The Air Force Academy received a Colorado Environmental Leadership program Gold Leader award from the Colorado Pubic Health and Environment Department.

The award recognizes institutions that have fully operational, facility-specific environmental management systems that have undergone planning, implementation and operation, as well as checks and reviews at several levels.

The process started earlier this year, and the Academy’s award included its 6-megawatt solar array and a recycling program that has reclaimed more than 93,000 pounds of hazardous waste and more than 2 million pounds of cardboard, paper, metals, glass and wood.

The Academy is trying to meet the Air Force’s “net zero” goals for installations, getting gall its energy from renewable sources. By 2015, the installation plans to reduce its current energy consumption by 38 percent.

The award is renewable every three years, meaning the Academy will become eligible to receive another Gold Leader award in 2014.