Reducing the Impact on the Environment
The Town of Elizabethtown
The town of Elizabethtown has a nice recycling program in place to keep the town clean. The program started in 1991, which is when Pennsylvania mandated a law for trash and recycling programs. The trash and recycling collections happen once a week and a house can put out one bag or can per week. Large or oversized items that can be picked up curbside, with a limit of one per wee, are items like carpet, mattresses, furniture, scarp metal, and microwaves. For recycling the residents must label their bag or can as recycling and that is also collected once per week, they are not given cans specifically for recycling like some communities. Materials that can be recycled curbside include glass, plastics, aluminum, steel cans, newspapers, paper, paperboard, magazines, and cardboard. During certain seasons other items are collected. Leaf, yard, and wood waste all have certain collection dates, whether it be four times a year or every other week depending on the material. Christmas trees are collected one day a year. Anything that does not get picked up curbside can be taken to the LCSWMA in Lancaster. Commercial recycling is done by the borough, but they must be registered or their trash will not be picked up. The annual fee for trash and recycling collection in $160. The trash collector for the borough is Lebanon Farm Disposal Incorporated. The borough keeps their residents informed to changes in recycling and trash collection. They provide the residents with tips on when to put out certain items and how to make sure their items are secure. They make sure their residents know what can be recycled and what needs to be trashed. Without these efforts by the borough the town would not be as beautiful as it is and it would not be suitable for a college who is very involved in recycling, green, and sustainability efforts. With the town recycling, it is only natural for Elizabethtown College to have their own recycling efforts and ways of going green.
History of Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown College was founded in 1899 by the Church of the Brethren. Classes started officially the next year, after being granted a charter in September of 1899 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The College is now run by a Board of Trustees after the Church gave up their governing role in 1993. Today the College is home to almost 2,000 students who have the option of over fifty majors and 90 minors or concentrations. Over the last couple of years the College has been making an effort to make the campus sustainable and trying to reduce the impact it makes on the environment.
Who All Participates?
The effort to make the campus green is a campus wide effort. The effort is headed by the Facilities Management. Other departments that have green efforts are Print Services, Dining Services, and the students and faculty of Elizabethtown College.
Facilities Management do the most with sustainability and keeping the campus green. Their headquarters, the Brown Building, and its surrounding area is where all the recycling and trash from campus is brought together. Each type of material has its own point of collection. The staff of Facilities are the ones who change out lightbulbs for more energy efficient models, install efficient heating systems, and even repaired the campus pond so it is more environmentally friendly. Their mode of transportation is environmentally conscious as well. The staff tries to use golf carts, whenever possible. A tank of gas in the golf carts can last up to three or four weeks, compared to one tank a week in a van that has a larger tank.
The white copy paper offered by Print Services is either 100% post-consumer waste or paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Print Services partners with the Elizabethtown College Environment Group (ECEG) to reduce the number of white copy paper ordered the last three years by the service by 10% each year. The ECEG also helps to produce and sell Green Notebooks. Money raised from the sales go to help support environmental efforts and initiatives on campus. Print Services recycle and reuse paper. Papers that are not confidential and have only one side printed on is reused by turning them into notepads, the rest is recycled.
Instead of wasting the excess food they have, Dining Services saves the waste. In 2010, Dining Services, along with Facilities Management, put in a program that turns the Dining Services waste into energy. Program partners include Somat Company of Lancaster and Mark Brubaker, who is a local farmer. The program takes the collected waste, gives the waste to Mark Brubaker and Brubaker Farms, and the waste is turned into electricity. The result of the program are an 80 percent reduction in water consumption and the waste hauling chargers by 50 percent of the College.
Other efforts by Dining Services are they grow some of the fruits and vegetables that they serve. The exhaust hood systems in the kitchen have sensors that fluxuate the power depending on what is needed. This saves on electrical usage, because they hoods are on low or off when not in use. They buy from local companies like Turkey Hill Diary, John Gross & Company, Herr Snack Foods, and a few small local specialty shops. Dining Services participates in the recycling program put into place by Facilities Management.
