Climate Action Plan
On April 17, 2007, New Mexico State University President Michael Martin signed the American
College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. By doing so, NMSU, and its branch
campuses, became members of the ACUPCC and welcomed the challenge of working towards
climate neutrality. Along with over 600 institutions, NMSU is demonstrating its dedication to
finding ways to reduce and even reverse global warming.
Likewise, New Mexico State University Carlsbad (NMSU Carlsbad) is committed to pursuing all
reasonable opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint, to operating the campus in a manner that
promotes climate neutrality, and to developing and implementing a curriculum that engenders a
spirit of sustainability within all disciplines. To support this goal, NMSU Carlsbad’s Facilities
and Instructional Operations Committee, a cross representational group of faculty, staff, students,
and administrators, has taken on the challenge of strategizing, energizing, and implementing the
NMSU Carlsbad Sustainable Improvement Plan and serves to educate the students, faculty, staff,
and community regarding the importance of social responsibility and sustainable practices.
Lastly, future facilities constructed on the NMSU Carlsbad campus will be built in concert with
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles, furthering the campus’s
commitment to climate neutrality and sustainability.
NMSU Carlsbad Facility
New Mexico State University Carlsbad (NMSU Carlsbad) is located in Eddy County on the
northern edge of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The NMSU Carlsbad campus currently comprises
three separate buildings totaling approximately 142,000 square feet of instructional and lab space
and the new Allied Health and Student Transfer Center is under construction will add an
additional 17,000 square feet. The Main Building, constructed in 1979 is the largest building and
serves as the main entrance to the campus. The Instructional Building, constructed 1987
contains classrooms, a tutoring center, and a small auditorium. The Computer Building was
constructed in 1996 and houses six computerized classrooms, one standard classroom, and a
large open computer lab. The newest facility, the Allied Health and University Transfer Center
will provide classroom and lab space for the campus’s nursing and emergency medical
technician programs, as well as added space to expand current allied health offerings. Currently
all three buildings share one electric meter, one natural gas meter, and one water meter making it
difficult to measure utility usage by building. Additionally, at the time of construction, the
Instructional Building and the Computer Building’s water source heat pump systems were tied
into the existing water loop and pump systems that serve the Main building, making them further
dependent on the main building’s electricity and boiler systems. Therefore, due to having only
one meter for each utility type and the interrelationship of the three buildings for heating and
cooling purposes, we are forced to calculate utility usage by the square footage of the entire
campus instead of by building.
The current NMSU Carlsbad campus began with a 109,493 square foot, two-level building that is
known as the Main Building. It is truly the heart of the campus with two smaller buildings
relying on it for electrical distribution, heating, and cooling. Along with classrooms and faculty
and/or staff offices, the Main Building features four technical shop areas, an elevator, a central
courtyard, a bookstore, twenty classrooms, four instructional laboratories, a video arts studio, an
impressive library, and a gymnasium. Comprehensive HVAC improvements for the Main
Building that included new roof-top air conditioning units and circulating pump upgrades for
existing water loops were completed in 2005. Also, a fully adhered new TPO roof was installed
on both the Main and Instructional Buildings in 2009.
The majority of the Main Building’s interior is illuminated with obsolete and inefficient T-12
fluorescent lights. The replacement of the T-12 style lighting for the Main Building, and the rest
of the campus, is one important step in reducing the green house gas emissions that NMSU
Heating the 109,493 square foot space is achieved with the use of two natural gas fired boilers
that supply heated water to a multitude of heat exchangers located throughout the building. The
existing boiler system’s efficiency can be improved and campus administrators are currently
examining options to improve the operation of this system, including investigating the use of
active or passive solar collectors to augment the heated water system during the warmer months
of the year.
The Instructional Building was the second addition to the NMSU Carlsbad campus, constructed
in 1987. Like the Main Building, the interior of this building is also almost entirely lit with T-12
type fluorescent lamps. The heating and cooling of the 18,072 square foot Instructional Building
is achieved with water source heat pumps controlled by approximately twenty non-
programmable thermostats. As noted previously, the Instructional Building had a new roof
covering installed in 2009.
As with the Main Building, the electricity usage that the Instructional Building generates could
be significantly reduced by replacing all T-12 style indoor lamps with T-8 or T-5 style high
efficiency fluorescent lamps. Additionally, planning for integrating a building automation
control to the HVAC system for the Instructional Building is currently underway, and once
completed, should significantly reduce the amount of electricity required to operate this building.
