CSUN Sustainability 2020

  • FPDC: Energy & Sustainability Team

Facilities Planning, Design and Construction: Energy & Sustainability Team

Austin Eriksson: Director of Energy & Sustainability

Austin Eriksson became CSUN’s first Director of Energy & Sustainability in September of 2014, after graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Studies from CSU Channel Islands. He worked with the Institute for Sustainability to draft CSUN’s Climate Action Plan and serves as the chair of five of CSUN’s ten sustainability working groups. In his time at CSUN, Austin has engaged faculty, staff, and leadership across campus to drive sustainability initiatives in all aspects of campus operations. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Helping CSUN save over 55 million gallons of water each year through drought-tolerant landscaping and irrigation efficiency.
  • Increasing the campus waste diversion rate from 30% to over 50%.
  • Ensuring that over 90% of CSUN’s cleaning supplies have sustainability certifications Achieving a Gold rating on CSUN’s sustainability assessment through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
  • Switching to reusable pallet wraps for supply distribution across campus.
  • Replacing hundreds of light fixtures and thousands of lamps (light bulbs) across campus with more efficient LED alternatives.

Coleen Barsley: Manager of Energy & Utilities

Coleen has been CSUN’s Manager of Energy & Utilities since November of 2018. Previously, she worked at CSU Channel Islands as the Sustainability & Operations Analyst. As the Manager of Energy & Utilities, Coleen processes CSUN’s gas, water, and electricity bills, and tracks utility usage data to ensure operational efficiency. She also helps identify and implement projects to reduce CSUN’s utility usage and greenhouse gas emissions, helping the campus meet its sustainability and climate neutrality goals. Additionally, Coleen serves on CSUN’s sustainability working groups for Water, as well as Energy & Buildings. Some of Coleen’s impacts in her time at CSUN include:

  • Streamlined utility billing and data tracking
  • Saving the campus thousands of dollars by correcting billing errors and verifying exemption from city utility taxes
  • Installing internet-enabled water meters capable of providing data at five-minute intervals, automatically detecting leaks and sending alerts
  • Presenting to students and employees on CSUN’s energy infrastructure and its connection to sustainability
  • Working with CSUN’s electricity provider to explore options for installing more solar arrays on campus
  • Installing hundreds of signs as part of CSUN’s effort to provide a safe learning environment during COVID-19
  • Implementing automatic fault detection in CSUN’s building operation systems to identify and report suboptimal operating conditions, enabling building service engineers to rapidly locate and correct issues
  • Tested different types of window films to reduce passive building heating and save energy


Nikhil Schneider: Energy & Sustainability Coordinator

Nikhil joined CSUN’s Energy & Sustainability team in September of 2017, after graduating from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Energy & Sustainability. He works on a multitude of different initiatives, and is the chair of five of CSUN’s ten sustainability working groups. As an avid bicycle commuter, Nikhil is always looking for ways to make the CSUN campus more bike-friendly. Some of Nikhil’s achievements include:

  • Leading CSUN’s effort to achieve bronze-level certification as a bicycle-friendly university through the League of American Cyclists.
  • Coordinating the replacement of 200 outdoor walkway lights with LED’s, reducing their electricity usage by over 75%
  • Presenting to over 300 students on sustainability through various classes, workshops and events.
  • Presenting to over 300 employees on CSUN’s various sustainability initiatives through meetings, trainings and workshops.
  • Helping draft CSUN’s Zero Waste Plan
  • Coordinating the deployment of over 500 sets of landfill, recycling, and organics bins throughout campus buildings
  • Bringing in over $185,000 in utility incentive funding through the LADWP Commercial Lighting Incentive Program and Custom Performance Program