Students and Faculty
Students and Faculty do their part by recycling inside the dorms, offices, and academic buildings. Within the dorms, each floor has a recycling and trash collection. Once a week a student is responsible to take that material to either the outside collection point or the inside collection point depending on the building. Those collection points are then collected by Facilities. The student who takes out the recycling and trash rotates week to week. A schedule is put out by the floor resident assistants letting each student know what week is theirs.
Every floor in the academic buildings have either a trash can, a paper collection bin, a can and bottle recycling can, or an all-in one collection that holds all three. The offices each have a recycling can and a trash can. When they get full the faculty member empties that into a larger collection point, located a lot of the time in a common room, like a faculty break room. Those then are collected by the cleaning staff and put outside at a collect point for Facilities Management to pick it up. After talking to a number of students they all were happy with the campus' efforts in recycling and are happy to help in the efforts.
Going Green in Buildings on Campus
A member of Facilities Mangagement gave me a good overview of the types of systems and sustainability efforts the campus has put into place over the last couple of years.
Building Automated Systems
The Building Automated Systems (BAS) allow Facilities Management to control the energy using systems in most of the buildings on campus. Systems include the Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditions (HVAC) Systems, room temperature, lighting, and other electrical needs like computers. These systems are monitored all day, every day; during the day the systems are monitored at the Brown Building by members of Facilities Management. The evening is monitored by technicians from their homes just incase an emergency happens. This helps the college conserve energy because the can switch off lights or turn the temperature down if no one is in the room.
Heating and cooling in the buildings is determined by what time of year it is. The switch is determined by current and forecasted temperatures. It takes time to switch from heating to cooling and vice versa, but they have to make sure most of the buildings are comfortable. In terms of sustainability, if the Facilities team guesses correctly they can save energy because they can use the natural temperatures to make the rooms comfortable.
Another part of the building automated system is the R25 event scheduling systems. The system schedules work and maintenance when spaces are not occupied. This allows operations and staff to be efficient in their work. Updates on the system have allowed unoccupied rooms to be at temperature that are too cold for people be comfortable. This saves energy because heating is not wasted if nobody is going to be occupying the room. During breaks is when this system is in full effect.
Electrical demand is monitored by the building automated system. By monitoring how many kilowatts are used or demanded, the systems can limit the about of electrical demand by shedding the load of electric to keep it at an already set limit.
Electrical Consumption Management
There is a number of changes that have been made on campus that has reduced the amount of energy consumed on campus. Inefficient motors are being switched out for high efficiency motors.
Lighting has become more energy efficient with different types of light bulbs. T12 tubes have become T8 tubes over the last ten years. If there are new projects T5 tubes are being used instead of the T8 tubes. LED (light emitting diodes) lights are being put in exit signs instead of incandescent lights. The college is looking into using LED lights both in outside and inside settings. The lights use less energy and do not create much heat, saving energy consumption. Rooms are having motion sensors that when no movement is sensed for a certain amount of the time, the lights automatically shut off. They tied this into temperature settings in the building as well. New rooms have sensors that when the lights are off the unoccupied temperature setting is put into effect. That way light and heat are not being wasted on an empty room.
Putting the right amount of heating, air conditioning, and ventilating into a room is maintained by using variable volume HVAC systems with variable speed drives. The variable volume system can be combined with carbon dioxide sensors to makes the used of outside air supplied to the space more accurate, this makes the system more efficient.
The heating and cooling systems are becoming more energy efficient as technology keeps improving. Many of the buildings on campus are heated and cooled by heat pumps. The older heat pumps are being replaced by heat pumps that are more efficient and have less electrical consumption. To cool buildings, the newer heat pumps are more efficient when cooling, compared to heating. Other methods of cooling used are window air conditioning units and water and air cooled chillers. Window air conditioning units that are inefficient, in the buildings that are being renovated, are being replaced with building cooling that are high efficiency.
