Boise State University, ID Campus Sustainability Initiatives and Actions

From Green Policy
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Boise State University, ID, US

Loading map...

Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


As Boise State rapidly advances and grows as a research university of distinction, we must ensure that we do so with mindful focus on creating a campus with an environmentally neutral footprint while advancing research in sustainability. President’s Climate Commitment

In 2007, President Kustra joined more than 400 college & university leaders by signing the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which commits Boise State to developing and executing a comprehensive plan to become climate neutral within 3 years. As part of that commitment, Kustra created the OERPCS and designated it as the office responsible for guiding the plan’s development and implementation.

The commitment requires signatories to initiate two or more tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases while the more comprehensive plan is being developed. The OERPCS has selected the following:

  • Campus Building Policy
Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or equivalent. The policy being drafted will mandate that new buildings meet energy efficiency standards far in excess of current building codes.
  • Transportation
Encourage use of and provide access to public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors at our institution. As we proceed with our GHG inventory, it seems clear that commuting will be among the largest contributor to the emissions. Promoting public transportation, car pooling, bicycling and other options will be an important part of the new OERPCS.
  • Waste Minimization
As part of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the OERPCS will establish a comprehensive campus-wide recycling program which will incorporate the best practices of the existing programs. Additionally, Boise State will participate in the Waste Minimization component of the national RecycleMania competition, and adopt 3 or more associated measures to reduce waste.
1. The AVPERPCS will host a "Recycling Summit" on campus to coordinate the various recycling efforts on campus.
2. The AVPERPCS will be developing a waste stream reduction plan, with the goal of dramatically reducing the overall waste stream of the campus.
3. The campus is currently re-negotiating the beverage vending contracts and the impact of the contract on sustainability will be a consideration.

Campus Recycling
Boise State students, faculty and staff have initiated several recycling programs on campus, including: the SUB; Campus Housing; Facilities Operations & Maintenance; and athletics.


This is a partial list of Boise State's sustainability initiatives that have occurred since the year 2000.

Design of new projects

  • Aggressive energy use savings targets for all new construction.
  • Integrated design and full building level energy modeling to support choices for best long term value required on all major projects.
  • High quality design for future adaptability to insure long term usefulness of new facilities
  • Long term sustainability in land use planning decisions
  • Durable materials mandated for long life facilities
  • High efficiency glazing standard
  • Low emission material required for interior space to improve indoor air quality


  • Received a Better Bricks award for improvements to energy efficiency which were achieved through innovative performance contracting resulting in:
  • Changed 52 miles of fluorescent bulbs, 400 toilets and many other conversions. These changes resulted in an annual cost avoidance of nearly $400,000.
  • Reduced electrical use by 19.3% (7,300,000 kW per year).
  • Reduced Carbon Dioxide emissions by 83,000,000 pounds per year
  • Reduced natural gas consumption by 50%
  • Central Energy Management System
  • Expanded building automating systems for central control and remote building management to reduce utilities when buildings are not occupied. This resulted in a 16% reduction in utility use or $300,000 cost avoidance per year.
  • Building level metering – allows web based feedback on energy use to building users growing awareness of impact of individual behavior on energy consumption.
  • Commissioning and retro commissioning - Test and verification of systems design installation and operations to maintain maximum efficiency.
  • Geothermal - Every new building is designed to accommodate future geothermal heating from the city. Buildings undergoing a major remodel are also being prepared to accept geothermal heating.
  • Purchased wind power credits to power the Morrison Residence Hall.
  • VendingMeisers installed on all vending machines