Both the Instructional & Main Building have made progress toward improved energy efficiency
with the addition of a white Firestone rubber TPO membrane roof that was installed in 2009.
This new roofing replaced the original rock ballast / black rubber roof on both buildings. The
new roof’s reflective properties paired with its improved insulating factor should achieve some
noticeable reductions in overall heat gain and energy use, not to mention reducing the potential
for water intrusion.
The Computer Building was the third addition to the NMSU Carlsbad campus, constructed in
1996. The interior of the building is lit with a mixture of T-12 and T-8 fluorescent light lamps.
Like the Instructional Building, the heating and cooling of the 14,749 square foot building is also
achieved through water source heat pumps; however, this building’s HVAC system is controlled
by a building automation system. Since the computer building is the newest facility on campus,
it is probably the most efficient building; however, because the Computer Building’s water
source heat pumps are tied into the existing water loop and pump systems for the entire campus,
it makes it dependent on the Main Building’s outdated electricity, boilers, and cooling towers.
This dependence somewhat reduces the Computer Building’s ability to achieve its full potential.
Another major source for greenhouse gas emissions comes from the campus’s outdoor lighting
system. Some of the outdoor lighting is connected to electronic timers, yet others require manual
switching. While electronic timers simplify the operation of outdoor lighting, they do not allow
for much flexibility in varying the schedule for operation. Additionally, most of the outdoor
lighting at the campus is achieved through the use of older technology, including high pressure
sodium and multi-vapor lamps. Therefore, improving both the type of lamps used as well as the
control system for outdoor lighting on the campus creates a significant opportunity to further
reduce energy usage in this area.
NMSU Carlsbad Fleet
NMSU Carlsbad operates and maintains a variety of vehicles that range in model years from
1996 to 2010. Six Chevy Impala’s are the pride of the fleet. They have a flex-fuel option, which
makes them capable of operating on either regular unleaded or E-85, ethanol enriched fuel.
NMSU Carlsbad administrators encourage vehicle operators to purchase the E-85 fuel for these
vehicles when travelling to communities where E-85 is offered at the pump. The Chevy Impalas
also achieve an EPA rated 30+ miles per gallon. The Ford E-350 passenger van is the newest
addition to the NMSU Carlsbad fleet. The high passenger occupancy of this vehicle makes it
possible to transport up to 15 people per trip, making it more efficient than the three passenger
cars that it would otherwise be required to haul the same amount of passengers safely.
NMSU Carlsbad Fleet
2010 Ford E350-15 passenger van
2009 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2009 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2009 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2009 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2007 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2007 Chevy Impala-Flex Fuel
2005 Ford Freestar
2005 Chevy 1500 Pickup-Ext. Cab
2003 Ford F150 Pickup-Ext. Cab
2001 Ford Taurus
1997 Chevy 1500 Pickup-Longbed
1996 Ford Crown Victoria
After completing an internal study, the NMSU Carlsbad campus is in the process of reducing its
fleet. As a result of this study, three older, high mileage vehicles have been removed from use
since October 2009, and at least two more units are scheduled to be removed from use in the
2010 academic year. Additionally, a 30+ mpg rating is a requirement for any future additions to
the NMSU Carlsbad passenger car fleet.
NMSU Carlsbad employees are encouraged to use company vehicles for conferences, seminars,
training events, and other official business use. Unfortunately, the majority of these types of
activities take place at great distances from the NMSU Carlsbad campus making travel essential
for professional and institutional development. As a result, increased participation in webinars
and teleconferencing is encouraged at the NMSU Carlsbad campus to reduce both the expense
and the greenhouse gasses associated with travel.
The NMSU Carlsbad campus’s CO2 emissions are the highest per full-time student and second
highest based on square footage when compared against the other four campuses of the NMSU
system. The lack of an effective campus-wide building automation system may explain why the
NMSU Carlsbad campus experiences relatively high total net emissions. This is especially true
since the two largest contributors to the carbon emissions that the NMSU Carlsbad campus
generates is due to the indoor/outdoor lighting and the heating/cooling of the campus.