Chiller technology is reducing the amount of kilowatts per ton of chilling capacity; 320 tons of new magnetic levitation chillers have been installed and are supplying the Nicary district cooling systems with cold water for numerous buildings on campus. The magnetic levitation chillers are replacing pumps, bearing, lubricating oil, and other equipment that were used before. Another 160 tons of magnetic levitation has been installed over the past couple of years.
With the new heat and cooling technology working efficiently, the college is looking into other new technologies to improve efficiency of electrical consumption. There is a test system in place that monitors the technology to make sure it is working as advertised by the manufacturer. If it pass the test than the college can move forward with replacing the older technology with the new technology.
Buildings that use more energy than others are being looked at to see how electrical consumption can be more efficient. Solar film is installed on windows that are facing south to reduce cooling and improve comfort for the occupants of the room. Their main goal with all the technology is to keep electrical consumption down and have everything as energy efficient as possible.
Natural Gas and Fuel Oil
Natural Gas is the method used to heat the larger buildings on campus. To reduce the amount of natural gas consumed energy saving technologies have been put in place. Technologies such as the variable volume HVAC systems, occupancy sensors for temperature settings when the room is unoccupied, carbon dioxide sensors to make sure the room has the right amount of air to make the room comfortable. Laboratory hoods have been installed that minimize the amount of outside tempered air that is taken from the hoods. The hoods provide hood face velocity for the hood to be safe in operation.
Inefficient boilers for both natural gas and fuel oil are being replaced with high efficient boilers as funds are becoming available.
Many of the older buildings are being renovated with new efficient windows, insulation, and siding. Other buildings are being insulated and sealed to make the buildings more energy efficient. This reduces the amount of heating and cooling needed.
Campus Ground Sustainability
Many areas of the ground maintenance are to improve the look on campus, but also be beneficial to the environment around campus.
All the extra branches, leaves, weeds, and any other type or part of plant is put together and composted to use on campus as mulch and soil. This keeps local plants and their waste in the same environment. Grass clippings are collected and put back on the grass to reduce the need for fertilizer and keeps moisture in the soil. For sports fields organic topdressing compost is used to improve fertility and keep moisture in the turf. By having the compost and reusing it as mulch keeps natural plant waste in their natural environment. It is environmentally friendly because nonorganic foreign material is not being introduced to the soil and harming things around it.
As mentioned above composted material, leaves, and other natural things are used on campus as fertilizers. These items are only used when the material looks aesthetically pleasing on campus. If the composted material is not used, organic and chemical fertilizers are used to help landscapes. These products are only used when they are desperately needed and there is a severe deficiency. Only a quarter of the sports turf gets fertilized and it uses a natural organic fertilizer. The college makes sure to use products that are as green as possible.
Integrate Pest Management and Beneficial Insects
Beneficial insects are insects that help the environment they live in. To benefit the insects the campus provides habitat for the insects by putting in pollen and nectar plants. The insects benefit the plants and campus by pollenating the plants and keeping the growing and healthy to keep campus beautiful. This cuts down the amount of fertilizer and plant food needed. The campus also provides winter habitats for the insects during the colder months. These habitats allow for the insects to multiply. Those insects then help to control the pest insect population. This allows for the college to use a small spectrum of pesticides and keep the environment more green.
To control the pest insects the college uses only a certain type and amount of pesticides. The pesticides are not used all the time, only when the threshold of a certain pest allowed is reached. The pesticide used is meant only to harm the target pest. This is to make sure that other species are not hurt or killed. If the pests are not easily controlled or accessed the pesticides will not be used. Almost all, 95%, of grass and turf and treated for pests, but only when the allowed threshold amount is exceeded.
