CSU Campus Construction Projects and Practices Lauded for Safety and Sustainability

​​Several CSU campuses were recognized for excellence in Safety in Construction and Sustainable Campus Practices during the February 2021 Facilities Management Virtual Forum, a systemwide conference facilitated by the Capital Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC) department of the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

The awards reflect a remarkable array of campus projects honored for their model efforts. Through a spirit of continuous improvement, these campus teams highlight the effective stewardship of the facilities across the 23 CSU campuses—collectively one of the state’s most important assets.

​Sustainable Campus Practices 

Sustainable campus practices have been a part of the CSU’s culture for decades, and the current focus is on reducing carbon emissions and equitably managing the impacts of climate change.

“While every campus has exemplary sustainability stories to tell, three were selected for their model efforts in 2020,” says Aaron Klemm, Chief of Energy, Sustainability and Transportation at the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

  • Energy Usage Reductions: CSU Dominguez Hills was recognized for its energy usage reductions—measured in BTUs per square foot—between March and August 2020 as compared to the same timeframe in 2019. In response to changes in the on-campus population due to COVID, the CSUDH team leveraged their building monitoring technologies to optimize service for the reduced occupancy levels, including customizing their HVAC and lighting schedules. These innovative practices delivered much-needed cost savings to support the university during these difficult times.

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions: Sacramento State reduced their greenhouse gas emissions—measured in metric tons per square foot—between fiscal year 2017-18 and 2019-20. The campus’ emissions strategy focused on lighting retrofits and improved central plant efficiency. In addition, all of  Sacramento State’s new construction meets the highest environmental standards, such as the LEED Gold certified science building and all-electric Welcome Center.

  • Highest STARS Score: CSUN received the highest STARS rating in 2020, achieving a score of 74.33 points, just 10 points shy of Platinum status. This recognition highlights CSUN’s commitment to sustainability and its holistic approach to meaningful climate action initiatives. ​The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) platform from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) uses a common set of measurements for campuses to benchmark their sustainability progress across four main categories: academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration. All 23 CSU campuses now use the STARS framework to self-report and draw meaningful comparisons.

  • Most Improved STARS Score: CSU Dominguez Hills had the greatest improvement between their previous and current STARS scores. Now at 54.16 STARS points, the campus rating has moved from Bronze to Silver, serving as an example of what’s possible when an institution embraces sustainability as a core value.

Safety in Construction

Seven CSU construction projects across five CSU campuses were recognized for stellar safety performance between 2018 and 2020, demonstrating that achieving better safety does not compromise productivity or quality. Winning projects had no recordable injuries and zero lost time injuries, resulting in cost savings and improved schedule performance. The honored projects were:

  • Chico State: central plant modifications; completed January 2018
  • Cal State Long Beach: College of Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) classroom building; completed February 2019
  • Sacramento State: Parking Structure V; completed October 2018
  • Cal State San Bernardino: utility infrastructure upgrades; completed December 2018
  • San Diego State: Engineering & Interdisciplinary Sciences Building; completed April 2019
  • San Diego State: New Student Residence Hall; completed July 2020
  • San Diego State: Tula Conference Center; completed May 2019

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Learn more about the CSU’s commitment to sustainable practices on the Capital Planning, Design and Construction website