Reporting System

Progress Report for Northern Arizona University

Submitted on Jan. 13, 2014; Last updated on Jan. 13, 2014

The Progress Report is intended to help signatories assess and track progress toward the goals outlined
in their Climate Action Plans and to share that progress with their stakeholders and the general public.

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General Statement of Progress

Since the implementation of our Climate Action Plan, Northern Arizona University has moved forward on both short-term and long-term initiatives in order to address our goals to carbon neutrality. Our long term mission, surpassing even our 2020 carbon neutrality goal, is to create a foundational and profound culture of sustainability on our campus and within our community, including the greater Flagstaff area. Creating a culture of sustainability involves infusing sustainability-related behaviors and values into every administrative department, every academic department, every student group, and every community action. Infusing these values and knowledge will give the individuals within our community the ability to make sustainable choices and advocate for sustainable policy within our institution and within our state and region. Our Climate Action Plan, the Office of Sustainability, and sustainability champions across the university have allowed us to lay a strong foundation for this process, which we feel will be essential in reaching our carbon neutrality goals.

Our short-term goals associated with carbon neutrality have been addressing operational impacts on our carbon footprint. We have completed projects including: the transition to an electronic/paperless thesis and dissertation process, an electronic/paperless ePAR system in our HR office, energy retrofitting projects across our residence hall locations, upgrades to our north boiler plant increasing efficiency to 87% and the implementation of campus-wide 15-year Energy Savings Performance Contract that will save approximately $1,500,000 annually.
In addition, NAU has embarked on a multitude of additional initiatives that work to promote sustainability throughout the campus and community. Those initiatives include:
- Academic Programs: NAU offers multiple sustainability-focused academic courses.
- Student Groups: There are many student clubs/organizations dedicated to sustainability.
- EcoRA’s: Residence Assistant opportunity to become a peer educator for living sustainably in the residence halls.
- Community Based Action Research Teams (cbARTS): The cbARTS brings first year students together with graduate students, faculty, and community partners to work on issues of sustainability and democratic community organizing.
- Organic Gardening: NAU has hired a full-time campus gardener to support local and organic gardening and sustainable food education.
- Dining Services: Dining Services works to promote student health, the health of the planet while supporting the local Flagstaff community.
- Landscaping: The Sustainable Landscape Maintenance Project identifies environmentally-friendly landscaping practices which will reduce or eliminate the need for chemical inputs on the NAU campus.

Our upcoming goals for the next year include the role out of a campus-wide recycling makeover, a zero-waste athletic game, the creation of an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing plan, NAU’s inaugural participation in Earth Hour, and many others. Please contact our Office of Sustainability for more information at: or visit the link below.

GHG Emissions & Reduction Targets

Climate Neutrality Target Date: 2020
Interim Milestone Emission-Reduction Target Target Date Baseline*
100% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2 Emissions by 2020 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
40% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2016 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
60% reduction in Total Scopes 1, 2, 3 Emissions by 2018 relative to baseline emissions in 2007
[click to view Climate Action Plan - Carbon Neutrality Climate Action Plan 2010]

GHGs summary

GHGs for Northern Arizona University
Reporting Year Gross Emissions Net Emissions Full Time Enrollments Total Bldg. Sq. Ft. [action]
2007 57511.03 57511.03 17300.0 5116863.0 [ view ]
2010 61493.09 61493.09 22745.0 5698781.0 [ view ]
2012 62515.67 62515.67 19639.0 5934077.0 [ view ]
2014 60754.5 57239.5 20052.0 6514610.0 [ view ]
  • Change in GHG gross emissions


  • Change in GHG emissions per 1000 sq.ft. building space


  • Change in GHG emissions per full time enrollment (FTE)


Education, Research, & Community Engagement


  • How is your institution making climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for all students?