The amount of mulch used is no deeper than three inches. This keeps moisture in the mulch, but also helps in weed control. When put down, it has to be put down properly or any type of application put on top will not go down correctly. The mulch is not put on the same sites every year. It is rotated every two to three years to prevent mulch in not built up. All of this ensures the campus will look beautiful and maintained properly.
Using native plants has a number of benefits for the college and the environment. By using native plants, the plants have low maintenance and can handle the temperature changes in the region. Once planted the plants do not need water, unless very dry, and the soil does not need fertilizer or other nutrients that the plants may need. The soil naturally gives the plants the nutrients. By having all the plants in the right place they can help each other and maintenance on both plants need low maintenance and have a better chance at surviving. The native plants also provide food and a habitat for native animals, insects, and birds.
Storm Water Infiltration and Erosion Control
The storm water infiltration and erosion control to keep water from running into and flooding more popular areas of campus. The first part of this project, funded by the Growing Greener grant, the first for the college, focuses on storm water retention areas around Lake Placida, a lake on campus and the streams that surround it. Because of the water retention areas the quality of water in the lake is improved. The bacteria in the water works on the water in the water retention areas before it flows into the lake. Wetlands surround the lake and waterway entrances and they provide erosion control and a filter for clearer water, removing waterborne pollutants. Throughout campus there are four infiltration points to collect storm water run off, these collect water from parking lots and fields. The areas are also used to recharge ground water levels and take out sediment and pollutants. These points are located: below Schreiber Quadrangle, by Boyd Field, next to Leffler Chapel, and between Hackman parking lot and Founders Hall. This recharge point is the newest and was funded by the second Growing Green grant.
Lake Placida itself is a help to the environment. Renovated in 2012, the lake has be filled with native plants and animals. These are animals and plants you would find in nearby rivers or lakes. The lake gives native birds and other animals more of a natural habitat. The build of the lake and the storm water infiltration keeps the lake from flooding onto campus like it did during the heavy rains in the fall of 2011 and 2012.
Other water conservation efforts are the domestic water use and the reduction of the amount of water used.
Several wildflower meadows are scattered around the small campus. These wildflowers have deep roots that help lower the amount of water runoff. They also help to absorb more ground water. These flowers provide habitats for the native insects and birds. The meadows do not need to be mowed, so time and resources are saved. One resource saved is gasoline. Without having to mow, it saves the gasoline and its emissions from entering the air. It would help keep the air on campus clean.
On the staff of facilities management there are employees who are Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturalist and a Certified Turfgrass Professional. The staff has to go through training to hone their skills, but also learn about the up and coming conservation technologies. Some of the training sessions include: Leadership in Energy and Efficiency Design, best management practices in storm water management, pesticide application certification and training, Johnson Controls BAS Training-Metasys Extended Architecture Building Operator, and workshops on integrated pest management, native landscaping, storm water control, and other environmentally sustainable actions.
Environmental Services: Many of the chemicals used on campus are green chemicals. The only chemicals not green are the ones used as disinfectants are hospital grade. Even those are as green as they can be. They do not used green disinfectants because they do not do the job that needs to be done. Other Environmental Services efforts on campus is the minimal use of paper towels in restrooms. Hand dryers are being installed instead.
Transportation: With many workers on campus need vehicles to transport them around. Campus security is getting hybrid vehicles. They do many stop and go motions and they hybrid cars work efficiently working in those motions. The vehicles are maintained to use the vehicles as long as they can and maximize the milage. Fairly new to Facilities Management is the use of golf carts. The golf carts are equipped with covers for the winter and rain, storage in back, and runs on less gas than a larger vehicle. One tank of gas in the golf cart can last up to three weeks, where a larger vehicles a tank would be gone in less than a week. Less gas used is less carbon emitted into the environment. It helps keep the air cleaner and the environment cleaner on campus.
