The Dernogalizer

June 21, 2010

College Sustainability Updates

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 10:53 pm

Every so often I like to post some of the recent accomplishments by universities and their students to go green in a serious and impressive fashion.  Here are some of the best from the last two months, although unfortunately I’m having trouble getting the links to work, so you’ll have to take the paragraphs at their word.

Rush U Medical Center Building Awarded LEED Gold
The Orthopedic Building at Rush University Medical Center (IL) has received LEED Gold certification. The 220,000-square-foot medical office building, which houses outpatient services for orthopedics and sports medicine, opened in November 2009 and features a green roof; permeable pavement; recycled product for concrete, steel, and ceilings; and 50 percent local construction materials. Rush is also seeking LEED certification for a new hospital building, a 14-story 841,000-square-foot in-patient building currently under construction.

Columbia U Faculty House Awarded LEED Gold
Columbia University (NY) has announced that its recently renovated Faculty House has been awarded LEED Gold certification. Some of the features of the Faculty House restoration included integrated energy-efficient and water-conserving utilities, appliances, fixtures, and insulation; installation of new HVAC system, providing clean air quality; recycled, low-emission furnishings, materials, and finishes as well as locally made materials; and restored original details, repurposed old materials, donated used equipment, and recycled construction waste. With its renovation completed, Faculty House will now focus on providing the highest quality green meetings and events.

U Vermont Approves Clean Energy Fund Projects
The University of Vermont Clean Energy Fund Committee has approved its first round of projects. The Fund assesses UVM undergraduate and graduate students a $10 fee each semester to establish new clean energy projects on and around the UVM campus, generating about $225,000 per year. This year, $174,669 was allocated for nine approved student projects; $32,000 was set aside for an annual education and outreach fellowship to support student involvement in clean energy projects, coordinate with classroom instruction, secure grant funding, and disseminate information; and $25,000 will be used for professional project management for any construction the funded projects require. $25,000 was also set aside as a contingency fund. Selected projects include a campus dashboard system; the development of an energy auditing course and a virtual carport course; the installation of solar trackers, a solar array, and a solar hot water unit; solar power and smart grid research; and evaluation of biomass potential on the Trinity campus.

Syracuse U Unveils Rain Garden
Syracuse University (NY) has unveiled its first campus rain garden. The Waverly Rain Garden will capture and absorb some of a nearby parking lot’s storm-water runoff. This will reduce the amount of rainwater entering storm drains and help lessen storm system overloads. The garden covers 400 square feet and is capable of capturing nearly 2,000 gallons of water. A total of 55 volunteers, mostly SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students, helped to build the installation. The rain garden was designed by a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry landscape architecture graduate student, and the idea was developed by an SU student

Columbia Theological Seminary Res Hall Earns LEED Gold
Opened last summer, the new green residence hall for Columbia Theological Seminary (GA) students has earned LEED Gold. The structure is expected to use approximately 50 percent less energy than a conventionally constructed facility. An energy-monitoring system in the entry lobby allows students and visitors to see real-time energy consumption as compared with an average building performance. Design strategies include an exterior building envelope with above-average insulation values, energy efficient windows, and a geothermal mechanical system which will provide low operating costs and a long lifecycle. Water efficiencies include rainwater collection for landscape irrigation, and water saving plumbing fixtures.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill to Be Coal-Free by 2020
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has announced plans to end its use of coal by 2020. As a step toward ending coal use, the campus’ cogeneration facility will test co-firing coal with biomass in the form of dried wood pellets later this spring and torrefied wood – a product similar to charcoal – this fall or winter. The University plans to replace 20 percent of its coal with biomass no later than 2015, and perhaps by 2012. Last year, the Sierra Club’s Coal-Free Campus Campaign targeted 60 U.S. campuses that are still burning coal, including UNC and its coal-burning cogeneration facility. The Sierra Club urged these campuses to lead by example, cut their pollution, and end burning coal as soon as possible. In response, Chancellor Holden Thorp appointed 10 students, faculty and community members to a task force to make recommendations before year’s end to reduce Carolina’s carbon footprint. The 2020 date for ending coal usage was one of six interim recommendations submitted to Thorp the end of April.

