Sustainability on VSU Campus
- All condensate from dehumidifiers and air conditioners is now collected in tanks and used to water planters around campus (where irrigation is not possible). This is currently only in place in Langdale.
- Recycling containers located inside res halls (for paper) and near the exterior of every building (for glass, plastic, aluminum).
- Once a semester, students can donate unwanted items to Goodwill via bins in the lobbies rather than throwing those items away.
- I'll have to confirm with Jim, but I believe most or all chemicals used to clean are "green"/environmentally friendly.
- Whenever possible, we work with a recycling center to dispose of mattresses rather than taking them to the landfill. Robinson recycling handles broken steel bed spring assemblies.
- Our evolution to electronic PI's and room inspections will dramatically decrease paper usage.
Parking & Transportation
- Recycle paper and make note pads
- Cardboard is recycled for painting purposes
- Recycling containers in our office (both metal and paper)
- Carpool in our vehicles and try to keep only one car out at a time to limit gas consumption
- Use automotive cart regularly (when not cold) which reduces gas consumption.
- Shredding paper for re-cycling.
- Recycling cans & plastic.
- The bookstore uses all shredded documents as packing material.
- All ink cartridges from printers and copiers are shipped to recycling facilities using labels provided by cartridge vendors.
- All cardboard used by the bookstore and union building is baled by bookstore staff and collected by a recycling facility.
- Bubble wrap and packing materials in incoming shipments are reused in outgoing shipments.
- Old editions of textbooks with no buyback value are collected during buyback from students and shipped to Bridge to Asia for use in foreign counties.
- Recycling (paper and printer/toner cartridges – when possible)
- Building designed to LEED standards.
- Recycle Card Board, Palms, Hopper, Catering, Student Union and Library
- Recycle plastics at the library
- Recycle used grease in all locations
- Tray less in both resident dining halls
- Project clean plate in Palms
- Certified Humane Cage free eggs in all units
- Purchase produce locally
- RBGH free milk and yogurts
- We purchase tomatoes that were grown in FL and pay a 1.5 cents more per lb to support the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers
- We serve grass fed beef
- Purchase Social and ecological certified coffee products
- Purchase poultry products without the routine use of human antibiotics
- We purchase and support the need for sustainable oceans by purchasing products recommended by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program
- Adaptation of ways and/or technology to lessen the use of paper and other office materials, especially in the form of key requests/receipts and hard-copy filing system.
- Reduced use of aerosol type lubricants
- All brass and other metals are recycled.
- Transitioning to electronic locks reducing the need for metal keys.
Environmental and Occupational Safety
- Recycling pickups through Physical Plant
- Water Conservation through utilization of reduced flow replacement items by Physical Plant
- Recycling Subcommittee of the Environmental Issues Committee
- Energy Conservation Subcommittee of the Environmental Issues Committee
- Signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment
Physical Plant oversees the university recycling program. Physical Plant has employees that collect paper, plastic, metal and glass. The recyclables are accumulated south of campus where the City of Valdosta picks them up and includes them in their recycling program
Interior lighting represents approximately 29% of the energy consumed in the commercial building each year.
- Interior lights have been changed from fluorescent T-12 Bulbs to fluorescent T-8 bulbs with electronic ballasts across campus. The T-8 bulbs save up to 35% of the energy used for a standard T-12, they operate more quietly, they generate less heat--reducing cooling loads, and have lower maintenance costs.
- Motion sensors. VSU has installed motion sensors in most classrooms on campus to turn off lighting when rooms are unoccupied
- LED lighting: VSU has several pilot projects with LED lights. Exterior lights at the Education Center have been replaced with LED retrofit lights. LED light fixtures were placed in the existing light fixtures to test the longevity of the fixtures. New LED lights have been installed in a parking lot on Georgia Avenue and a parking lot at the Social Justice Office. VSU replace hallway lighting in one corridor of Nevins Hall.
Air Conditioning Improvements
Replaced outdated cooling systems with more efficient units at PE Complex, Education Center, Odum Library, Pound and Thaxton Halls.
Holiday Building Turndown: VSU programs the heating and cooling systems in selected buildings to maintain minimum temperature setting during Holidays while still protecting building contents. During the 2012 winter break the turndown program saved almost 450,000 kw of electricity and approximately $35,000.
