Campus Sustainability Executive Council to add student government representatives—March meeting summary – University of Colorado Boulder

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The Campus Sustainability Executive Council convened Tuesday, March 12, to discuss the following topics:
Discussion: Following requests at the January sustainability and Climate Action Plan (CAP) open forums and feedback received during the CAP open comment period, the council discussed whether to add student members to the group. Student representation had previously been through the engagement committee.
Decision: The council agreed that it would be appropriate to invite the University of Colorado Student Government (CUSG) and the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) to discuss representation on the Executive Council.
Next steps: Patrick O’Rourke will meet with CUSG and GPSG leadership to discuss participation in advance of the next council meeting in April.
Discussion: Following completion of the open comment period, the council discussed the process for analyzing feedback and incorporating it into the CAP.
Decision: The CAP steering committee will complete feedback reviews and analysis by April 1, after which edits will be made and suggestions will be incorporated into the CAP document. Following the chancellor’s sign-off, the council will review the updated version for approval, with a goal of releasing it during the Campus Sustainability Summit on April 24 and 25.
Discussion: Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Sustainability Chris Ewing discussed the planned upgrades to the West District Energy Plant (WDEP) and the requirements for state regulations. He defined the needs for the campus as including the continuity of research and housing operations and the need to ensure the campus can produce co-generated power.
Next steps: A faculty, staff and student shared governance group that includes members from the Boulder Faculty Assembly, faculty from the College of Engineering and Applied Science and Colorado Law, as well as a graduate student from Colorado Law, will be submitting a report that may recommend alternatives to the planned WDEP upgrades following a deeper review of the project.

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Discussion/next steps: The council discussed the following projects, including their benefits and costs:
A component of CU Boulder’s Energy Master Plan includes identifying ways the campus can reduce the amount of energy consumed. The audit of these 18 buildings identified upgrades to the buildings that can lead to reductions in energy use, among other benefits. The projects will start summer 2024 and be completed in 2025.
Pending Board of Regents approval of the project, solar panels on East Campus will add 1.1 megawatts of solar. The project is slated to start summer 2024 and will be completed in 2025.
The Colorado Energy Office is scheduled to respond to CU Boulder’s applications for two grants to do geothermal studies on campus by the end of April.
The virtual net metering project will add approximately 5.9 MW of offsite solar generation beyond what Xcel would be required to do under their regulatory requirements, for which CU Boulder will be credited for the energy production on their utility bills and will retain the associated renewable energy credits. This project is in alignment with the intent of the CAP.
This funding enables the next phase of design to begin for the campus decarbonization plan.
Discussion: CU Boulder’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management Brian Lindoerfer presented five potential on-campus solar projects, including their costs and the amount of energy each would generate.
Next steps: Lindoerfer recommended building solar arrays on the roofs of parking garages and moving forward with the ground array on East Campus because these projects will provide the most output.
The Sustainability Executive Council brings together decision-makers and leaders from across campus to drive action and accountability to achieve carbon neutrality, goals outlined in the Chancellor’s Call to Climate Action and the implementation of the campus Climate Action Plan.
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