Sustainable Construction and College Operations (G/P)

Effective date: 08/30/22


To ensure that all current and proposed construction, renovation, maintenance, and operations support district-wide sustainability goals.


I.  Green Building Design

New Buildings

  1. Austin Community College District (“ACC” or “the College”) will design and build all new buildings to a minimum standard equivalent to LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver rating or higher whenever possible within the constraints of program needs and standard budget parameters.

      Building Renovations

  1. Any renovation projects involving existing buildings will also apply sustainability principles to the systems, components and portions of the building being renovated. The proposed budget of all renovation projects should include a listing of sustainable measures under consideration.
  2. Renovation of buildings that require 100% replacement of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and replacement of over 50% of all non-shell areas (interior walls, doors, floor coverings and ceiling systems) should at a minimum comply with an equivalent to a LEED® Certified rating whenever possible within the constraints of program needs and standard budget parameters.
  3. For all non-building capital improvement projects, ACC will strive to meet sustainability goals that are LEED® Silver equivalent.


  1. ACC will work with regulatory agencies and other entities to speed the development, approval, and implementation of products and technologies that improve energy efficiency and support sustainable design, construction, and operating practices.
  2. ACC will incorporate green building design into existing facilities-related training programs, with the aim of promoting and maintaining the goals of the policy.

II.  Clean Energy Standard

  1. ACC will implement a district-wide portfolio approach to reduce consumption of non-renewable energy. The portfolio will include a combination of energy efficiency projects, the incorporation of local renewable power measures for existing and new facilities, and other energy measures with equivalent demonstrable effect on the environment and reduction in fossil fuel usage. The appropriate mix of measures to be adopted within the portfolio will be determined under each of the individual campus master plans.
  2. In response to Austin Energy’s 2030 plan, ACC will strive to achieve procuring 100% of its electricity needs from carbon-free energy sources by 2035.
  3. With a goal of reducing district-wide non-renewable energy consumption, ACC will develop a strategic plan for implementing energy efficiency projects for existing buildings and infrastructure to include operational changes and the integration of best practices. ACC will monitor industry progress in energy retrofits and implement appropriate technical improvements as they become available. As with renewable energy projects, ACC will develop funding sources and establish a program for financing retrofit projects. The initial goal for energy efficiency retrofit projects will be to reduce district-wide growth-adjusted energy consumption by 20% or more by 2025 from the year 2010 base consumption level. ACC will strive to achieve even greater savings as additional potential is identified and funding becomes available.
  4. ACC will continuously evaluate the feasibility of other energy-saving measures with equivalent demonstrable effect on the environment and reduction in fossil fuel usage.
  5. ACC will develop a variety of funding sources and financing alternatives for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean energy projects that will enable ACC to be flexible in addressing its energy needs.

III.  Climate Protection Practices

  1. With an overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while maintaining enrollment accessibility for every eligible student, promoting community service and operating campus facilities more efficiently, ACC will update its Climate Action Plan bi-annually to make appropriate reductions in GHG emissions to achieve climate neutrality.

IV.  Sustainable Transportation Practices

Metrics and Benchmarking

  1. In implementing the most efficient and effective economic and environmental strategy for ACC fleets, ACC will implement practicable and cost-effective measures including, but not limited to, the purchase of the cleanest and most efficient vehicles and replacement tires, the use of alternative fuels, and other conservation measures.
  2. ACC will strive to increase the number of alternative fuel vehicles to 10% of total fleet by the year 2025 and to 50% by the year 2030.
  3. ACC will work with regulatory agencies and other entities (e.g., regional transit agencies, air quality management districts) to speed the development, approval, and implementation of programs and technologies that support the goals of sustainable transportation as related to the increased use of biodiesel or other alternative fuel sources.

Transportation Programs

  1. ACC will continue to facilitate the sharing of best sustainable transportation practices within ACC and among other educational institutions.
  2. ACC will continue to improve the transportation demand management program encouraging the use of modes of transportation other than single occupant vehicles. The program will be updated to reflect new opportunities in the service area.
  3. ACC will enhance the ongoing involvement of students in efforts toward achieving sustainable campus transportation.
  4. ACC will continue the partnership with the local transit authority to provide the best transit services to ACC students and employees.
  5. ACC will strive to locate campuses and to plan the development of campuses to be easily accessible by public transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes of transportation.
  6. ACC will continue to develop partnerships with various for-profit and non-profit ride-sharing programs to enhance the transportation options for all ACC campuses.
  7. ACC will engage in advocacy efforts with local transit districts to improve routes in order to better serve student and employees ridership.
  8. ACC will use and expand existing technological infrastructure, including video/audio conferencing and virtual class capability to reduce employee and student travel between campuses and unnecessary commuting when feasible.
  9. ACC will develop policies regarding employees’ teleworking and alternative work schedules.