New construction projects on campus give the college the opportunity to install new conservation technology. These technologies such as high efficiency motors, T8 and T5 lighting, occupancy sensors, high efficiency HVAC systems, CO2 make up air control, low E window glass, variable volume air handling systems, and air filtration systems for select uses to reduce exhaust air needed. Other building renovations are currently on going. The renovations and new projects have conservation technologies being installed. The technologies include duel -flush operators on toilets. These are being installed in residence halls and will help to increase water efficiency. The toilets flush by the operator going up or down, the direction tells the toilet how much water is need to flush. Other technologies include possible reusing of grey water or rain water for non-potable or sewage conveyance and maximizing the use of existing spaces or structures on campus. This saves them from having to build new buildings and destroy the environment and land on campus.
Recycling at Elizabethtown
To manage the solid waste stream of the college, recycling and other forms of getting rid of waste are very important to the college. Recycling on campus is very big, with recycling bins everywhere on campus. The college is always look to expand the recycling program and needs everyone to participate and support the program. Elizabethtown College entered a national competition called Recyclemania; the competition hopes to bring increased awareness to campus recycling. Measurement to figure out who is winning the competition is amount of material recycled divided by the number of people on campus, the numbers are collected weekly. Most of the college's waste goes through York Waste. Anything that cannot be recycled by York is sent elsewhere to be either recycled or disposed of properly. The amount of sanitary waste generated has increased over the past couple of years. Many of the recyclable materials are collected in bins or barrels and when they are full a company will come and take the full container and bring and empty one to fill. The numbers in parenthesis is the amount of the material recycled in 2012.
Commingle (54. 90 tons)
Commingled material includes materials like cans, glass, aluminum cans, and plastic containers. These materials are numbered #1-#7.
Paper and Cardboard (41.86 tons)
The college collects almost all types of paper and cardboard to be recycled. This included white paper, colored paper, magazines, newspapers, books, and cardboard. The only cardboard and paper not accepted is the materials that have a wax coating.
Bishop Associates is a company that recycles waste that can be harmful to the environment including antifreeze (216 lb.), lead acid batteries (720 lb.), alkaline, lithium, and any other type of battery, fluorescent light bulbs (807 lb.), hazardous waste, paint and other paint related materials including paint thinner. Not all the lights are recyclable, but the college tries to use ones that are. Lighting companies have made efforts to make lights more energy efficient and recyclable. Being able to tell the lighting tube is recyclable is as easy as looking at the end cap of the tube. If the end is green it is recyclable, if it is silver it is not.
Electronics are taken by LCSWMA, the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. This includes computer systems (3,500 lb.), consumer electronics (2000 lb.), water heaters, propane tanks, and HVAC equipment.
Other recycled materials include
Mixed metals and other scrap metal (16,300 lb.)
In 2012, 60 tons of food waste were sent to Brubaker Farms to be processed into energy.
Wood Waste (1 ton)
Yard and Leaf Waste (61,000 lb.) are collected, shredded, and reused if possible.
Asphalt (386.33 tons), construction and Demolition materials including concrete (448.90 tons). Some of these numbers are inflated because of a project done on campus during 2012.
Elizabethtown college is always looking to improve their technology and make the campus as efficient as they can. Any new green technology will be looked at and it will be determined if they product will help the campus and its mission to be green. The sustainability efforts are a very big part of the college and will continue to be in the future.
Other Area College Efforts
Lebanon Valley College
While the efforts of Lebanon Valley are not as great as Elizabethtown they are still making efforts to be sustainable and educating their students in the process. A program called the Sustainability Task Force was started during 2008-2009 school year. The groups goal is reduce the carbon footprint of the LVC campus as best they can. During the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school year, the task force tried to improve programs already in place on campus. Programs include recycling, monitoring of buildings and green building techniques, grounds, energy use, and transportation.
Outside of the task force, the college has developed extra curricular activities and curriculum classes related to climate change and sustainability. Climate neutrality and sustainability are being looked at as other classes that may be offered. These classes are available to all students, not just ones in certain majors. When building new buildings or renovating campus the college is putting in conservation technology like duel-flush toilets and lighting sensors.
