Going Green

Going green has been a way of life for us for a long time. It just comes naturally when you live in a place as beautiful and inspiring as southwestern Colorado. Our spectacular location and the convergence of diverse cultures creates a community that is active and engaged in environmental and conservation efforts.

Fort Lewis College Sustainability

Solar energy

Real-Time Solar Output FLC Campus screenshotWe now have solar panels on the Student Union, Sitter Family Hall, and Berndt Hall, which includes a solar hot water system and a roof-top photovoltaic system.

See the real-time energy output of our photovoltaic system on the Student Union.

Real food movement

Real Food Challenge buttonIn 2013, the members of the Environmental Center joined in the nation-wide Real Food Movement. "Real food" is defined as local, ecologically sound, fair-trade, and humane food products. The goal is to have 20% "real" food served on the FLC Campus. As of Fall 2017 we have hit 7% real food in the dining hall. Learn more about the Real Food Challenge.

In February of 2014, Fort Lewis College became the second college in Colorado to sign the Real Food Challenge Commitment. Read about our real food goals.    

Composting & recycling

While the college has been recycling and composting for years, recent improvements have made it faster and easier. Recently installed in the Student Union is the Rocket Composter, service the San Juan Dining Room and the Rocket Grill. This commercial composter reduces food waste by 70%.

Also, in 2012, the college and City of Durango initiated a new single stream recycling program allowing everyone to put nearly all materials into a single bin, while expanding recycling to include a wide variety of materials, including paperboard and plastics.


LEED Gold Buildings at Fort Lewis College logoWe are committed to environmental practices even as we grow. Four buildings on campus are currently LEED Gold certified.

Sitter Family Hall, the home of the Geosciences and Physics & Engineering Departments, is the fourth LEED® certified facility on campus. Features include double-glazed low-e windows, state-of-the-art heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, rooftop mounted solar panels, recycled construction materials and more.

The Student Union features a vegetated roof, and two solar energy projects: a solar hot water system and a roof-top photovoltaic system, in addition to a state-of-the-art composting system.

The Biology Wing of Berndt Hall also features solar power along with bicycle storage, open space preservation, and extensive natural lighting.

Animas Hall was Fort Lewis’s first residence hall to earn a LEED Gold rating. Animas Hall features recycled and locally-produced building materials, along with low or no-water landscaping

Presidential initiatives

We are a signatory to the Second Nature Carbon Commitment. Through this commitment, we aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2080, with interim emissions reductions targets in 2015, 2020, 2030, and 2040. In 2015, we exceeded our goal and reduced carbon emissions by 21% through updating inefficient equipment on campus, such as boilers, replacing and updating light fixtures with efficient bulbs and occupancy sensors, and adding insulation to the dormitories.


Fort Lewis College and the city of Durango are very bike friendly, with bike & pedestrian paths and dedicated bicycle lanes throughout campus and town. An extensive trail system also connects campus and town. All students receive a free city bus pass, and qualifying energy-efficient vehicles receive discounted parking permits.

Get Involved

FLC students have been a powerful driving force behind many sustainability initiatives on campus. You can be too.

Environmental Center

Environmental Center logoThe Environmental Center's rich history of promoting sustainability on campus and in the community goes back more than two decades. The FLC Environmental Center was formed in November 1990, after students petitioned the student government with 800 signatures. Since then, the EC hasn't looked back as it continues to lead the campus toward sustainability and creates ways for students to get hands-on experience changing the world for the better.

EC programs include the Climate Action team, SEEDS Campus Ecology Club, the Local First campaign, and Sustainable Business and Zero-Waste teams.

Visit the Environmental Center

Sustainability stories

Princeton Review - Guide to Green Schools Real Food Challenge seal carbon commitment logo EPA Green Power Partner