V.  Sustainable Operations and Maintenance

  1. For all existing and new buildings, ACC will develop a standard methodology for sustainable practices and standards for facilities management.
  2. For all existing and new buildings, ACC will develop a plan to operate and maintain all buildings at a minimum standard equivalent to a LEED® for Operations and Maintenance (O+M) Silver rating. ACC will work closely with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to address the needs and concerns of each campus in the further development of the LEED® rating system. As information and requirements are determined from the USGBC’s rating system, ACC will update these guidelines as appropriate.
  3. ACC will continue to utilize green cleaning and integrated pest management practices at all campuses to meet LEED® O+M standards.

VI.  Recycling. Composting and Waste Management

  1. In response to the City of Austin’s goal of “zero waste by 2040”, ACC will adopt the following waste diversion goals:
    1. 70% by September 1, 2030
    2. Ultimate goal of zero waste by 2040
  2. ACC will develop a district-wide waste management plan by September 1, 2023.
  3. Waste reduction, recycling and composting elements will be integrated in green building design and sustainable operations implementation goals and into campus operations as they are developed.
  4. ACC will recycle all electronics and hazardous waste in a responsible manner.

VII. Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Practices

Sustainable Economy

  1. ACC will utilize its purchasing power and academic excellence to advance the development of sustainable technologies by pressing markets to continually improve resource productivity.
  2. ACC will review contracts, bids and specifications for goods and services to ensure that they provide environmentally preferable products and services
  3. For products and services that do not currently offer environmentally preferable alternatives, ACC will work with its existing and potential suppliers to develop options.
  4. ACC will prioritize “cradle to cradle” designed products and services that support circular economy. “Cradle to cradle” is defined as accountable, responsible, and environmentally preferable supply chain management from material extraction, production, marketing, sale, use, disposal, collection, re-use and the web of closed loop cycles and processes. 
  5. ACC will continue to transition all locations toward electronic and paperless processes and utilize web-based catalogs and programs.
  6. ACC will incorporate the credit requirements set forth by LEED® into product and service sourcing and procurement.
  7. ACC will evaluate total cost of ownership including purchase price, operating cost, maintenance, collection and disposal, and recycling costs when selecting suppliers.
  8. ACC will not purchase any Styrofoam products.
  9. ACC will incorporate reclaimed water collection systems into all new campus design and construction projects.

Energy and Water

  1. For product categories that have ENERGY STAR© rated products available, ACC will focus its procurement efforts only on products with an ENERGY STAR©
  2. For all electronic equipment, the supplier will deliver the items to ACC with energy efficiency and conservation features enabled.
  3. ACC will develop an economical and equitable indoor climate control standard to conserve energy.
  4. ACC will establish an ongoing partnership with the ENERGY STAR© Program administered by the EPA, and continually press the market for greater energy efficiency for the products and services regularly purchased by ACC.
  5. For products and services requiring the use of water, ACC will give preference to technologies that ensure the efficient use of water resources.
  6. ACC will continue the development of reclaimed water collection systems at its locations.

Recycled Content

  1. ACC will phase out the use of virgin paper and maintain a minimum standard of 30% post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled content paper for all office supplies.
  2. For uncut paper uses, including but not limited to janitorial supplies, ACC will adopt a standard of 100% PCW recycled content paper.
  3. ACC will utilize its strategic purchasing program to negotiate better pricing for commodities with recycled content as compared to commodities without recycled content.
  4. ACC will continually work towards increasing the procurement of products with high recycled content.
  5. ACC’s outside suppliers and consultants will be encouraged to utilize a digital document sharing option, and when necessary, documents printed on both sides, using recycled content paper or provided electronically.

Environmentally Responsible Packaging

  1. ACC will specify to all vendors that all packing materials abide by at least one, and preferably all of the criteria listed below:
    1. Be made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials and be recyclable or reusable,
    2. Be non-toxic,
    3. Be biodegradable,
    4. Be produced with the minimum of resources and sized as small as possible, while still maintaining product protection during shipping. Where feasible, packaging materials should be eliminated if unnecessary.
  2. ACC will work with its suppliers to ensure effective waste management and recycling programs are in place for all business operations.

Recycling and Manufacturer Take-Backs

  1. ACC will work to establish and incorporate effective end-of-life recycling programs for each commodity as applicable.
  2. ACC will work with its suppliers to establish re-use, recycling, or “take-back” programs, in compliance with environmental standards that abide by federal, state, and local legislation regarding waste disposal.

Training and Reporting

  1. ACC will incorporate the EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program recommendations into existing strategic sourcing and other training programs, with the aim of promoting and maintaining the goals of the program.
  2. ACC will provide training seminars, supplier fairs, and workshops on purchasing environmentally preferred products and establish educational programs and materials for faculty, staff, and students.
  3. ACC will produce an annual plan and report on its sustainable purchasing practices.
  4. ACC will enhance the program for sharing of best practices including the orientation and training of College employees and students in all relevant aspects of sustainability.
  5. ACC will incorporate these sustainable operations guidelines into existing facilities-related training programs, with the aim of promoting and maintaining district-wide sustainability goals.

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