Green Cerritos Campus Sustainability Initiatives

Cerritos College is an environmental steward. The District is dedicated to adhering to sustainability practices and policies that conserve the planet’s diminishing natural resources. The District is creating a campus environment that fosters sustainability through conscious decision-making strategies, focusing on:

  • Green facilities that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards
  • Energy efficiency and alternative energy sources
  • Waste management
  • Transportation - increased use of public transit, rideshare, walking, biking, and advanced fuels
  • Water conservation
  • Instructional programs
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Green Campus Policies

  • September 17, 2014 - The Board of Trustees adopted Resolution No. 14-05 Declaring Design and Development of Facilities to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified for new buildings in excess of $5 million. LEED certification is set by the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • June 18, 2014 - The Board of Trustees adopted Board Policy 3580. The campus-wide sustainability policy is focused on developing practices that promote conservation and energy efficiency.
  • June 4, 2014 - The Board adopted Resolution No. 14-14 to authorize the creation of a Cerritos College CalRecycle Program. Income generated from the student-led recycle program will go to support the Associated Students of Cerritos College.
  • May 5, 2014 - Associated Students of Cerritos College adopted a sustainability policy to develop students into global citizens through the knowledge, skills and values of sustainability concepts. Student leaders are committed to creating a campus environment that fosters sustainability through conscious decision-making practices and strategies that focus on ecological stewardship and social equity.
  • The campus established a sustainability task force group to develop and implement a campus sustainability plan, establish goals, and track progress.
  • The California Community Colleges/Investor Owned Utilities (CCC/IOU) partnership selected Cerritos College for a pilot study to develop a Campus Energy Master Plan. The study, funded by Southern California Edison, will integrate energy data, cost savings initiatives and related energy information with the campus Facility Master Plan and the Educational Plan.  This plan will create a template for establishing energy use goals for future planning and construction, and identify initiatives to implement on existing conditions.  The projected completion date is December 31, 2014.

Energy Savings Measures

  • Secured $575,000 in state funding from Governor Brown’s Green Jobs Initiative. In 2013-14, the College used a portion of the funds on exterior lighting LED retrofits. For 2014-15, funding is allocated to re-commission the Science building, interior building LED retrofits in the library and the student center.
  • There are 254 light fixtures located across all campus parking lots that feature energy efficient LED lighting. This resulted in an estimated savings of $44,269 annually. This project qualified for $48,556 in incentives from Southern California Edison.
  • 200 exterior walkway lights feature energy efficient LED lights. When completed, this project will result in an approximate cost savings of $13,858 per year. This project will qualify for $23,207 in incentives from Southern California Edison.
  • The College commissioned a retro commissioning study of its 8-year-old, 51,000-square-foot Science building to optimize energy usage and develop best practices for future operation. The study was entirely funded by Southern California Edison. The retro commissioning will result in significant energy reduction for this facility and the campus overall. The estimated savings is $30,000 per year.

Water Conservation

In the midst of California’s historic drought, Cerritos College is taking steps to reduce its water use:

  • By using re-claimed water for landscape irrigation, Cerritos College saves more than 30 million gallons of water. This is equivalent to saving the same amount of water that 185 families of four would use for one year.  
  • To reduce water use, the College features a variety of drought-resistant plants in its landscape, including California native species such as Echervia, Euphorbia, aloes and Hesperia.

Green Education

  • Cerritos College is one of five recipients of the Collison Repair Education Foundation’s 2014 Sustainability Challenge Grant. The $5,000 grant provides resources to assist school collision repair shops with ways to create a more sustainable campus community by "greening" their operations, including recycling, reinventing processes that reduce carbon emissions. The projects will be driven by a student team.
  • The Advanced Transportation Technology and Energy Center offers training to the automobile industry on Alternative Fueled Vehicles (Electric Vehicle, Compressed Natural Gas, and Hybrid Vehicles) through a $150,000 grant awarded to the College by the California Energy Commission. Cerritos College’s technicians train industry technicians on servicing alternative fuels vehicles.
  • Cerritos College is a training provider through the California Advanced Lighting Control Training Program. The statewide initiative aims to increase the use of lighting controls in facilities through education.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions

  • In April 2014, Cerritos College installed eight Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) stations for public use.  For $0.30 cents per kilowatt hour, electric vehicle owners can charge their vehicles at the College. The College has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 758 kilograms, which equals the reduction of carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere by 814 pounds of burned coal. The Electric Vehicle Charging stations were partially funded by the South Coast Air Quality Management District that provided an $8,000-rebate upon successful implementation of the units for public use.
  • The Associated Students of Cerritos College established a campus recycling program in 2013.  Students collect, transport and sort recyclables and use the funds to support student activities on campus. Multiple collection stations will be placed throughout the campus.

Central Plant

  • Cerritos College utilizes a chilled water central plant to provide cooling to the campus buildings. This centralized method of cooling is considerably more cost efficient compared to individual building equipment.
  • The College's swimming pools are heated through solar blankets that warm the water when the pool is not in use through a heat exchanger with the central plant. The condenser water heat is essentially a free byproduct of mechanical cooling, which reduces the need for gas heating. As a result, there is a reduction in use of natural gas of approximately 17,000 therms per year, or an annual savings of $14,450.


All Cerritos College staff and faculty qualify to lease a 2015 or 2014 Nissan LEAF® Electric car at Nissan’s employee pricing rates. The LEAF® is one of the automobile industry's latest innovations using 100% electric power.  Employees are also eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax incentives and can recharge their vehicles at the College’s Electric Vehicle Charging stations located across campus.

For more information about Cerritos College's green efforts, please visit