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Practice What You Teach: Sustainability on College Campuses

Colleges and universities are ranked on a variety of criteria; from class size, retention and graduation rates to whether or not they are a top party school or have a successful athletic program.

In recent years, colleges and universities are also being judged by their “green” initiatives. Princeton Review’s Top List of Green Colleges and Sierra Club’s list of America’s Greenest Universities ranks campus sustainability practices. The categories that are examined are: Energy, Investments, Food, Innovation, Academics, Planning, Purchasing, Transport, Waste, and Water.

Sustainability measures often save a significant amount of money, and they also demonstrate that colleges are practicing what they teach.

Of the categories listed above, water and energy have an immediate financial payoff. By making the switch to energy efficient lighting and water saving devices colleges can save millions!

Boston College’s energy-efficiency efforts have resulted in annual energy savings of more than 4 million kWh, and cost savings of $650,000. The multiple conservation measures implemented on campus include more than 1.4 million square feet in lighting upgrades. Campus lighting upgrades include motion sensing, daylight harvesting, and ballast replacements. In addition, they distributed 7000 12.5 Watt LED bulbs to students.

Assumption College in Massachusetts installed toilet flush valves and water-saving shower heads in 22 buildings, which should save nearly three million gallons of water per year.

Students at American University measured the flow rate of water fixtures on campus and realized that AU could be more efficient with its water use. They shared their findings with Office of Sustainability staff members who then estimated that once all the aerators are replaced, the university will save 570,000 gallons of water, enough to fill AU’s swimming pools and almost $10,000 per year.

For other ideas on how to make your school more green and to connect with other sustainability departments you may want to visit the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Conservation Mart has a wide selection of energy and water saving devices and would love to help your campus go green!