Per Full-Time Per 1000
Total Net Emissions Square Footage
Enrollment Square Feet
4,525 metric tons of 1.6 metric tons of 23.9 metric tons
NMSU Alamo CO2e CO2e of CO2e 189,497 sq ft
NMSU Dona 25,725 metric tons of 2.4 metric tons of 59.3 metric tons
Ana CO2e CO2e of CO2e 433,515 sq ft
2,719 metric tons of 4.8 metric tons of 22.6 metric tons
NMSU Grants CO2e CO2e of CO2e 120,292 sq ft
NMSU Main 151,821 metric tons of 6.1 metric tons of 24.5 metric tons
Campus CO2e CO2e of CO2e 6,207,994 sq ft
NMSU 5,815 metric tons of 7.6 metric tons of 40.9 metric tons
Carlsbad CO2e CO2e of CO2e 142,314 sq ft
(information gathered from Green House Gas reports posted at ACUPCC Reporting Page)
As noted above, the square footage of all three NMSU Carlsbad buildings comes to
approximately 142,314 square feet. In FY09, the average KW/h per month was just over
209,000 KW/h with a high of 258,500 KW/h during the month of August and a low of 155,500
KW/h during the month of December. The 209,000 KW/h monthly average computes to using
about 1.47 KW/h per month for every square foot.
The overwhelming majority of therms used by the NMSU Carlsbad campus are mostly
consumed between late October and early April for the purpose of providing heat to all three
buildings. Natural gas is only used to heat potable water during most of the spring, all of the
summer, and some of the fall months when the boilers are completely shut down.
NMSU Carlsbad is located on the northern-most edge of Carlsbad near a major commercial
district. The majority of NMSU Carlsbad students and employees get to and from campus in
personal vehicles. Because the campus is situated near the base of a small mountain, the absence
of sidewalks, inadequate lighting, and the winding uphill road to the campus may discourage
those who would use bicycles as a means of transportation because NMSU Carlsbad is uphill
from just about any location in Carlsbad.
Carlsbad is in the early stages of establishing scheduled bus routes around the city. Currently,
NMSU Carlsbad is currently a popular destination for Carlsbad Transit and the University is
working to ensure convenient service to as many students and employees as possible. The graph
below indicates that about 75% of commuters to NMSU Carlsbad live within 10 miles or less of
campus, while 25% of commuters live 10 or more miles from NMSU Carlsbad .
You currently live how far from 2009 2008 2006 2005
Less than 1 mile 7.1 8.3 5.8 7.4
1-5 miles 46.8 40.5 46.5 48.1
6-10 miles 24.1 24.6 19.1 22.8
11-20 miles 9.2 13.3 14.9 9.9
21-40 miles 8.5 7.6 8.5 7.7
Over 40 miles 3.5 1.9 4.6 3.8
With the exception of the major upgrades to the HVAC system in 2005 and the new roof
covering for the Main and Instructional buildings in 2009, very little has been done to reduce the
NMSU Carlsbad campus’s carbon footprint. In fact, electricity and natural gas usage for the
campus appears to have reached an all-time high.
Therefore, reducing total utility usage will likely be a major challenge to overcome. Utility
usage is primarily affected by two key sources: 1) the type of equipment used to provide light
and comfort conditions for the students and employees of NMSU Carlsbad, and 2) the people
that use these devices in order to provide NMSU Carlsbad students with a quality education.
Replacing obsolete equipment with more energy efficient equipment is essential to begin the
journey toward climate neutrality. Unfortunately, wide scale equipment replacement requires
financial resources. As a result, the magnitude of the costs make it imperative that any money
spent on such replacement be used to purchase new equipment and fixtures that will render
significant energy usage reductions.
Additionally, changing the behaviors of the people that populate the NMSU Carlsbad campus
will likely be more complicated than purchasing new equipment. This type of behavioral shift
requires changing the way people think about energy usage and educating them regarding the
relationship between energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, a foundation is
being built at the NMSU Carlsbad campus to foster a culture of energy awareness and help to
develop and to implement energy conservation efforts the NMSU Carlsbad campus and the
instructional programs it delivers.
Where do we begin???
Unfortunately, significant and sustainable reductions of green house gas emissions will not occur
at the NMSU Carlsbad campus overnight. However, there are many ways to go about reducing
the emissions that the NMSU Carlsbad campus generates including direct reduction of the
facilities and transportation GHG emissions, carbon sequestration, and/or purchasing emissions
offsets that represent reduction at some other location.