5 Texas Universities Pass Green Fund
Student bodies at five Texas institutions voted on and approved green funds during Earth Week: University of Texas at Austin; University of Texas, San Antonio; University of Texas, El Paso; Texas A&M University, and University of North Texas. At UT Austin, 71% of voters favored the new fee. At Texas A&M, where a more heated debate took place, 57% voted in favor. The new fees would range from $3 – $5 per semester. If each of the funds is approved by its respective board of regents, the funds would generate a combined $8 million for sustainability projects over their five year lifespan.

U California Santa Barbara Students Approve Renewable Energy Fee
Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara have approved a mandatory student renewable energy fee with the highest voter turnout ever recorded. The Student Services Renewable Energy Initiative will generate revenue to be used to fund large-scale renewable energy projects at the seaside campus. This fee increase of $6 per quarter will generate upwards of $3.4 million dollars by the time it expires in 2020.

U California Santa Barbara Students Approve Renewable Energy Fee
Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara have approved a mandatory student renewable energy fee with the highest voter turnout ever recorded. The Student Services Renewable Energy Initiative will generate revenue to be used to fund large-scale renewable energy projects at the seaside campus. This fee increase of $6 per quarter will generate upwards of $3.4 million dollars by the time it expires in 2020.

Millikin U Receives LEED-EB Gold Rating
Millikin University (IL) has received LEED Existing Building (EB) Gold certification for the renovation of a residence hall. The renovation reduced CO2 emissions and improved energy savings, water efficiency, and indoor air quality.

American U Celebrates Newest Green Building
American University (DC) has opened the doors to the School of International Service. The 70,000-square-foot, eco-friendly building was designed for LEED Gold certification. The building is a reflection of the School of International Service’s commitment to advance ecological stewardship, preserve transparency and human dignity, and work for social justice. Elements of green design and construction include natural lighting, nontoxic materials, and climate controls. The roof is home to 7,000 square-feet of photovoltaic panels.

Washington State U Receives Grant For Clean Energy Courses
Washington State University has received a $2.5 million grant to develop courses to train engineers in clean energy and the smart electric power grid. The University will begin offering courses related to installing a smart grid and producing solar energy, wind energy, and biofuels. The three-year project will allow for the development of an undergraduate certificate, graduate level certificates, and a professional master’s degree in the field of clean energy and smart grid engineering.

Tufts U to Go Trayless this Fall
Tufts University (MA) has announced plans to stop offering trays in two dining centers starting this fall. The initiative is the result of the success of a pilot program that ran this past spring. The pilot recorded an 11.4 percent decrease in electricity use and a 29 percent decrease in food waste.
See alsoTufts Media Announcement

U Massachusetts Amherst Food Service Increases Local Purchases
University of Massachusetts Amherst Dining Services has increased the amount of local foods offered in campus dining halls. 25 percent of its food items were purchased from local farms in 2009, up from eight percent in 2002. The institution has also begun offering twice as much fruit and has cut meat portions by 3 ounces at lunch and 4 ounces at dinner. In addition, UMass has noticed a 20 percent food waste decrease. The University hopes to increase local food purchases by 27 percent in 2010.
See alsoBoston Globe Article

Ohio Northern U Constructs 3 Wind Turbines
Ohio Northern University has constructed three wind turbines. Each turbine is 220 feet tall and generates 400 kilowatts of power. The University will distribute the collective 1.2 megawatts of power generated throughout the campus. The three turbines are expected to meet five to 10 percent of the University’s electricity needs.

Brandeis U Passes Sustainability Fund
Brandeis University (MA) students have voted in favor of creating the Brandeis Sustainability Fund. Students will pay $15 per year and the Sustainability Fund Administrative Board will decide what proposals to finance based on which projects will best improve campus sustainability.

U Washington Establishes Sustainability Fund
The University of Washington’s Services and Activities Fee Committee has given $339,805 to establish a Campus Sustainability Fund. The Fund will create guidelines for how to allocate the donation. Current proposals include a large campus farm, renewable-energy installations, covered bike racks, and digital textbooks.

