Under the leadership of former President Richard J. Cook, Allegheny College has made a strong and continued commitment toward becoming a sustainable campus. President Cook was one of the first college presidents to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. The College has made a commitment to sustainable construction since 2005 as evidenced by: (1) constructing North Village Phase 1 to LEED Certified standards; (2) incorporating many sustainable features, such as a green roof and ENERGY STAR-rated mechanical and electrical equipment, into the construction of the Vukovich Center for Communication Arts; (3) designing North Village Phase 2 to LEED Silver standards; and, (4) designing the renovation of Carr Hall to LEED certification standards. Sustainable materials and supplies, such as low VOC paints, sustainable carpeting, energy efficient T8 fluorescent lights, Energy Star appliances and mechanical equipment, have been incorporated into routine operations. In 2008 the College created the position of Sustainability Coordinator and filled the position in July 2008. The Sustainability Coordinator coordinates all activities on campus that support our sustainability initiative.
Daily operations and maintenance of campus facilities and property by the Physical Plant staff, as well as construction of new facilities reflect this commitment. Sustainable materials and supplies, such as low VOC paints, sustainable carpeting, energy efficient T8 fluorescent lights, Energy Star appliances and mechanical equipment, have been incorporated into routine operations. Physical Plant staff members are actively engaged in providing full-scale composting to reduce waste and produce the fertilizer and compost used in our sustainable grounds maintenance program. A Landscaping Master Plan has been developed to set the standards for, and to facilitate the performance of, a campus-wide sustainable grounds maintenance program. The Physical Plant staff is working with the College’s Sustainability Coordinator to develop policies for best management practices in sustainable purchasing, management of solid waste and green cleaning. Design review standards have been implemented to ensure that that the College receives the most cost-effective lifetime value for new construction and facility upgrades.
An important part of our commitment to a sustainable is the implementation of best practices in energy management. The Director of Physical Plant is personally involved with detailed monitoring of the college’s utility bills in order to identify facilities that are high users and to set priorities for projects/upgrades designed to lower utility use. He also advises college administration in behavioral changes that can help lower utility consumption. In conjunction with the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), the College entered into a contract with Siemens for the performance of a campus-wide energy audit. Members of the Physical Plant staff worked closely with the Siemens Building Technologies, Inc. technical staff to facilitate access to facilities and gathering of data. The audit results were presented in July 2008. After review by college and Physical Plant administration and key trades workers the College is proceeding to prioritize and fund the recommended projects.
In addition Physical Plant staff are aware of the importance of this function and are actively engaged in supporting our efforts by identifying and reporting energy issues when observed and by correcting problems when funds are available. The HVAC mechanic controls heating and cooling in campus buildings through the Siemens Energy Control System. Electrical loads are shed whenever practical, which provides a source of income to the College. The Director constantly checks for fluctuations in utility pricing and negotiates with utility providers for better service rates whenever possible. ENERGY STAR-rated equipment is installed whenever equipment needs to be replaced. An infrared camera was purchased to facilitate the identification of energy losses throughout the campus.
- Significant financial benefits gained from energy savings, such as larger purchasing power for both the College and the Medical Center as well as shared expenses for training and public outreach.
- Improved working and living environments.
- Renewal of infrastructure.
- Environmental benefits including a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, smog and acid rain.
- Positive impact on the local economy by creating direct and indirect employment.
- Opportunity for Allegheny College to demonstrate its leadership in facility management and in finding innovative solutions to reduce costs and provide better working environments.