Brendle Group Blog

Engineering Sustainable Change

Colorado State University’s Collaborative Learning Experience

By: Carol Dollard

Wow – where have 20 years gone? Hard to admit, but I have been working at CSU almost 18 years.  In that time, our sustainability efforts have ramped up and the Brendle Group has been right alongside us in many of those efforts.

When CSU began conducting comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories in 2008, we reached out to select a partner with expertise in that area.  Brendle Group was selected and provided a sounding board for the team conducting the inventory.  Far from doing it for us, they helped us find references, checked our assumptions, and in the end reviewed our work to help us come up the learning curve ourselves.  In subsequent years, the team at CSU has become more proficient in conducting the inventory and now just relies on Brendle Group for a third-party review of the final submission.

In June 2008, then President Penley signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) where we pledged to take the university to climate neutrality.  Frankly, when we made that commitment, the path to get there was not clear.  CSU reached out for help developing a Climate Action Plan (CAP) in order to make a roadmap to achieve that goal.  It was quite fortuitous that Brendle Group was selected.  Brendle Group staff led a team from CSU (representing all aspects of campus) through an exercise where we identified goals, projects, and timelines in order to meet the ACUPCC commitment.  The university uses the resulting CAP as a guiding document to inform decisions about future sustainability efforts. According to ACUPCC guidelines, the CAP has to be updated every 2 years.  Brendle Group staff did such a great job of training and providing tools to university staff that we have been able to handle all the subsequent updates with in-house staff.

So as I look back at how the university has grown and developed expertise in sustainability – particularly documenting sustainability efforts, I have to give credit to the folks at Brendle Group that have created a collaborative learning experience to allow our team to gain the confidence to tackle these difficult tasks.  Thanks and here’s to many more years of collaborations.

View CSU’s Climate Action Plan here.

Learn more about CSU’s sustainability practices here.

About the Author – Carol Dollard is an Energy Engineer and co-chair of the President’s Sustainability Committee at CSU.  In her nearly 18 years here, she has helped make University operations more sustainable including: 13 PV installations totaling over 6.7 MW, a biomass plant that burns wood chips, dozens of LEED buildings including 2 Platinum, and over $10 million of efficiency projects.  She leads a team that conducts the University’s annual GHG inventory and produces biannual updates to the CSU Climate Action Plan.