Cal Poly says it's making progress on sustainability

Cal Poly has shown steady progress in its conservation efforts such as reducing commuter trips to campus, maintaining energy usage levels despite enrollment growth, and keeping its ground and creek water clean.

These findings were published in the university’s fifth biennial progress report on sustainability. The report highlights achievements within the university’s facilities and operations and across the campus as a whole.

“As students learn by doing at Cal Poly, a key part of that experience — from curriculum to campus life — must be a commitment to leave a better planet for future generations,” said Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong in a statement. “The entire Cal Poly community must lead by example.”

Accomplishments on the campus that serves about 20,000 students, and employs more than 2,000 faculty and staff, include the following:

  • Doubled use of free SLO Transit bus service for all faculty, staff and students over the past 10 years.
  • Increased percentage of vehicles in campus fleet (now 32 percent) that use alternative fuels, including more than 90 golf carts, 60 electric vehicles, 10 flex fuel and two propane vehicles.
  • Reduced number of commuter parking permits per student by nearly half over the past 10 years.
  • Reduced energy use by 21 percent since 2000, with relatively flat usage in recent years despite a 9 percent increase in on-campus residency. More than 7,000 students now live on campus.
  • Maintained water pollution levels at Stenner Creek that meet water quality standards. Starting in 2013, nitrate levels were lower leaving the campus than entering.
  • Opened $119 million Warren J. Baker Center for Science and Mathematics for classes in fall 2014 with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making 30 percent of the Cal Poly square footage LEED certified.

In 2004, the university made a commitment to the Talloires Declaration that lists 10 key guiding points to environmental sustainability.

Some of the principles include fostering environmental literacy for all, practicing institutional ecology, and creating an institutional culture of sustainability.

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