace and embody sustainability. Campus sustainability partners with all other areas of Facilities Services and entities across campus, including auxiliaries and academics.
San Diego State University has signed on to the Carbon Commitment, with a goal of achieving carbon neutrality as a campus. The campus carbon footprint is primarily related to on-site electricity and steam generation, through the cogeneration plant, and the campus community's commuting to and from campus. In May of 2017, President Hirshmann signed the San Diego State Univeristy Climate Action Plan.
Energy efforts include plant optimization, retro-commissioning, lighting retrofits, and controls upgrades. Most electricity is generated on campus through the cogeneration plant. Energy reduction projects often save money will reducing our environmental impact.
Especially in drought prone California, preserving our water resources is important. Campus has reduced irrigation usage through efficient irrigation system upgrades (rotators and drip) and responsible plant selection. Interior usage has been curbed by updating to more efficient restroom fixtures.
In recent years, campus has made strides to reduce the waste we send to landfills. Hauler data allow us to pinpoint recycling rates on a building or building cluster level, enabling us to identify problem areas. Standardization and addition/replacement of recycle and landfill bins are underway, including improved signage. Pre-consumer composting is collected in all campus kitchens and yard waste is composted as well. Campus sustainability will be increasing outreach efforts, including participation in Recyclemania.
Please see recycling guidelines for campus. Feel free to post in your area!
There are several dozen hydration stations across campus encouraging people to reduce their bottled water consumption.
Nearly half of our carbon emissions are due to students, faculty, and staff commuting to campus. A trolley station and bus stops on campus provides a convenient and responsible way to commute to campus and around the area. We have a network of bike paths and shared roads to encourage bicycling around campus. Zipcar allows people to borrow a car when needed without needing to bring a car to campus. Zimride allows SDSU affiliates to connect to each other to carpool. Campus also has more than twenty electric charging stations encouraging people to use electric vehicles.
Aztec Shops has a variety of sustainability efforts in their dining facilities. In 2015, SDSU Dining became the first campus to require all of its tenants to meet the GRA's Certified Green Restaurant® environmental standards. Nearly two dozen entities on campus have received this certification. SDSU is a partner in the College Area Community Garden, which allows community members to grow their own food. Aztec Shops has twenty plots there to grow their own food which is used in their facilities.
LEED is the standard for rating the green elements of new and existing buildings. Campus has six buildings with either New Construction or Existing Building LEED certifications, including the double Platinum Aztec Student Union. Facilities Services and SDSU as a whole have several employees who are LEED Green Associates or Accredited Professionals. Facilities Services, Housing, and Associated Students have held several trainings encouraging their staff and students to achieve this accreditation.
Associated Students leads a campaign to combat food food insecurity with a mobile food pantry. The campaign also alerts students to leftover food from events on campus. Campus also has strong diversity and disability services departments. Lactation rooms give breastfeeding mothers a private space to pump milk. Gender neutral bathrooms provide a safe place for transgender, gender non-conforming, and people of any gender identity.
Academics & Research
SDSU has a dedicated Sustainability Major and Minor program, preparing students to utilize their skills and knowledge to advance sustainability in their careers. Several other departments have sustainability components, from Geography to Engineering to Business.
The Sage Project is a partnership between SDSU and surrounding communities. Students engage in real world projects that help other communities’ meet their social needs, including sustainability and livability. Each year, thousands of students and dozens of faculty members give their time to find solutions to a community’s challenges.
There are also several research efforts underway to explore sustainability, including the Industrial Assessment Center, Blue Gold, and Center for Sustainable Energy. Research on Climate and Sustainability is also part of SDSU's Strategic Plan.
We are implementing an advanced energy and sustainability information system. This will assist us in automated utility bill management, advanced fault detection diagnostics to find problems in our HVAC systems, high level analytics, and public facing dashboards to display information about our resource consumption.
For an overview of campus sustainability, please see this presentation.