CNM Achievements in Sustainability

STARS Silver Rating
Recognition for sustainability has become the CNM norm.

Recycling: CNM participates in Recyclemania  a national, two-month competition among colleges and universities to showcase recycling best practices. In 2015 CNM won the "Waste Less - Promote More: Engagement and Innovation Competition" award for its case study detailing the March 2015 "Mount Trashmore" event. In 2018, CNM won the RecycleMania case study competition in the "Waste Minimization" category.

Energy: Between 2016-2019 CNM has won several energy efficiency awards from PNM Electric Utility Company.STARS Silver Rating

STARS Rating

In November 2019, CNM earned STARS Silver rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a transparent, self-reporting, framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

CNM achieved Bronze in 2014 with 41.33 points, Silver in 2016 with 46.37 points, and Silver in 2019 with 55.91 points! CNM has made significant progress across all categories since 2014, moving the institution within 10 points of receiving Gold.

Visit the STARS site for the complete report.

Our Impact and Influence

Sustainability on Campus

College-wide commitment to reducing waste, water use, energy use, and carbon emissions while educating the CNM community:

  • Sustainability webpage
  • RecycleMania and Water in the Desert
  • Silver - sustainability tracking and assessment rating system (STARS)
  • Regularly scheduled LEED tours
  • CNM and CNM Ingenuity join ABQ 2030 district
  • Numerous sustainability-related national awards and recognition among sustainability and other entities (For example, RecycleMania Org., and PNM utility providers)

Sustainability in Curriculum

Sustainability curriculum gives students the tools they need to address issues of energy production, environmental health, economic development, culture and society. Such curriculum encourages interdisciplinary learning and problem solving.

  • Sustainability curriculum committee -approved as a faculty-led standing committee of the college
  • Sustainability course, concentration, and UNM transfer agreement-
  • Sustainability definition approved by CNM Executive Team
  • Sustainability related and focused courses identified for STARS report 
  • Sustainability classroom supplies budget request process approved and implemented
  • Vermicomposting bins used in biology, anthropology, geography, and culinary arts classes
  • Increasing student participation in sustainability related assignments

Campus as a Living Lab Opportunities

Campus as a Living Lab utilizes campus facilities, renovations, retrofits, events, and other projects to teach student learning outcomes in existing courses in innovative and interesting ways, while also integrating sustainability concepts across the curriculum.

  • In one semester 16 faculty and nearly 900 students completed at least one assignment linked to a CLL project.
  • Within two semesters, over 20 faculty and nearly 1500 students completed at least one assignment linked to a CLL project.
  • The Physical Plant Department, in collaboration with the Sustainability Curriculum Committee, offer a Sustainability Certificate to students who participate in sustainability-related activities resulting  in 8 or more hours on campus or in the surrounding community. 

Faculty Members, or students, interested in the Sustainability Certificate program or current Campus Living Lab projects,please contact Molly Blumhoefer

Faculty that would like for their class to tour any of the campus buildings or other campus elements, please fill out the Tour Request Form and return to

Sustainability Student Activities

Extra curricular events are available to CNM students:

  • Solar presentations in Chemistry and GED classes
  • Students and faculty have access to the Solar Dashboard
  • Earth Week lectures
  • Student Education Expo presenting classroom activities
  • The Water in the Desert Project
  • The RecycleMania Tournament
  • On-campus Service Learning opportunities

Building Green

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), has been a guiding principle in CNM construction and renovation projects at CNM. Projects (buildings, building elements, and campuses) may be registered under specific certifications such as New Construction & Major Renovations, and Interior Design & Construction. 

New Construction

  • 2011: Rio Rancho Campus (RR), LEED Gold
  • 2012: The Student Resource Center (SRC), LEED Silver
  • 2016: Westside I Building (WSI) , LEED Silver

Major Renovations 

  • 2013: Jeannette Stromberg Hall (JS), LEED Gold 
  • 2014: Tom Wiley Hall (TW), LEED Silver 
  • 2016: Robert P. Matteucci Hall (RPM) , LEED Gold 
  • 2016: Laboratory (L) Building, LEED Gold
  • 2017: Ted F. Martinez (TM) Building, LEED Silver
  • 2019: Smith Brasher Hall (SB) Building, LEED Gold
  • 2019: Richard Barr (RB) Building, LEED Gold

Interior Design & Construction

  • 2013: Advanced Technology Center (ATC), LEED Gold 
  • 2017: South Valley I (SVI), LEED Silver