Before we conclude another academic year—one in which both local and global environmental challenges made front-page news—I would like to share a brief update on Columbia’s continuing progress on reducing its carbon footprint and enhancing our long-term environmental sustainability. Just a few weeks ago, the University attained a significant milestone in achieving its first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification for the recently renovated Faculty House. Awarded by the United States Green Building Council, the LEED system is a nationally recognized framework for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
It took many people across the University working together to plan and complete the sustainable renovation of Faculty House. And it will take many more to help advance the long-term commitment to meetColumbia’s sustainability goals. I encourage you to share your thoughts on how we can continuously improve our efforts. At this point, let me congratulate our new graduates and wish everyone a good summer. I look forward to having more to report in the fall.
Senior Executive Vice President
Faculty House Receives LEED Gold Certification
In April, Columbia’s renovated Faculty House was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Faculty House is not only the first LEED Gold Certified building at Columbia University, it is also the first McKim, Mead & White building in the country to be given this designation.
This recognition comes on the heels of the LEED Silver Certification, given to the award-winning Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building—the University’s first LEED certification. The Comer building provides space for academic research and offices on Columbia’s Lamont campus in Palisades, New York.
The U.S. Green Building Council describes the LEED system as “the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” Some of the key features of the Faculty House restoration include integrated energy-efficient and water-conserving utilities and appliances; the installation of a new heating, ventilating and air conditioning system; as well as the use of repurposed materials and recycled construction waste. It is notable that Faculty House was awarded a 44 out of 44 total points on the LEED scoring system.
Reopened in September 2009, Faculty House now focuses on providing “green” meetings and events, which includes sustainable practices such as catering with reusable cutlery and plates, using water pitchers and glasses instead of bottled water, recycling receptacles at every event, and providing local and organic menus upon request.
To learn more, visit the Faculty House website.
Other Columbia Buildings Earn Green Honors
Faculty House is only one of several campus buildings to have been honored recently for sustainability in design and construction. In April, the Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building at the Lamont campus won a merit award for excellence in sustainable design at the 2010 Integrated Design/Integrated Development (IDID) conference held at Dartmouth College. The IDID awards honor architecture, landscape architecture, planning or historic preservation projects that demonstrate a high level of sustainable principles and excellence in design. The Comer building was cited as “a great example of how to approach an integrated design process [that] can quite easily be seen as a model for similar development.”
The newly renovated Knox Hall on West 122 nd Street will be honored by the Greater New York Construction User Council on June 15. It features one of the first geothermal energy systems in Manhattan. Formerly a residence hall for Union Theological Seminary, Knox Hall was adaptively reconstructedaccording to the best sustainable design standards to provide academic space for several of our regional institutes in the arts and sciences. Its innovative construction and design have been recognized in the “redevelopment” category.
Public Safety Rolls With All-Hybrid Fleet
Columbia University Public Safety’s patrol fleet may still look blue and white, but it is now completely green. In May, the last of the patrol’s older vehicles was retired, completing the transformation to an all-hybrid fleet of Ford Escapes and Nissan Altimas. The new all-hybrid fleet of 14 cars at the University’s Morningside campus and at the Medical Center will help reduce the University’s carbon footprint by minimizing exhaust emissions and maximizing fuel efficiency.
John Jay Goes Trayless to Save Food and Water
just completed its first year of trayless dining in an effort to become more eco-friendly. An estimated 190 to 450 pounds of uneaten food is wasted at every meal in John Jay Dining Hall by diners who take too much on their plates, according to a study conducted by Columbia’s Waste Prevention Program
. It has been found that by removing trays, diners make more careful decisions about their food choices, and there are also fewer service items to be cleaned. In the last year, Dining Services estimates it has saved approximately 3,000 gallons of water, once wasted daily to wash the trays, and at least 50 pounds of food leftovers per meal time. The higher volume of sanitary unused food will be donated to City Harvest
, a local nonprofit whose mission is to prevent hunger in New York City.
Columbia Libraries Implement New Energy Saving Policy
In April, the Columbia University Libraries and Information Services applied a new energy saving policy to administrative desktops that sets machines to hibernate, limiting interruptions to staff productivity while maximizing energy conservation.
Normally staff computers are left on after-hours to allow for system and security updates. With the new policy, all machines will automatically go into hibernation mode after a period of inactivity. In a hibernating state, computers consume less than three watts of power. In combination with the existing policy of setting monitors and hard disks to standby, the Columbia University Libraries will save more than 200 megawatts of power, which is more than 140 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
To learn more computer energy saving tips, visit the Environmental Stewardship website.
University Celebrates Earth Day and Week With Wide Range of Activities
To mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and Earth Week, Columbia students and faculty hosted a diverse series of events April 19-23 to promote environmental sustainability. Highlights of the week include: a half-day forum to explore opportunities for entrepreneurs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, hosted by the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and IBM; a discussion of the ethics of climate change, featuring Columbia researchers; Sustaining Life, a forum for students to share sustainable solutions for meeting human needs; and a panel discussion on New York and the electric car, hosted by the engineering school. The electric car panel discussion was featured in The New York Times, and can be seen in a video on the Columbia News website.
Give & Go Green Recycling Drive Helps Students Donate During Move-Out
Columbia’s Eco-Reps, Housing Services, Facilities and the Office of Environmental Stewardship have organized a campaign to help students donate leftover items and goods to local charities during move-out at the end of the spring semester. Last year students collected five 16-foot trailers of donations for the Salvation Army and three bins of clothing and toiletries for Broadway Community Inc., a local community-based organization, as well as 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items for City Harvest.
Donations of items such as non-perishable food, clothing, kitchenware, appliances, linens, accessories, books, small furniture, computers and toiletries will be accepted this week on May 11-13 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the following locations: May 11 on College Walk; May 12 at Carman Gate (114th Street and Broadway); and May 13 at Wien Gate (115th Street and Amsterdam). In the fall, the Eco-Reps will also host a sale of gently used household items such as lamps and mini-fridges for returning students.
Visit the New Office of Environmental Stewardship Website
The Office of Environmental Stewardship is in the process of a redesign of its website and would like to hear your feedback as they add new features in the coming months. Please visit www.environment.columbia.edu, and send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facilities Service Center Contact Information
Please remember to report problems such as leaks, heating/cooling issues or opened windows or doors that cannot be closed to the Facilities Services Center at (212) 854-2222 on the Morningside Heights campus. Those on the CUMC campus should call (212) 305-HELP (3457). Similar problems on the Lamont-Doherty campus can be called in to Building and Grounds at (845) 365-8600.
Don’t Forget to Share Your News and Ideas
Expand your own efforts to help Columbia become more sustainable. Please e-mail Nilda Mesa, assistant vice president of Environmental Stewardship, with your ideas at email@example.com.
And please share news updates about what you and your office are doing to support a sustainable Columbia to Clare Oh in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.