CNM Makes Strides in Sustainability Efforts

August 29, 2017 -- Over the past several years, CNM has made many strides in its sustainability efforts that have impacted the school’s culture and curriculum, said Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab and Sustainability Project Manager.
CNM Makes Strides in Sustainability Efforts

Aug 29, 2017

“The start of the Fall Term is a good time for us to reflect on those initiatives and understand how to use them to better support our commitment to students, taxpayers and the environment,” she said.

Sustainability Culture

CNM recently implemented its first energy policy, a trend for large academic institutions.

“Some initiatives include mandatory computer shutdown times and lighting and temperature guidelines,” she said.

Click here to see CNM’s energy standards and guidelines.

Blumhoefer also said campus officials are working on making recycling easier and more obvious for the entire CNM community.

Blumhoefer offers a few recycling tips. Do not put containers with liquids or foodstuff into the recycling bins – they will be rerouted to the landfill and may cause other items to be removed from the recycling stream. This includes greasy paper and plastics or bottles that still contain liquids. Also, do not put paper towels into the recycling bins. All other plastics, cardboard/paper and metals may be placed in recycling bins.

Other sustainability tips include:

  • Carry your own water bottle to refill at campus hydration stations.
  • Carry your own coffee mug and receive a discount on refills at the Suncatfés on all campuses.
  • Print only when necessary.
  • Be aware of occupancy sensors in rooms that automatically turn lights on and off, and let them do their work.
  • Do not use American with Disabilities Act (ADA) (automatic opening and closing) doors unless necessary. This action uses electricity and allows for heating and cooling to escape the building because the doors remain open longer, requiring heating and cooling systems to work harder. This drives up energy costs and damages the environment with additional CO2 emissions.
  • Carpool, walk, bike and bus to campus as often as possible. CNM distributes free bus passes to all students, staff and employees.

Sustainability Curriculum

For instructors who would like to incorporate sustainability into their curriculum but need assistance in developing assignments or brainstorming ideas, the Sustainability Curriculum Committee will be hosting workshops to help. These workshops support the Strategic Direction goal aimed at increasing sustainability in the curriculum. Contact Jessie Smith at, Don Helfrich at or Blumhoefer at for more information. 

In addition, annual programs are offered to students, faculty, staff and the public. This October, the Curriculum Committee will be hosting a lecture and activity series focused on water conservation called “Water in the Desert.” For information on this and other annual sustainability happenings, go to the Sustainability Website. Updates will be announced as they are finalized.

Instructors with specific interests in buildings and environment, HVAC, architecture, energy management, site analysis, environmental planning and gardening, contact Blumhoefer to set up building tours, classroom visits and other opportunities to learn about sustainability.