Rams unplug to help CSU reduce carbon footprint

Infographic by Julia Adams, click to enlarge

Story by Erica Grasmick, Pamela Shapiro, Lucy Skrobacz and Brian Waugh

Did you know that electricity use accounts for more than half of Colorado State University’s greenhouse gas footprint? And that 40 percent of all electricity used to power electronic devices is consumed when the products are actually turned off?

Put these two true facts together and you get “CAM unplugs, how do you?” The goal of the new awareness campaign is to help CSU students, as well as faculty and staff, reduce electricity consumption by unplugging their devices when not in use.

“Electricity waste is a sustainability issue that I wasn’t really aware of,” said Julia Adams, a CSU senior. “Reducing electricity use can be something as small as unplugging your phone charger when it’s not being used.”

CSU’s Climate Action Plan has a goal of the campus being carbon neutral by 2050; that means all greenhouse gasses emitted by the institution will be recycled or offset as a way to minimize the university’s carbon footprint. Because electricity use creates the largest percentage of CSU’s emissions, reducing consumption is an important part of meeting that goal.

“Electricity use is more than 50 percent of the CSU greenhouse gas footprint, so it is imperative that we identify ways to reduce consumption as part of our commitment to lowering our environmental impact on campus,” said Tonie Miyamoto, director of communications and sustainability for Housing & Dining Services.

The “CAM Unplugs” campaign focuses on the impact of electricity use and ways in which the campus community can reduce electrical use by getting in the habit of “unplugging.”

Creating awareness of electricity use, and encouraging students to unplug their devices when they aren’t using them, can ultimately help to reduce CSU’s carbon footprint.

“CAM unplugs, how do you?” was launched Nov. 1 and will run through Fall Break. Infographics and factoids will bring the “unplugged” message to all parts of campus through digital signs and in dining centers.

To keep up with the campaign, follow the hashtag #RamsUnplug on Colorado State University’s social media outlets.