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Live Sustainably

Everyone can contribute to a healthier environment by taking simple, every day actions. For example, you can make a difference by using energy wisely, conserving water, and keeping sustainability in mind when shopping or apartment hunting. Here are some ideas to help you get started.

  • Conserve Energy

     

    CSUSM is committed to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our campus operations. The University has already implemented programs to reduce our carbon footprint by investing in energy efficiency and green energy. The following tips can help students, faculty, and staff use energy wisely on campus and off.

    Computers and electronics

    Lighting

    • Use task lighting with energy efficient CFL or LED bulbs. Small task lights at desks can be more efficient than full overhead lighting.
    • Turn off lights that are not in use. 
    • Make use of natural lighting by opening shades and turning off lights during daylight hours.

    Temperature control

    • Check the temperature settings in your space. Recommended settings are 68°F during the heating season and 76°F during the cooling season. If your space on campus is too hot or too cold, report the issue to Facilities. 
    • Keep windows closed when heating or air conditioning systems are running.
    • Avoid using space heaters. Space heaters are less efficient than central heating systems and can be fire hazards.
    • Save money during the summer months by using a fan to cool down rather than air conditioning. If you do need to use an air conditioner, make sure it's ENERGY STAR® certified and that your windows are closed and sealed.

    Laundry

    • Wash clothes in cold water to conserve energy used for water heating. Detergents are equally effective in cold or warm water.
    • Use a drying rack rather than a dryer to save money and energy.

    Resources

    Refer to the following resources to learn more about reducing energy use in your space.

    • ENERGY STAR: Find energy efficient electronics and appliances along with tips for reducing energy use. 
    • U.S. DOE Energy Saver: Get tips on saving energy and money throughout your home or workplace. 
    • EPEAT: Find greener computers and other electronics. 
    • Standby Power: Learn about reducing standby power.
  • Eat Sustainably

    CSUSM is committed creating a food system that benefits our community, food producers, and our environment.

    Eat locally

    There are several benefits to eating food that was produced locally. A shorter distance from farm to table mean less energy is used to haul the things we eat. And fresh, local foods that are in season can be especially delicious. Shop at a farmers’ market and you’ll also be supporting local producers.

    Go meatless

    Production of meat, particularly beef, is extremely resource intensive. To reduce your environmental footprint, try incorporating some meatless meals into your diet.

    Choose sustainable seafood

    Overfishing and other harmful fishing practices have pushed many of the world’s fisheries to the brink of collapse. You can help protect aquatic ecosystems by selecting seafood that is caught or farmed responsibly. The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides sustainable seafood recommendations and even a smart phone app to help you make ocean-friendly choices.

    Look for organic products

    Organic agriculture practices protect the environment by minimizing the use of synthetic materials such as pesticides and antibiotics. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sets standards that producers must meet in order to label products as organic.

  • Find Green Homes

     

    When looking for a new apartment or house, here are a couple questions to ask landlords to determine your new home's green features.

    Save water

    • Does the shower have a low-flow showerhead? If not, can one be installed?
    • Is the toilet a low flow toilet?
    • Are any of the faucets or pipes leaking? If so, how fast is the repair time?

    Conserve energy

    • Do the windows, doors, and walls provide good insulation? Are there any cracks?
    • Do the windows have curtains or shades to provide extra insulation during the winter? If not, can they be installed?
    • Is there good natural lighting in the unit?
    • Do the lights have CFL or LED light bulbs? If not, can they be installed?
    • Can the heat be controlled in individual units?
    • Is there a programmable thermostat in the unit?
    • Do the washing machines offer cold-water washing?
    • Is there a place to hang clothes while they air dry?
    • Is the hot water heater insulated?
    • Are the kitchen appliances efficient? Are they ENERGY STAR Certified?
    • Reduce waste
    • Does the building offer recycling?
    • What can/cannot be recycled?
    • Can composting be done on the premises?

    Travel sustainably

    • Is there a bike room or rack?
    • Is the building near public transportation options? A car sharing service?

    Purchase consciously

    • How close is the building to grocery stores? To locally-sourced produce?
  • Purchase Consciously

     

    You can reduce your environmental footprint by making smart decisions about what and how much you buy. Here are a few tips for more sustainable shopping.

    Reduce purchases

    To conserve resources and reduce resource use, the first step is simply to avoid unnecessary purchases. Buy only what you need, avoid excess packaging, and purchase products designed to last rather than items that will quickly end up in the trash.

    Reuse products

    You can also conserve resources by choosing reusable products over disposable items. For example, carry a water bottle and a reusable bag for shopping, and get discounts on coffee at the Coffee Cart with a refillable mug. You can also reuse by shopping at thrift shops and second hand stores.

    Buy recycled

    You can help save energy, conserve resources, and reduce waste by buying products made from recycled materials. Look for products that include recycled content, as well as products that can be recycled.

    Shop to save energy

    When shopping for electronics or appliances, look for energy efficient options. ENERGY STAR products are independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality. You can also save energy use by using a smart power strip to automatically power down electronics that aren’t in use. Learn more about energy-saving actions and products on the conserve energy tab.

    Choose sustainable foods

    To reduce the environmental impact of your food purchases, look for local, organically produced foods. Choose sustainably sourced seafood, and cut back on meat consumption. Get more tips for environmentally friendly foods on the eat sustainably tab.

    Hold the packaging

    Reduce waste by avoiding items with excessive packaging. Look for minimal packaging or buy in bulk to cut packaging waste.

    Go with green cleaning products

    Look for cleaning products that are free from harmful chemicals. The Safer Choice Label identifies products that have been reviewed by U.S. EPA scientists to meet stringent human health and environmental criteria. 

  • Save Water

     

    CSUSM is working to reduce water consumption on campus, and all members of the University community can pitch in to help conserve this essential natural resource. Here are some actions you can take to save water.

    • Check for leaky faucets or other water fixtures. Report any leaks on campus to Facilities Management. 
    • Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving.
    • Be conscious of the amount of time you spend in the shower and keep showers as short as possible.
    • Run full loads of laundry rather than multiple small loads. If you do need to run a smaller load, adjust the water level settings accordingly.
    • Use the dishwasher if you have one, and only run it when it is full. Try scraping plates rather than rinsing them before loading the dishwasher.
    • When handwashing dishes, fill a sink or basin with soapy water rather than keeping the water running.
    • Install efficient fixtures such as low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in your home.
    • If you have a lawn or garden, create a water-smart landscape using native plants that rarely need watering, water efficiently, and make the most of rain water by setting up a rain barrel or rain garden.

What is your Ecological Footprint?

  • Have you ever looked at your Ecological footprint?
  • How about your water footprint?
  • Do you know how many earths you need to fulfill your current life style?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, consider taking the quiz challenge below to find out how much energy and water you are consuming. Then take action to reduce your footprint!