    The Global Learning Initiative aims to engage all academic departments and programs at Northern Arizona in an intentional process of infusing global perspectives in the curriculum as a way of preparing students to become globally competent. The principal site for global learning is viewed to be the major but the liberal studies program and the co-curriculum are also important sites that can be marshaled in support of global learning in the disciplines.
    Global learning, as defined by Northern Arizona University includes three central themes that include diversity, environmental sustainability and global engagement. These themes are deeply embedded in the values of the university community. As these themes are filtered through the lens of each discipline, students gain a comprehensive and contemporary understanding of the futures for which they are being prepared and leave the university equipped with the skills, knowledge and dispositions necessary to negotiate careers, graduate education and even life in more effective ways.
    The Global Learning Initiative calls on departments to create a realistic vision of what a globally competent graduate in each respective discipline would look like by developing global learning outcomes, curricular and co-curricular strategies to help students realize these outcomes, and assessment strategies that would ensure that these outcomes are being realized. As departments develop concrete commitments around these objectives and then seek to implement them, in due course, we anticipate that global learning will become part of the fabric of each department and eventually be institutionalized in the academic experience afforded to all NAU students.
    For more information please visit:

  • Education methods in use

    • Included sustainability learning outcomes, tracks, or certificates in every academic major.
    • Included sustainability in fulfilling regional accreditation requirements.
    • Included sustainability learning outcomes into institutional General Education Requirements.
    • Offered professional development to all faculty in sustainability education.

  • Does your institution offer an undergraduate degree program(s) related to climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University

  • Does your institution offer a graduate degree program in climate change/sustainability?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University



  • If applicable, how is your institution expanding research efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality research?

    The Arizona Board of Regents gave formal approval to for the third set of five-year TRIF business plans. Northern Arizona University was approved for two initiatives that encourage faculty research in sustainability for Fiscal Years 2012-2016: •Environmental and Economic Solutions for Arizona's Rural Landscapes -- $5.7 million over five years to encourage viable and vital rural communities. Focus will be to minimize catastrophic wildfire risks, rebuild a forest products economy, promote collaborative conservation planning and analysis using landscape-scale spatial data, and convene rural and tribal community stakeholders to explore economic alternatives, such as renewable energy development. •Climate and Energy Solutions -- $4 million over five years to establish a new Sustainable Energy Solutions Institute, continue the nationallysignificant climate research capacity of the Merriam Powell Center, invest in productive and innovative faculty, and develop ground-breaking curricular programs. For more information please visit:

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage student climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University

  • Does your institution have a program to encourage faculty climate and or sustainability research?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University

Community Engagement

  • How is your institution expanding community outreach efforts toward the achievement of climate neutrality?

    CRAFTS: Civic Re-engagement for Arizona Families, Transitions and Sustainability. CRAFTS is a Northern Arizona University initiative to support the many community partners, student based Action Research Teams, and members of the broader Flagstaff community in their efforts towards shifting the pedagogical structure in higher education while practicing the very essence of living sustainably through civic democratic practices. Please see:

  • Does your institution participate in community climate change and or sustainability partnerships?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University

  • Has your institution advocated for federal, state, and/or local public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance your goal of climate neutrality?

    see STARs report for Northern Arizona University

Many of the above questions correspond to AASHE's Sustainability Tracking Assessment & Rating System (STARS) credits. For signatories that are STARS participants you may find more detail on their efforts in the areas of education, research, and community engagement by accessing their STARS report.

Energy & Finances

Energy Efficiency Projects

  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects planned, but not yet implemented:


  • Number of Energy Efficiency Retrofit Projects completed since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of buildings that have received a green building certification since signing the ACUPCC:


  • Number of green buildings planned or scheduled for completion in the next 2 years:


  • For all buildings, the green building certification/rating used is:


Renewable Energy

  • Annual output (in kWhs) for each renewable energy system utilized by Northern Arizona University

    • Solar output: 165 kWh

    • Wind output: 5 kWh

    • Annual renewable energy purchased: 6351359 kWh

  • Other GHG mitigation efforts:
    Green NAU sustainable initiatives:

Financial Data

  • Has your Climate Action Plan and/or related sustainability efforts saved your institution money so far, e.g. by reducing operational expenses?


  • Amount spent on CAP projects:


  • Estimated amount saved to date from implementing your CAP projects:


  • Estimated total savings expected from implementing entire Climate Action Plan


  • Additional information or context to support expected savings:

    As part of Northern Arizona University’s efforts to reduce cost and emissions associated with energy waste, Facility Services contracted with NORESCO to provide and implement energy conservation measures (ECMs). This 15-year Energy Savings Performance Contract pays for the upgrades with cost avoidance generated by the ECMs, saving approximately $1,500,000 annually.
finance methods...
  • Financing Methods utilized for Mitigation or Renewable Energy Projects:
    • Borrowed against endowment
    • Student Green Fees

Non-public data

This data is available to signatories with reporting system access.
"" fields in which no data was submitted have been omitted from this report

For more information about Northern Arizona University's climate & sustainability efforts please click here