California State U Northridge Saves Water
California State University, Northridge has received incentive money for water-saving projects. One incentive of $108,000 was used to replace 265 urinals with waterless versions. An incentive of $347,000 was used to create a computer-based irrigation system. In addition, the University is considering rainwater harvesting and buying grey water.

Washington State U Installs Permeable Paving
Washington State University has installed permeable paving at its Research & Extension Center. The concrete is designed so water flows through it and into the ground beneath. The installation is part of a $1 million stormwater research effort to help revolutionize urban development.

Rock Valley College Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification
Rock Valley College’s (IL) recently renovated physical education center has been awarded LEED Gold certification. The $13 million project updated the building’s 40-year-old infrastructure. Key features include 1.6 acres of native prairie plants, low flow faucets and toilets, efficient heating and air conditioning systems, and energy efficient lights. 95 percent of the existing shell was reused in the new design and over 75 percent of construction waste was recycled.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Launches Efficiency Forward
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston-based utility NSTAR have announced a new program, MIT Efficiency Forward, which aims to cut MIT’s electricity use by 15 percent over the next three years. The program is expected to save MIT $50 million in energy costs over the next decade. The energy reduction will result from behavior change programs and changes in lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

St Ambrose U Powers Equipment With Biodiesel Fuel
St. Ambrose University (IA) has launched a biodiesel initiative. The grounds crew has begun converting 1,600 gallons of used cooking oil into fuel. The homebrewed biodiesel fuel is used to power machinery that mows lawns and removes snow. The use of biodiesel fuel has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from maintenance equipment by 80 percent. In addition, the University will save between $6,000 and $10,000 in annual fuel costs. A new facility that will allow the grounds crew to produce biodiesel more efficiently will be built next year.

Yale U Composts Food Waste
Yale University (CT) dining halls have begun composting. Instead of incinerating its food waste, the University sends 100 percent of all waste from 11 functional residential college dining halls and commons to a composting facility. The facility will use the compost to create nutrient-rich soil. Yale hopes to be able to use the soil additives on its own grounds.

New Mexico Highlands U Installs Rainwater Harvesting Cisterns
New Mexico Highlands University has announced plans to install rainwater harvesting cisterns on its campus. The cisterns store rainwater captured from roofs and uses the captured water to irrigate drought-tolerant landscaping for the buildings. The first underground unit will hold 90,000 gallons of water and planned cisterns will add an additional 200,000 gallons of water storage.

Green Mountain College Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification
A Green Mountain College (VT) residence hall has been awarded LEED Gold certification. The $1.3 million renovation of SAGE (Students for Academic and Green Engagement) Hall, includes Energy Star windows, high efficiency lighting fixtures, low-flow bathroom fixtures, Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood products, and local materials like slate flooring.

U Washington to Cut Carbon Emissions with New Heating System
The University of Washington has announced plans to install a new heating system during the renovation of its campus union building. The new water-to-water heat pumps will cut the building’s carbon emissions by 90 percent. The pumps are designed to draw heat out of the central cooling water system, generating hot water that would be circulated to provide warm air for the ventilation systems and the radiators under the windows. Renovations will take place over the next two years with a budget of $82.7 million.

Colby-Sawyer College Announces Green Utilities Contract
Colby-Sawyer College (NH) has announced a new, three-year electricity contract that will power the College with renewable energy sources and reduce its carbon emissions by 43 percent. The package will include the purchase of renewable energy certificates.

Smith College Building Awarded LEED Gold Certification
Smith College’s (MA) new science and engineering building, Ford Hall, has been awarded LEED Gold certification. Construction of the $73 million building reduced the overall stormwater runoff at the site by 25 percent through a detention system and a planted rooftop that encompasses 20,000 square feet. The project also diverted 96 percent of construction waste from the landfill through recycling agreements.

