Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables

A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.

Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits

A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.

Cornell U Unveils Sustainable Landscapes Trail

The trail includes 20 stops that have sustainability features, including bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, a climate change garden, stormwater control design, native plantings and pollinator habitat. Markers and an online walking map highlight how design, construction and the management of campus grounds can enhance and promote healthy landscape ecosystems.

Princeton U Dining Diversifies Food & Reduces Plastic Use

The culinary team spent the summer reworking all the menus in the Frist Food Gallery with the goal of including healthier, globally diverse menu options. Plastic water bottles were replaced by refillable cups, glass bottles and several types of carton water. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags, now available by request. Silverware were moved to a more prominent position and for to-go orders, plant-based utensils are given. Paper and plastic straws are now available at the cashier stations upon request.

Six New York City Universities Work to Reduce Water Use

The New York City Water Challenge to Universities was recently announced by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. As part of the challenge, the participating universities will work to reduce their campus-wide average water consumption by 5 percent, which would be a savings of approximately 1.3 million gallons of water per month. The participating universities are Fordham University; Long Island University, Brooklyn campus; Pace University; St. John’s University; The New School; and Weill Cornell Medical.

Southern Illinois U Carbondale Debuts Water Refill Station for Outdoor Events

Designed and built by employees from the Plant and Service Operations plumbing shop, the Water Dawg refill stations provide potable water, reducing the need to provide bottled water at outdoor events.

U California Irvine Starts Recycling 80M Gallons of Water

The university recently celebrated the conversion of its Central Plant, which has been retrofitted to use recycled water for cooling campus buildings. The use of treated recycled water in cooling 65 buildings will save more than 80 million gallons of drinking water annually. This will help the university achieve its goal to reduce per capita drinkable water use by 50 percent by 2025.

U Utah Receives LEED Gold on Student Innovation Space

The university's Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a five-story, 160,000-square-foot building that opened in 2016. The building features low-flow water fixtures, 100 percent LED lighting throughout and 21.2 percent of the building materials contain recycled content. The site uses water-efficient landscaping through limited sod and drought tolerant plants, and provides easy access to alternative modes of transportation.

Drake U Receives Two GBI Green Globes on Two Buildings

The university recently announced that it earned a rating of Two Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for the construction of its newest academic buildings, the Science Connector Building and Collier-Scripps Hall. The two buildings feature a white roof to promote indoor cooling, energy-efficient windows and lighting, increased amounts of insulation in the roof and walls, and low flow water fixtures. The sites include drought-tolerant landscaping and easy access to public transportation and rental bicycles.

7 Universities Receive Energy Dept Funding for Solar-Thermal Desalination Research

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $21 million for 14 projects, of which $11.4 million went to seven universities. The projects will focus on reducing the cost of solar-thermal desalination and helping the technology to reach new markets, including to areas that are not connected to the electric grid. The seven schools selected and funding allocated were Columbia University ($1 million); Oregon State University ($2 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($2 million); University of California Merced ($1.1 million); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($1.6 million); University of North Dakota ($2 million); and Rice University ($1.7 million).

Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'

During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.

Emory U WaterHub Receives Innovation Award

Given to the university for its wastewater reclamation and reuse system, the 2018 IDEA Innovation Award is an annual competition by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) intended to recognize energy and water savings. To date, using an ecological treatment process to clean wastewater, Emory's WaterHub has displaced over 160 million gallons of municipally supplied potable water with reclaimed water. It also provides opportunities for research and education.

U Michigan Grants Target Sustainability Challenges in Puerto Rico & Michigan

The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded more than $200,000 to support three sustainability-related research projects in Puerto Rico and Michigan. The projects vary in scale and address energy and food system resilience in Puerto Rico, stormwater management on tribal lands in Michigan, and plans for a green energy village in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Texas A&M International U to Save $15M Through Energy Efficiency Project

The university recently announced it has started construction on a $9.7 million, comprehensive campus-wide energy-efficiency project that will streamline facility operations and encourage sustainable behavior. The energy savings performance contract guarantees nearly $15 million in energy savings over the life of the project. Savings will come from improving the university’s irrigation system, interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades with occupancy sensors and automated dimming controls, and utility meter upgrades with user-friendly energy dashboards. Construction is underway and expected to be complete by fall 2019.

Bentley U Arena Earns LEED Platinum

The recently opened, 76,000-square-foot arena features a 504 kilowatt solar array that will generate 40 percent of the building's annual electricity needs, natural light that decreases the amount of electricity needed to light the building’s interior, high-efficiency LED lighting with smart, motion-detecting controls, and waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers. Additionally, at least 50 percent of wood used in the building is sourced from forests with certified sustainable forestry practices, about 10 percent of construction and finish materials were locally sourced, and about 20 percent of construction and finish materials contain recycled content.

U Richmond to Enlist Goats for Invasive Species Removal

Part of a four-part eco-corridor project, the goats will be used for 12 weeks to help remove invasive species. The full project includes the removal of invasive species, stormwater management, stream restoration and the construction of a multi-use recreational trail.

