Climate Action Plan


As a signatory of the ACUPCC the university is required to develop a comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CAP). This plan requires the university to conduct a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory to measure and define its yearly contribution to climate change. In partnership with the IGERT Program in Sustainable Urban Infrastructure at the university, a comprehensive GHG Inventory (PDF) was conceived that revealed:

  • University GHG Emissions for 2006/2007 were 164,000 metric tons/CO2 equivalent
  • Approximately 75% of our GHG emission come from energy use in our buildings
  • Energy use in university research facilities is intensive

With this information in hand, the Chancellor’s Advisory Task Force on Sustainability is developing a CAP that will provide a 20 percent reduction from the 2006/2007 baseline through:

  • Energy efficiency projects in university buildings
  • Renewable energy development
  • Education and communications
  • Appropriate Funding mechanisms for projects
  • Integration of CAP into all aspects of campus activities

This site will serve as a transparent gateway into climate action planning at the university and will be updated as the CAP and specific projects are developed. An Executive Summary of the university CAP (PDF) is available for your review.


Colorado Legislative and Climate Action Landscape

Over the past several sessions at the Colorado capitol, the state legislature has been active in addressing climate change policy by setting aggressive goals on state agencies, including higher education, and the business community to address cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) and Energy Use intensity (EUI) from facilities. CU Anschutz has been complying with these new protocols by placing all our facilities’ energy and GHG data into the EnergyStar Portfolio Manager. This allows us to track and monitor our data in real-time and more effectively plan for projects that will assist in meeting goals.

The latest GHG Reduction goals come from SB23-016 which calls for the following reductions from our GHG baseline:

  • 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025
  • 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
  • 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2035
  • 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040
  • 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045
  • 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Energy Use Intensity, or energy used per square foot, reduction goals were established by HB21-1286 and require the following reductions from a 2021 baseline:

  • 7% reduction in average EUI by 2026
  • 20% reduction in average EUI by 2030

CU System Strategic Plan Goals

The CU System has also developed sustainability and climate action goals as part of the CU System Strategic Plan created in 2020. This plan has differing goals for each CU campus to meet by 2026 and includes its own GHG and EUI reduction goals. These goals are a 15% reduction in GHG emissions (2019 baseline) and a 10% reduction in Energy Use Intensity (2019 baseline).

Other strategic goals include a commitment to 5% on-site renewable energy generation, transition 20% of fleet vehicles to electric, as well as the development of an Energy Master Plan and a new Climate Action Plan.

Energy Master Plan and Climate Action Plan

To assist the University in long-range planning for these many goals from the state and the CU System, we are in the early stages of developing two plans that will assist in meeting these goals. The University is starting the development of an Energy Master Plan (EMP) that will define strategic, prioritized energy strategies. The EMP will also define CU Anschutz’s Sustainability and Energy Resiliency goals as they relate to energy, to support campus greenhouse gas reduction and resiliency in a financially viable manner. The expected strategies will include energy efficiency planning, conservation measures, continuous facility optimization, operations improvements, occupant engagement, and renewable energy. The plan is intended to serve as a long-term living document.

The Energy Master Plan (EMP) will serve as a tool for the campus to deploy 21st century energy strategies and solutions, meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, meet all relevant state laws, statutes, and guidelines, and serve the university’s core mission of education and research. This effort will start in January 2024 and is expected to take six months.

The Climate Action Plan (CAP) will be developed alongside the EMP and will similarly be set up as a phased approach to energy and GHG emissions reductions, as well as other natural resource use reductions. Building on the strategies for energy production and conservation from the EMP, the Climate Action Plan will also address transit/commuting, space utilization of facilities, water use, waste diversion, education, curriculum & policy, and sustainability in labs & research. We expect this effort to involve the larger campus community as we need expertise and input from across the campus.

CMS Login