Back to Section Home

Butte College Receives Statewide Energy and Sustainability Award

cccco awardsCalifornia Community Colleges Board of Governors Present Inaugural Energy and Sustainability Awards to Winning Colleges

Citrus, Butte and Cuyamaca colleges honored at board meeting in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Community Colleges Board of Governors today gave the inaugural Energy and Sustainability Awards to Citrus College, Butte College and Cuyamaca College during a presentation at the board's meeting in Sacramento.

Citrus College won for district leadership. Butte College won for facilities and operations while Cuyamaca College won in the faculty/student initiatives category. Forty-six nominations were received in the three categories and the winners were announced April 10. Honorable mention awards will be presented at the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference June 18-21 at the University of California, Davis.

"I continue to be impressed with how these colleges have tackled the vexing issues concerning sustainability," California Community Colleges Board of Governors President Scott Himelstein said. "These colleges are great examples of the forward thinking our system has always exhibited and we continue to lead the nation on energy saving and sustainability thanks to the triumphs of Citrus, Butte and Cuyamaca colleges and the others who entered the competition. It was very difficult to choose a winner in the three categories because each college has really done a great job on this initative."

Glendora's Citrus College partnered with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and the California Energy Commission to create a Sustainability "Template" Plan to be used as a guide for districts and colleges to use. There were already several sustainability projects operating at the college, including recycling programs, energy efficiency and green building projects, and the integration of sustainability into the instructional curriculum. But the template was able to bring them all under one umbrella program to use resources more efficiently, reduce waste, become more fiscally sound and reduce environmental impacts from facilities construction and operation, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The pilot demonstration of the template is scheduled for completion later this month and the results will be released for use to the 112-college system. The Long Beach Community College District, San Diego Community College District and San Mateo County Community College District received honorable mentions.

Oroville's Butte College is the first college in United States history to go "grid positive," meaning the campus has the ability to generate more energy than it consumes. Solar arrays were constructed in three phases and Butte College now boasts more than 25,000 solar panels producing 6.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity. That's enough to power 920 homes. The rural college operates as a self-contained city with its own water system and sewage treatment facility. Butte recycles 76 percent of its waste and operates the largest community college bus transportation system in California in addition to generating 100 percent of its own energy. The solar panels can be found on rooftops, mounted on the ground, covered parking areas and walkways.

Honorable mentions were earned by Desert Community College District and Los Angeles Pierce College.

Faculty members at El Cajon's Cuyamaca College began meeting in 2007 to discuss moving beyond water conservation and they came up with the Sustainable Urban Landscape Initiative that also includes approaches to dealing with stormwater and green waste issues, energy conservation and resource management.The initiative now includes a Sustainable Urban Landscape Conference that attracts more than 250 industry professionals and a Sustainable Urban Landscape degree and certificate program. Classes that make up the 35.5 core units required for a degree include xeriscaping, urban forestry and plant pest control. The curriculum for the Sustainable Urban Landscape program has been adopted by MiraCosta College and Southwestern College.

Coastline Community College and Cosumnes River College earned honorable mentions.

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott has long been an advocate of sustainability, not only because it makes ecological sense but because it also makes economic sense in the cost savings to colleges.

"Sustainability programs at our colleges are not only great for the earth but they save the colleges millions of dollars, and the colleges often incorporate the programs into the curriculum and train people for jobs that are in demand right now," Chancellor Scott said. "I want to congratulate these colleges and their staffs and students on a job well done and I look forward to the growth of this award program. I hope there are even more new and innovative approaches next year."

To see a gallery of the awards presentations, go to

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.6 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor's Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the system, please visit


Butte College | 3536 Butte Campus Drive, Oroville CA 95965 | General Information 530.895.2511

Back to Top