The college really encourages students and faculty to get involved. Every year the college celebrates Earth Day and plants new trees all over campus. The amount of faculty participating in the sustainability efforts is large and they are from departments all over campus. Even the dining hall staff and management is involved in sustainability efforts. Dining Services uses green to-go containers, recyclable plastic cups, and anytime there is any outdoor meal green, recyclable plates and utensils are used. The campus has made a huge effort over the last couple of years to make the campus green, sustainable, and will continue to try to keep its impact on the environment to a minimum.
Elizabethtown College and Lebanon Valley College are similar, but also very different in their sustainability efforts. Both are great examples on how college campus' can be sustainable and get everyone involved from students to faculty.
Albright College's sustainability efforts are as in depth as Elizabethtown College's. Everyone on campus participates and the College as a whole is committed to protecting the environment and being a sustainable establishment.
The college has and extensive recycling program including paper, wood, newspaper, plastic, aluminum, steel, cardboard, and glass. Car materials such as antifreeze and motor oil are reprocessed following EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) guidelines. The frying oil from Food Service and their dining facilities is reused as heating oil Other special materials are recycled like stone and other materials used for building. The College has even recycled 95 percent of a building that was torn down on campus.
Recycled material is also used in signage around campus, carpet tile, which is sent back to the factory after being worn down rather than thrown out, other flooring material, the material is 45 percent post consumer recycled fiber, paper products, and Food Service paper products that are 100 percent compostable.
The College uses Green Seal Certified cleaning products. These products are made of less volatile organic compounds. This lets them be less toxic to the environment and people around them. The solutions are citric acid and hydrogen peroxide based. In Food Service mopping and wiping is done with microfiber technology which reduces the usage of the cleaning solutions, the use Green Chemicals APEX for all washing of dishes and rinsing agents. Food Service saves the amount of water use by reducing the run time on the dishwasher by two hours a day.
Their new Science building is environmentally friendly and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certified. Like Elizabethtown, Albright have installed motion sensors in certain locations and are using T8 lamps instead of T12 lamps. The College is currently in the process of getting rid of older heating and cooling equipment and replacing it with newer, energy efficient systems. The campus has a system, the Energy Management Controls System, that monitors and setting of temperatures in rooms, this allows temperatures to be lower and reduce the amount of energy consumed by heating and cooling. In the bathrooms, normal toilets are being replaced with ones that have water-saving sensors.
On the grounds of the college, green is everywhere. The grass clippings and mulch are reused as feed for turf. The equipment with small engines used to maintain the grass and landscape are all low emission engines when possible. Landscapes like conservative drip irrigation systems and drought tolerant plant selection, have been put in place to reduce water, maintenance, and nutrient needs. Some not used areas even have a few more weeds in areas to keep healthy areas of landscaping. All chemicals, landscape materials, and herbicides are gotten rid of following EPA guidelines.
Bees hives that are found around campus are relocated to protect them. Other management watch other pests and diseases. With being watched the team does not need to apply pesticides and herbicides as often. Litter and other materials around campus are removed daily to keep down the number of rodent and pest control programs down.
In Food Service there are no trays on campus, which reduces dishes needing to be washed by the dishwasher, they use local companies, the equipment in the kitchen is more energy efficient and they cook with less gas. The coffee grounds from the College's coffee bar are reused in the herb garden on campus to help fertilize the garden. Food Service is trying to minimize food waste. They watch how much food is given out and how much food they get out of a batch of the product.
There is an Environmental Campus Club (ECO) on campus. It is run by students and their goal is to make other students and the community around Albright to environmental issues in our world.
Local colleges all have efforts to be more sustainable, many are the same, but each has their own individual effort. Looking at these gives us hope towards the future and what students are learning what it takes to perserve the environment. Hopefully the efforts will continue and develop with future technology and knowledge.