Northland College Library Achieves LEED Gold Certification
The Dexter Library at Northland College (WI) has been awarded LEED Gold certification. The recently renovated building features a geothermal heating and cooling system and an array of solar panels. Roofing rubber removed during the renovation was reused elsewhere on campus, including a repurposed hoop house door for a campus community garden.

U South Carolina Honors Hall Achieves LEED Gold Certification
The University of South Carolina’s Honors Residence Hall has received LEED Gold certification. Equipped with high-efficiency plumbing and recycled carpet materials, the building is the second on campus with a LEED designation. Interior finishes feature no or low volatile organic compounds and high levels of recycled content. Twenty percent of the materials used in the construction of the building were found within a 500-mile radius of the campus.

U Delaware Debuts 2 MW Coastal Wind Turbine
The University of Delaware has completed a 2-megawatt wind turbine. The turbine provides enough electricity to power approximately 500 homes and is expected to provide clean, carbon-free electricity for the entire campus. Excess power will be fed to the electric grid. The University worked alongside regional technology and energy corporations to complete the project, which is expected to enhance research in areas including turbine corrosion, avian impacts, and policy issues related to renewable energy.

Cochise College Introduces New Solar Facility
Cochise College (AZ) has introduced a new photovoltaic facility. Financed by solar energy company Externax, the $2 million solar facility is expected to generate 720,000 kilowatts of power annually and will help offset costs to power the campus. The College will purchase electricity at a nine percent discount. After 20 years, the College will have the option to own the facility and the energy it generates.

U New Mexico Building Seeks Platinum Status
University of Mexico has debuted its new College of Education building. The structure, which is registered for LEED Platinum status, is the second building on campus to adhere to the Governor of New Mexico’s Executive Order requiring new buildings to acquire a minimum of Silver certification under the LEED rating system.

Denison U Renovation Earns LEED Gold
Denison University (OH) has received LEED Gold certification for its Bryant Arts Center. The 105-year-old building, which was originally constructed as a gymnasium named Cleveland Hall, underwent a $14 million three-year renovation and reopened in fall 2009 as the Bryant Arts Center. The Center earned nine points for sustainability of the building site, four points for water efficiency, 12 points for energy and atmosphere considerations (including the maximum possible score for optimized energy performance), five points for the use of green materials, nine points for indoor environmental quality, and five points for innovation and design.

American U Switches to 100% Green Power
American University (DC) has purchased wind-generated renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 100 percent of the University’s annual electricity usage. According to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, American University is the largest east coast school to purchase 100 percent green power and the 2nd largest in the nation, behind University of California, Santa Cruz.

Mercyhurst College to Become 100% Wind-Powered, Install Composter
Mercyhurst College (PA) has announced plans to become 100 percent wind-powered by this summer. The price of wind has dropped since the College first began purchasing wind power in 2003.  In 2008, the College paid $35,000 for wind power equaling 20 percent of its total power.  Mercyhurst now pays $28,000 for 100 percent wind power.  In addition, this summer the College will install a compost system, which is expected to take in 200 pounds of waste a day, and a green roof. The cost of converting the conventional roof to a green roof is being funded through the 2010 Senior Class Gift and the Student Green Energy Fund.

Kent State U Stark Receives Funding for Energy Plan
Kent State University, Stark (OH) has received $1.3 million in financing for its Energy and Conservation Master Plan. The funding will be used for lighting retrofits, HVAC upgrades, and the installation of solar fountains. The University expects to save at least $182,000 within ten years and to reduce energy consumption and emissions by 37 percent.
See alsoLocal News Story

Western Washington U Students Vote to Expand Green Energy Fee
Western Washington University students have voted to approve an expanded green fee which will continue to finance the University’s renewable energy certificates. More than 80 percent of the student body was in favor of increasing the fee from $4 to $9 per academic quarter. The green fee was first approved in 2005 and has been used to purchase renewable energy credits and finance student projects devoted to increasing energy efficiency, decreasing consumption, and generating renewable energy. The fee will need to be approved by the Associated Students Board of Directors and the WWU Board of Trustees before it can go into effect.


1 Comment »

  1. Great Work.

    Comment by Green — August 30, 2010 @ 1:14 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: