Archive for category Accomplishments

The NAU Sustainability Course Directory Has Been Launched!

The NAU Office of Sustainability is excited to introduce the NAU Sustainability Course Directory – a new online database system for all the courses from any department that are focused on sustainability or simply have a sustainability component in them. Both undergraduate and graduate students can now enjoy a constantly updated list of classes that cover a wide range of topics related to environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability.

The courses are submitted by their instructors using a specially designated online form. After being approved by our administrator, the course appears in the online database and can be looked up using a convenient search engine that provides 3 criteria options that helps a student find a better fit.

The challenge of spreading awareness about sustainability and creating an environmentally conscious behavior always comes down to nurturing eco-literacy. In order to provide a deeper understanding of the global climate change challenges we face nowadays, NAU is attempting to ease an access to the list of classes that serve as an educational tool about that issue and offers diverse strategies of addressing it. The introduction of this course listing system is a great step towards creating a culture of sustainability in the Northern Arizona University, bringing a better understanding of the need for a more environmentally responsible behavior to its students.

Useful links:
For NAU students – NAU Sustainability Course Directory
For course instructors – Sustainability Course Submission

The list of classes is constantly being updated so make sure to check back regularly!

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ABOR Approves $18 Million in Campus Energy Retrofits

In the latest example of Northern Arizona University’s commitment to Sustainability, the Arizona Board of Regents has just approved an $18,000,000 performance contract between Northern Arizona University and the energy services company NORESCO. This contract will allow NAU to save approximately $1,500,000 a year in utility costs and will reduce NAU’s green house gas emissions to below 1990 levels by 2014. The construction will begin in late May and will take approximately 22 months to complete. This contract represents Phase 1 of the campus audit and retrofit with the Phase 2 audit taking place in the Fall.

Lindsay Wagner, the Director of Sustainability and Energy Services for NAU Facility Services says, “This project is the first major step in NAU becoming a carbon neutral campus. This is an opportunity for the university to upgrade lighting and heating and cooling equipment, as well as involving students, faculty and staff in the process which will increase awareness of the campus sustainability efforts and ultimately aid in creating the Culture of Sustainability that we are after. I am very excited to get this project started.”

Some of the highlights of the NORESCO contract include:

  • Interior Lighting Upgrades
  • Plumbing Fixture Upgrades
  • Heating and Cooling Controls Upgrades
  • Utility Metering
  • Behavioral Change Program

In addition to the infrastructure and building improvements the contract includes a focus on creating a culture of sustainable behavior to further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. Bryan McLaren, the Coordinator of NAU’s Office of Sustainability says, “The NAU NORESCO project will be the single most significant step that NAU has taken towards our Carbon Neutrality 2020 goal since signing the Association of College and Universities President’s Climate Commitment. I am extremely excited to start moving this project into the implementation phase and advancing our culture of sustainability.”

For questions, please contact

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North Plant Boiler Tour [Video]

Do you know how buildings on campus are heated or how you get hot water in your office or residence hall? NAU recently purchased 3 new boilers that significantly increased the energy efficiency of heating on campus. Check out the exclusive video tour below!


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Wind for Schools and the NAU Green Fund Collaborate to Install Wind Turbine

The turbine was donated by Southwest Windpower, as was a 45’ tower. SWWP also had four staff members provide technical assistance for the entire day of the installation. The Facility Services department (formerly Capital Assets) at NAU did considerable work managing the project at no charge. Shaum Electric donated some of their labor. GLHN design from Tucson donated the design work including work on the electrical drawings. Time lapse footage by Christopher Ray.

The data for the turbine will be used by the Wind for Schools project, and will be uploaded to the Idaho National Labs site so schools nationwide have access to it. It will also be used locally in the Wind Energy and Renewable Energy classes in the Mechanical Engineering department, and may be used in individual student research projects.

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SUS Student Named a GreenFaith Fellow

Green FellowWe are always happy to pass along information about the exciting things that Sustainable Communities students are working on. Recently, Shelley Dennis—a current SUS student living in Boston—was named a GreenFaith Fellow and will join the 2012 Class of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program. From the Press Release:

The Fellowship Program is the only US comprehensive education and training program to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions for environmental leadership.  “We’re thrilled to welcome Shelley Dennis to the Program,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s Executive Director.  “We look forward to working with her to support her growth as a religious-environmental leader.”

Through three residential retreats, monthly webinars, and extensive reading, Shelley Dennis will receive education and training in eco-theology, “greening” the operation of institutions, environmental advocacy, and environmental justice. Each Fellow writes their own eco-theological statement and carries out a leadership project in their community, mobilizing religious leaders in relation to an environmental issue.  Upon graduating, they will join the Fellowship’s alumni/ae network and mentor other emerging leaders in this field.

Shelley Dennis has been a student in the SUS program since 2007, focusing on the intersection of religion and environmentalism.  The GreenFaith Fellowship is an opportunity to fine-tune her ability to work with people of faith toward the creation of sustainable communities.  Shelley says, “The GreenFaith Fellowship operates on principles advocated in the SUS program—the development of collaborative and respectful relationships across boundaries of race, creed, and class in an effort to maximize relational power for positive social change. I am excited to merge my interests in this leading-edge program for religious leaders.”

Shelley Dennis will join a class of 25 Fellows from diverse religious backgrounds.  The Fellows represent over ten religious denominations, including Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, and Unitarian Universalist.  Fellows work in a wide variety of settings, including congregations, universities, campus ministries, NGO’s, and denominational organizations.

GreenFaith’s Executive Director, Rev. Fletcher Harper, directs the Program, with support from a multi-faith and multi-disciplinary faculty.  “This program will offer these leaders the opportunity to become well-trained leaders in religious environmentalism,” said Harper.  “They will help create an environmentally just and sustainable world.”

GreenFaith is an interfaith environmental coalition whose mission is to educate and mobilize diverse religious communities for environmental leadership.  Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is a leader in the fast-growing religious-environmental movement and has won national and international recognition for its work.  For more information, see

Congratulations Shelley on your wonderful achievement!

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