College of the Rockies values the natural environment and social and economic prosperity which are the pillars of sustainability.

The College has established a committee of staff and students which actively pursues ways to enable our campus to operate in a more environmentally friendly, socially active and economically sustainable way as well as create awareness and provide guidance.

What We’re Working On

Living Lab Project

College of the Rockies became part of a national research program aiming to encourage post-secondary institutions to become leaders for climate action through innovation.

Learn how the COTR Sustainability Committee is contributing to this team research effort.

Find out more about the Living Lab project

What We’ve Accomplished

Composting Project

College of the Rockies is converting food waste generated by its Cranbrook campus’ cafeteria, Professional Cook program, and Class Act Dining Room into compost thanks, in part, to $30,000 in grant funds from Columbia Basin Trust.

The composting program is being introduced on a limited basis initially, due to the reduced number of people on the campus due to COVID-19 restrictions and the corresponding decrease in food waste being produced. Once the campus is back to full operations, the Sustainability Committee will launch an educational campaign with the goal of encouraging students and employees to compost all food waste generated on campus.

Solar Energy

Cranbrook campus’ residence building utilizes two types of solar technology on the facility’s roof – photovoltaic and solar thermal – which allows the system to pull in as much heat as possible.

The College also installed photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Cranbrook campus’ Kootenay Centre building which was determined to be the biggest consumer of electricity and had the best physical space for the solar panels

Kootenay Centre Solar Project

109,000 kilo-watt hours of electricity per year, enough to operate 14 houses for a year – while reducing the College’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12,000 kilograms of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent). Combined, the solar systems have saved 26 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere

Pinnacle Hall trades building has a solar wall along one side which helps to draw heat into the building, improving indoor air quality and reducing heating and operating costs.

Leed Certified

The south entrance expansion, completed in 2010, achieved certification by the Leadership in Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) certification program, indicating the new construction meets the highest environmental performance criteria in Canada.

Lights Out Campaign

Stickers have been placed on many of the classrooms reminding staff/students to turn the lights out after they finish using the room. We also encourage all our staff to turn out their office lights — please note that if you go to your instructor’s office and their lights are out, check to see if they have a lights out dangler on their door handle. Many instructors will turn their office lights out while they are teaching classes or in meetings.

The Lights Out concept has been applied to all our computer labs. Screensavers still use power. When you finish working on a computer, please shut them down completely. Shutting down the computer not only saves energy, but it also gives students a fresh boot-up when they access a machine.


Blue recycling bins are placed throughout our campuses. Please make note of which bins accept which material. Also, a complete recycling center is located at the east side of the main parking lot at the Cranbrook Campus — you can deposit cans, newspaper, paper, glass and milk jugs here. There are similar drop off centres, which also accept plastics with the triangle number logo, located at the east side of the Wal-mart parking lot, and at the transfer centre.

Water Bottle Filling Station

Our Facilities Department have installed  “Water Bottle Filling Station” throughout Kootenay Centre. These machines dispense chilled, filtered water into your own reusable water bottle. Our goal is to reduce the amount of plastic waste created through purchased water. With that in mind, we will be looking into the phasing out of water in the Kootenay Centre Vending machines altogether!

Carbon Neutral Action Report

View the College of the Rockies Carbon Neutral Action Report


We’re proud to be a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. To further its mission of empowering higher education to lead the sustainability transformation, AASHE provides resources, professional development, and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model sustainability in all areas, from governance and operations to education and research.