VSU replaced aging roofs with highly reflective roofing. These roofs on Fine Arts, Odum Library, and the Education Center significantly reduces heat gain from the summer sun.
A high solar reflectance is the most important characteristic of a cool roof as it helps to reflect sunlight and heat away from a building, reducing roof temperatures. A high thermal emittance also plays a role, particularly in climates that are warm and sunny. Together, these properties help roofs to absorb less heat and stay up to 50–60°F (28–33°C) cooler than conventional materials during peak summer weather. (US EPA)
- The majority of the water used for landscaping comes from wells. There is no energy used in treating the water. VSU installed a condensation collection point last year. Water is collected from the air conditioning condensation and dehumidification systems in Langdale Hall. That water is used to water the flower beds on campus.
- VSU has replaced all the main water lines on main campus to eliminate leaking lines that waste water. VSU has also replaced the main sewer lines on main campus to eliminate any leaking lines or cross contamination with storm drainage systems.
- VSU has installed several storm drainage retention measures. At the Education Center and Bailey Science Center, underground storm retention systems hold rain water from roofs and allow it to slowly discharge into the storm drainage system. This helps reduce the surges of water in creeks near campus that can cause erosion.
- In several high use areas, VSU has installed low flow urinals that release a pint of water to wash a basin in lieu of the gallon of water used in standard urinals.
LEED Certified Building
While VSU has built buildings in the past to many of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, VSU did not seek LEED certification for new construction. The new Health Science and College of Business Building currently under construction on North Campus is not only built to LEED standards, but VSU will seek certification under the LEED system.
The design team integrated the following sustainable design components in the project:
- Building site orientation for optimum summer shading.
- Fully weatherized building envelope with insulated wall and roofing systems, and low emissivity insulated exterior windows.
- Air lock at primary entrances.
- Energy-efficient lighting systems and lighting controls to reduce energy use.
- Used low mercury lamps.
- Energy efficient HVAC systems. Overall energy use is reduced to 12% less than code.
- No environmentally damaging refrigerants in the mechanical systems.
- Design meeting or exceeding Owner-specified equipment efficiencies.
- Energy Management System (EMS) that is compatible with Owner’s existing system.
- Encouragement of low emission vehicles and carpooling.
- Reduction in storm water runoff and improvement in storm water treatment.
- White roof to reduce the heat island effect at the campus.
- Reduced irrigation of landscape by 50%
- Reduced water use by 30%.
- Recycled 75% of construction waste.
- Used new materials that have at least 20% recycled content.
- Used CO2 monitoring and demand control of outside air.
- Used materials with low VOC content.
- VSU green cleaning program.
Landscape and Grounds
- VSU composts all landscape waste. For many years VSU has taken all landscape waste to the county compost site. While we still take some landscape waste there, most of the trimmings on campus are chipped and used in the mulch beds on campus. All of the pine straw on campus is reused on campus, either under the trees where it falls, or in other planting beds around campus.
- Green space on campus: VSU specifically strives to preserve the natural beauty, open spaces, trees and plant life.
- The Pinetum at Odum Library was planned in 2008 with the intentions of bringing the native pine species of the Southeastern region of the United States to Valdosta State University for the education of its students and the citizens of Valdosta. Here the pines are thriving among older pines on the banks of One Mile Branch Creek. Each tree is identified with a number that can be accessed to retrieve information about the exact species of that pine. With the collaboration of staff and students, the trees on the University’s Campus can be understood, respected and interrelated to the historical importance of our campus.
- VSU’s commitment to healthy green infrastructure has garnered it national designation as a Tree Campus USA, making it one of eight universities in Georgia with this distinction. According to ArborDay.org, the Tree Campus USA program recognizes campuses that “effectively manage their campus trees; develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests; and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities center on campus, and community, forestry efforts.” The standards for Tree Campus USA designation include having a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, a service learning project, a tree program with dedicated annual expenditures and an annual observance of Arbor Day.
- In February, VSU hosts a joint Arbor Day Ceremony with the City of Valdosta.
- Lake Louise Biology Education Area: Recently completed board walk around Lake Louise provides biology faculty and student access to the nature area for classes and research.