Logically, direct reduction is the best way to begin reducing the NMSU Carlsbad campus’s
carbon foot print. This method creates a challenge for the campus community to identify areas
for improvement, to develop strategies to reduce green house gas emissions, and to implement
the tools needed to achieve and to track the progress of on-going conservation efforts. Only after
all direct reduction efforts have been successfully implemented, should carbon sequestrations,
and acquiring emissions offsets be considered.
Low hanging fruit (easily achieved within 3 years)
The best way to begin reducing NMSU Carlsbad’s carbon footprint is to start with small, simple,
easy, affordable steps and then add more complicated and/or more expensive steps as the easy
steps become ingrained in our daily behavior. Using the analogy that everyone must crawl
before they can walk in concert with the process of developing and implementing an effective
sustainable improvement plan should help reinforce this concept. Therefore, the beginning steps
are seen as the “low hanging fruit”, and are described as such because they are easy to do and do
not require much effort to achieve and accomplish. The low hanging fruit concept consists of
actions such as:
Improving conservation efforts (remembering to turn off lights and to turn off computers
when not in use, keeping large bay doors closed, reducing out of town trips, car pooling
to work, etc…).
Committing to and implementing a thorough preventive and planned maintenance
program for HVAC systems (routine filter changes, replacing/tightening belts, oiling
motors, washing coils, etc…) in order to keep equipment operating efficiently and
Keeping track of and recording actual utility usage for the campus and sharing the results
at campus town-hall meetings.
Improving campus recycling efforts, adding more recycling stations, getting/keeping the
word out about NMSU Carlsbad recycling efforts, tracking progress, quantifying results,
Utilizing email to distribute daily/weekly/monthly updates, green facts, acknowledging
campus community efforts, etc… (marketing 101 stuff).
Replacing existing interior lighting with more energy efficient T-8 (or better) type of
lighting and converting all exterior lighting to LED type lighting for superior energy
*these items carry significant costs associated with them, but replacement of existing lighting systems is
essential to NMSU Carlsbad efforts to reduce green house gas emissions
Higher hanging fruit (could be accomplished within 2-5 years)
Once all of the low hanging fruit has been picked, the NMSU Carlsbad campus must continue to
pursue other energy-saving alternatives. Therefore, once the sustainable improvement snowball
starts to roll, it is important to increase the “size” of the snowball as it rolls towards climate
neutrality. These actions can be compared to higher hanging fruit, because they will require a
little more effort and additional planning and research in order to justify the costs associated with
implementation. Some of the higher hanging fruit will require significant planning and monetary
resources in order to really become effective. Higher hanging fruit examples include:
Purchasing hybrid vehicles when necessary.
Purchasing all electric vehicles to be used for grounds maintenance and short in town
Integrating all lighting into a reliable campus-wide building automation system
(occupancy sensors, day-lighting controls, programmed on/off times, remote access,
Integrating all HVAC systems into a reliable campus-wide building automation system
(programmed on off times, precise load calculations, outdoor ambient sensors, remote
Very High Hanging Fruit ( >5yrs to develop and implement)
Though costly and somewhat difficult to plan and implement, the very high hanging fruit
represents the pinnacle of sustainable improvement efforts that will represent NMSU Carlsbad’s
ultimate commitment to reducing the green house gas emissions that the campus generates. As
technology improves over time, the cost effectiveness of implementing the items listed below
should improve also. When implemented, these items will also create new avenues for educating
NMSU Carlsbad students and the surrounding community. They include:
Integrating an Active Solar Heating loop to assist with the entire campus heating system.
Replacing aging boilers with newer, more efficient models as needed.
Integrating photo voltaic panels into the campus electric grid to assist with meeting the
campus’s energy demands by harnessing abundant sunshine and reducing purchased
Integrating small wind generators to take advantage of regular wind conditions and to
further reduce purchased electricity usage for the campus.
New Mexico State University Carlsbad is committed to finding ways to reduce its carbon
footprint and become climate neutral. NMSU Carlsbad’s Facilities and Instructional Operations
Committee has taken on the challenge of creating and implementing this dynamic and evolving
sustainable improvement plan that will allow for improvements and modifications to this plan
when needed. Eventually, the utilization of innovative products and processes will ensure the
success of the NMSU Carlsbad Sustainable Improvement Plan. As green technologies become
more commonplace and mainstream, NMSU Carlsbad’s ability to afford, implement, teach with,
and teach about green technologies will improve.