Here is a quick list of some new and ongoing sustainability initiatives at Columbia.
For more information on What We Are Doing, take a look at the goals and actions our Green Teams have listed.
Green House Gas Inventory (FY12)
In 2013 we conducted an update to our FY10 baseline Green House Gas inventory. We followed the same guidelines as in our baseline. New to the FY12 was the inclusion of solid waste (composting efforts) and purchased paper. We used the new Clean Air Cool Planet Carbon Map online calculator and the last version of the CACP spreadsheet tool. View the report here.
Water Conservation on Campus
Building Services Engineers installed Water Bottle Refilling Stations on campus. The units promote reuse, waste reduction and water conversation. See locations of water stations here.
Water conservation measures are also on campus in department offices for faculty and staff use.
Administrative Services manages the contract for office X-stream water filtration units. These units have replaced the need for office bottled water delivery services.
Columbia’s first constructed building, the LEED Gold-Certified Media Production Center, is a shining example of functional innovation and sustainability. It was built on a formerly environmentally contaminated site that was cleaned in advance of construction.
The college conducted a LEED-EB project for the 5th floor at our location 33 E. Congress location.
These LEED projects met the certification checklist by including low-flow toilets, hand sensors on sinks, use of natural lighting, low VOC paint and carpeting, and placement of recycling bins.
The college believes in the ideals of efficient construction. All other campus construction projects use the LEED certification checklist even if not applying for LEED certification.
There are two campus green roofs covering more than 20,000 square feet. Roofs are located at 33 E. Congress and 1600 S. State St. The green roofs contain plants in the sedum family. The benefits of having a green roof include reducing the urban heat island effect which absorbs solar heat adding to less internal cooling. The roofs also absorb carbon from the atmosphere and reduce storm water runoff.
Columbia also has a Native Sculpture Garden located at 11th Street and Wabash. Native plants are great for maintaining a balanced ecosystem and are more likely to thrive under local environmental conditions. The college’s Sustainability Green Space Coordinator manages this space and uses environmentally friend pest control methods and energy efficient equipment such as a battery powered weed trimmer and a manually powered mower.
An example of sustainable collaboration can be seen in the Paper Maker’s Garden. The garden was unveiled in the spring of 2011 on a vacant lot at the center of campus. Columbia’s students receive hands-on education in the entire process of planting, growing, managing, collecting, and utilizing plant fibers. This garden allows them to engage with environmental concerns, such as how green spaces reduce air pollution, air temperature, and urban runoff, as well as interdisciplinary artistic practices that address science, art, and the environment. This multi departmental project between the Office of Campus Environment, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Interdisciplinary Arts Department, the Center for Book and Paper Arts, and Pulp Ink and Thread (PIT), and the Book and Paper graduate student organization is an exemplary model for how cross departmental collaborations can shape our curriculum.
The College also has a significantly reduced need for a campus fleet. There are six campus owned vehicles including the Office of Campus Environment's E-85 van for Facilities usage. On top of that, Campus Environment's office of Safety and Security leases only two vehicles (one being a Hybrid). Safety and Security patrols also use electric Segway vehicles and bicycles. Campus vehicles have a very low impact on our institution’s carbon footprint.
Server Virtualization Project
Columbia's IT department's largest reduction effort to date has been their 5 year plan to virtualize all Information Technology managed servers on campus. As of 2012, two-thirds of IT servers have been switched to virtual servers. Once complete, IT servers will be 95% virtualized with only a few physical "worker" servers remaining. These results will lead to a reduction in electric from running the equipment to the HVAC needed to cool the equipment.
In early 2012 we received a food scrap grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to expand our pilot compost program. The program services all cafe areas, faculty and staff offices and select student lounges. Composting is available on request for special event clean up.