Buildings & Grounds

Climate Protection

Climate Action Plan

CCA’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) provides a strategic vision for the college to meet the goals of carbon neutrality. This CAP is meant to set priorities and guide change within the campus community.

Through this plan CCA embraces the spirit of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) to address climate change within its boundaries and will provide its community with the tools, knowledge and inspiration to make an impact on the broader society.


Air Quality

As a forward thinking, design focused institution, our policies and guidelines are developed with consideration of the lifecycle implications of our choices and to help guide sustainable, energy efficient, and innovative strategies whenever possible.

We have limited stationary sources of emissions on both campuses, and we do not own or operate a fleet of vehicles, giving us an insignificant mobile emissions footprint.

CCA is a public transit-oriented institution that encourages and accommodates the use of alternative transportation through campus design and operational support.

Our janitorial service (GMG Janitorial) uses only green cleaning products and cleaning methods. Green cleaning allows us to provide a healthier work and learning space by decreasing indoor pollutants and improving air quality.

GHG Emissions

CCA is a member institution of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. A copy of our GHG report is publicly available at their website along with other participating institutions.

We use the Clean Air - Cool Planet campus carbon calculator provided by the ACUPCC to calculate emissions figures. The output of this data is used to monitor, identify, and recommend GHG reduction and energy-saving capital improvements and campus initiatives.

View Reports »


Our San Francisco campus was created from a repurposed bus maintenance facility with a daylighting, renewable energy, and material approach that predated LEED by five years, yet beat Title 24 requirements so significantly that it was named a Top Ten Green Building in the United States.

This effort has been followed with additional college facilities that have earned LEED Platinum and other sustainability acknowledgments.

CCA has been repeatedly included in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, further reinforcing the college's reputation as an exemplary institution of higher education committed to sustainability.

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The Nave on the San Francisco campus


CCA manages all grounds according to best practices and environmental stewardship:

  • Require the use of nontoxic, organic and locally sourced materials in all landscaping and grounds management
  • Use only native and drought-tolerant plant and tree species
  • Maintain three organic gardens that are integrated into the curriculum
  • Integrate green space into all campus-planning initiatives and new development
  • Compost 100 percent of plant debris

Partnering with our landscaper and members of the CCA community, we monitor and manage water and soil resource use. We also comply with municipal storm-water requirements and maintain storm-water management systems and have implemented rainwater catchments, bioswales, raised beds, sidewalk greening, xeriscaped gardens, and irrigation controls to manage water resources.

Students work in the garden on the Oakland campus


CCA is committed to using sustainable and energy-efficient operations. We use high-efficiency mechanical equipment and systems including on-demand boilers, hot-water heating loops, occupancy sensors, and advanced controls technology to manage system operations.

Thirty-five Heliodyn Gobi solar thermal panels are used to preheat water for our hydronic heating system in the Montgomery Building, the main building on the San Francisco campus.

Our institution purchases EPEAT and Energy Star-certified devices for all of its computing facilities and staff work stations.

We also develop recommended computer bundles to students that are EPEAT qualified.


Waste Diversion

Waste diversion is major component of our curriculum and our operations. We operate a Materials Reuse Center to capture all reusable or upcyclable materials from student, faculty, and staff project work.

And the college partners with a local organization, KIDmob, that reclaims and distributes project materials into classroom.

We also partner with Recology and employ its three-bin system on each of our campuses including educational signage and labeling systems.