Green Campuses Mark Earth Day Anniversary

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It seems appropriate as we’re so close to the 40th “Earth Day” anniversary to reflect on some of the efforts being made by our college campuses to “go green”.

As part of a nationwide effort to create a low-carbon lifestyle, going green has become a new trend in university and college campuses – no more so than with the establishing of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

earthUnder this “commitment”, university presidents and chancellors are obligated to “initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality (in the US) as soon as possible”, and “initiate two or more tangible actions to achieve climate neutrality (in their own universities and colleges) as soon as possible”. Now, although “as soon as possible” has a rather vague time span attached to it, buried within the small print of the “commitment”, university presidents also have two years in which to adopt a purchasing policy in which all appliances used on campus are Energy Star certified, establish a policy to replace greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel paid for by their institutions and (within one year) produce at least 15% of the institutions electricity consumption from renewable sources.

Presidents of 680 Campuses have already signed this commitment to date. To see if your campus has joined this cause, the full list and further details of the scheme can be seen on this link, but look away if you study in DC, Idaho or Wyoming – you are more than likely not on it!

Exclusion from the “commitment” does not necessarily mean that your campus is doing nothing to protect the environment, for example:

  • Florida A&M University is in the middle of a major energy saving performance contract in association with Siemens, which includes lighting upgrades, pipe insulation and steam trap replacements resulting in energy savings over the next 10 years of $4.1 million and more importantly, reduce CO2 emissions by 4.5 million pounds – equivalent to planting 15 acres with trees.
  • Pitzer College in California is in the process of a three year “Residential Life” program, where new dorms are being constructed from recycled materials. When completed, the college anticipates being the first to be awarded a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
  • The Duncan College complex within Houston’s Rice University has reduced energy consumption by 25% having installed a “green roof” with low-maintenance plants which cut energy requirements for heating and cooling. They have also added smart controls to their air-conditioning units that shut them down whenever a window is opened.
  • The University of New Hampshire has three dorms that have now received EPA´s Energy Star rating. The three buildings combined save an equivalent amount of energy as taking 100 cars off the road for a year, or the pollution effects of 65.000 gallons of gas.

And it is not just the campuses which are making the effort. The Centre for Sustainable Living at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., is a residential community dedicated to healthy low-consumption lifestyles.

Students involved in this project raise awareness of sustainability issues through hosted dinners, concerts, guest speakers and community events. They have also committed to limiting the amount of time spent in the shower to just three minutes – now there is a sacrifice to save the planet!

Sarah Harris provides marketing support for Massage Therapy, the premier online resource for those trying to locate a massage therapy school.

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Categories: Campus News