  • Bus passes are provided free to Boise State faculty, staff, and students during spring and fall semesters. Student enrollment increased last year around 1.5% and bus ridership increased 8.2%. Since 2003, campus ridership has increased 44%.
  • A free shuttle serves the campus and apartment complexes near the campus. The result is fewer intra-campus trips made in vehicles.
  • New car pool efforts included more localized ride matching, guaranteed ride home for when emergencies occur, and carpool parking spaces placed in the most desirable areas.
  • Awards of over $3,000,000 in transportation grants in the last 5 years are used to purchase shuttles, build bus shelters and build a new transit center (currently being planned). An additional $1,000,000 grant has been submitted to develop park and ride locations.
  • Participate in local alternative transportation events such as Roll With It, and World Car Free Day.
  • Hold an annual day-long Bicycle Congress with speakers on aspects of bicycle riding and commuting.
  • Bike Barn - Boise State opened a new bike barn in fall of 2006. Located in the Kinesiology Annex building, the facility, believed to be the first of its kind on a northwest college campus, provides a locked indoor bike storage facility, showers, lockers and dry cleaning service.
  • Post “Clean Air” signs around campus to remind delivery trucks to turn off their engines.
  • When available, purchase only alternative fuel (E85) vehicles for fleet operations.
  • Increasing the number of small gas and electric utility vehicles in fleet to eliminate large vehicle emissions.

The Boise State College of Applied Technology received a grant to create a bio-diesel production process on campus. Waste cooking oil from Culinary Arts is converted by the Diesel Technology department into bio-diesel. This bio-fuel is then used in the campus recycling truck. Students are able to learn about this process from beginning to end, and study the truck and its maintenance as it relates to use of bio-diesel.


  • Campus-wide recycling of white copy paper, mixed paper, aluminum cans, plastic drink bottles, printer cartridges, cardboard and newspapers. Recycled over 50 tons of used paper in 2006.
  • Salvage operations attempts to find uses for used equipment and furnishing:
  • A community glass recycling container was installed on the corner of Capital and Diploma in partnership with the City of Boise.
  • Partnered with Associated Students of BSU to purchase a new recycling truck that runs bio-diesel fuel.


  • All leaves and grass are mowed and left in place.
  • Watering systems are computerized and adjusted to weather conditions. Zone watering and drip systems are also used to reduce water use.
  • Implemented Integrated Pest Management Program in a goal to eliminate pesticides.
  • Increased use of low-water vegetation to reduce surface water consumption.
  • Using food plants in the landscape such as herbs in front of Culinary Arts.
  • Aggressively implement turf and vegetation practices that significantly reduce herbicide needs.


  • The BroncoPrint initiative reduced paper use in the student computer labs by 42% and reduced the amount of paper recycled by more than 90%. Students are being more selective in what they print and printing only what they need.
  • Boise State has lead Idaho state government in asking for and receiving the first state purchasing contract for products that contain a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Products include paper towels, toilet paper and copy paper.


  • Wind Energy – The Boise State College of Engineering received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund wind energy research. The goal of the project is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel while also contributing to the development of a local wind energy economic cluster.
  • Energy Policy - Boise State researchers are part of a statewide consortium, The Energy Policy Institute, charged with determining Idaho’s best energy options for the future.
  • Geothermal - Boise State is part of the Intermountain West Geothermal Consortium, comprised of members from academic institutions in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Oregon and from the Idaho National Laboratory. Members conduct geothermal research throughout the West in order to fully and economically utilize geothermal resources.
  • Global Warming - Researchers in Boise State’s Department of Geosciences are looking at the processes involved in climate change across the globe, while economics professor Siân Mooney studies the impact of climate change on agriculture and ways to offset these impacts. In addition, several new classes have been developed across the curriculum to address climate change issues.

Green Team

  • A campus sustainability committee, also known as the Green Team, was formed during Campus Sustainability Day in 2005 with the charge to raise awareness and participation in sustainability initiatives and to seek opportunities to enhance existing and implement new sustainable activities.
  • Hosted Campus Sustainability Day 2006 including a webcast, chalk ecological footprints on campus sidewalks, presentation by a local architect and screening of An Inconvenient Truth.
  • Hosted a webcast on design and construction of green buildings.
  • Coordinated a seminar for facilities planning council with private developer of Boise’s leading green building.
  • Participated in developing Earth Week activities.
  • Help support Focus the Nation, an initiative at over 1,000 colleges and universities to collaboratively engage in a nationwide, interdisciplinary discussion about clean energy solutions culminating on January 31, 2008.
  • Secured additional print material on sustainability for the library.
  • Hold monthly meetings and developed a website to share information on sustainability on campus.