Dr. J's Message for the week of April 22, 2012
It's Earth Day. Be kind to your Mother Earth.
There are so many exciting environmentally friendly things going on around campus, and I want to share some of them with you.
I am especially proud of Kennedy Commons, which has received the highly coveted Silver rating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program administered by the U. S. Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate development of more sustainable buildings. Sustainability was built into nearly every aspect of the building.
Kennedy Commons received LEED points in many areas:
- The original exterior from 1955 was retained in order to preserve the historic exterior of the building as well as minimize construction debris.
- Over 75% of the construction waste that was removed from the building during renovation was recycled and diverted from the landfill.
- The finished building uses low VOC (volatile organic compounds) building materials, nearly 20% recycled content, energy efficient lighting, water efficient landscape, and plumbing fixtures which reduce water usage.
- Much of the existing furniture was refurbished and re-used in the dining and commons areas.
- After dishes are returned, food waste is captured in a pulper which breaks down the organic material which is shipped to an off-site anaerobic digestion system and converted to biogas used to produce energy. This system reduces waste by up to 88% in volume.
Kennedy Commons is the fourth building on Ohio State's Columbus campus to receive the prestigious LEED certification; the first was the Ohio 4-H Building in 2008 followed by the Ohio Union and Student Academic Services (SAS) buildings in 2010.
Ohio State is committed to reducing on and off-campus building energy consumption by at least 20% by 2014. This will not be easy, but a plan (opens pdf) is in place. All of us play a key role in helping do our part in conserving our natural resources. For example, if you live in a residence hall you've probably seen the message to set your thermostat to 72-76 degrees in summer and 68-72 in winter. Every step we take to reduce energy use has the potential to make a significant impact.
Ohio State students are also taking the lead in green projects. Several groups have won grant money from Coca-Cola for supporting the university's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, conserve resources, and promote sustainability. The recent winners are:
- OSU Ecological Engineering Society, for creation of the "Wexner Chef's Garden" to provide the Heirloom Café with local, sustainably grown fare, and serve as an educational tool for the campus community on sustainable urban agricultural practices and interactive exhibition of culinary arts.
- Buckeye Bike Mobile, a mobile bike repair station staffed by Bike OSU members, and supported by the Undergraduate Student Government, to assist bike riders in need of maintenance and to promote bike safety, fossil fuel-free transportation, and health.
- Project Smart Strip Savings, a project designed to examine savings from the use of smart power strips. The strips willshut down power to computers and peripherals when a computer is turned off, eliminating unnecessary electricity drains when the devices are not in use. The project includes both a pilot study in Drinko Hall to assess energy and cost savings and an education publicity campaign to inform students of the unnecessary waste of standby power.
You, too, can make a difference by your everyday actions. I encourage you to consider the impact of everything you do. Mother Earth, and all the residents of the planet, appreciate it.
Javaune Adams-Gaston, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life