EPA Announces Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received first place in the Demonstration Project Category for integrating a variety of green infrastructure practices into a campus parking lot, while the University of New Mexico received second place. The University of California, Berkeley earned first place in the Master Plan Category for its commitment and vision in stormwater management, while the University of Maryland, College Park earned second place. The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.

U Washington Installs Solar Fins for Shade & Power Generation

In an effort to reduce heat gain and use renewable energy in the university's Life Sciences Building, the building, which is still under construction, will feature vertical glass fins that include embedded photovoltaic cells along the south side of the building.

McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus

On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.

North Carolina State U Tests Water Quality With Floating Islands

A faculty member and a student in biological and agricultural engineering recently installed floating islands of plants at an on-campus research site to evaluate whether the islands can improve stormwater quality. A temporary vinyl barrier divides the pond into a control side and an experimental side with water quality sensors providing continuous, multi-point data as water enters and exits the pond.

Purdue U Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's Honors College and Residences building features high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation equipment and water saving shower and faucet fixtures.

U Puerto Rico Partners to Deliver Clean Water

The university recently partnered with two organizations to provide continuous, clean water and power to some of those affected by the hurricanes this fall. A solar-powered system will provide long-term benefits to the local people while being used as a teaching instrument for the engineering students at the university campus.

U Michigan Building Receives LEED Gold

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business' Kresge renovation and Jeff T. Blau Hall project has received LEED Gold certification. The project includes energy and water conservation measures such as occupancy sensors for lighting control, energy-efficient light fixtures, the incorporation of natural daylight and low-flow bathroom fixtures. Energy measures are expected to allow for energy savings of an estimated 30 percent.

Monroe CC Installs Green Roofs

The 22,000 square feet of newly installed green roof on the college's Downtown Campus is capable of capturing 13,000 gallons of rainwater during a single rain event. It will also decrease the urban heat island effect and reduce electricity usage needed to cool and heat the campus.

ACEEE Launches 'Shrink Your Dorm Print' Campaign

In preparation for the 2017-18 school year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released the Shrink Your Dorm Print campaign, which offers a tip sheet and shopping guide for students interested in reducing their carbon footprint.

U Kentucky Scores LEED Gold on Academic Building

The building utilizes water-efficient plumbing fixtures, which reduce water use by 42 percent compared to a baseline model, and is 26 percent more energy efficient than the baseline model. More than 40 percent of materials used in the renovation were regional and all adhesives, sealants, paints, composite woods, sealers and floor systems are low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting materials.

Nottingham U Building Achieves BREEAM Outstanding & LEED Platinum Designations

(U.K.): The university's new GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry building, partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, features minimal energy use, utilization of natural ventilation, wind catchers, a water leak detection system and sustainable drainage systems to deliver energy and water reductions. A green roof featuring drought-tolerant native species is also installed. Excess energy generated by the building during its lifespan will offset all the carbon associated with its construction, allowing it to reach carbon-neutral status.

Rhode Island College Partners to Reduce Energy Consumption

The college selected Ameresco to renew and upgrade campus energy infrastructure and to institute energy efficiency and water conservation measures at the college. The $5 million Energy Savings Performance Contract project is expected to save the college more than $340,000 in avoided energy costs annually for the next 15 years.

North Carolina State U Installs System to Reclaim Water

A new reclaimed water system designed by NC State Energy Management and a Utilities and Engineering student intern collects the unused water from the Cates Utility Plant and reroutes that water for use in the facility’s cooling towers, which uses more than 20 million gallons of water annually to cool refrigerant in the facility’s chillers. The new system is anticipated to reduce water costs by about $6,000 annually and achieving a full return on investment in less than 18 months.

U Nebraska Medical Center Sets 2030 Carbon Neutrality Goal

Over the next 13 years, a new set of goals calls for the university and its partner, Nebraska Medicine, to become carbon neutral, with all the energy they use coming from renewable resources produced either on or off campus. The goals also call for reducing waste to zero and using less water than what falls on the main campus during an average year, about 104 million gallons.

U Florida Launches Public Water Quality Website

The UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences launched a new website to teach Florida residents how to preserve and protect the state’s quality of water. The site is targeted at different roles of people regarding how to be more efficient with their water usage. Topics include water use in agriculture involving irrigation and fertilizers, water use in nature, like aquifers and wetlands, and how homeowners and builders use water in urban settings.

Three Georgia Universities Address State Water Crisis

Open to students at Emory, University of Georgia and Georgia State University, the recently concluded Sustainability Case Competition asked participants to create a five-year plan to mitigate Georgia's water crisis, taking water conservation, distribution, resilience and impact on community stakeholders into account. The winning team has chance to work with the Department of Watershed Management on implementing their five-year plan, and all participants have the opportunity to intern.

Northern Arizona U Building Earns LEED Gold

The university's Aquatic and Tennis Complex features recycled material use, such as steel, carpet and acoustical tiles, the use of native and climate-adapted plants, high-efficiency lamp sources and daylighting, and water-efficient fixtures and water bottle/drinking fountain stations.

Auburn U Implements Water Restrictions Due to Drought

Due to extreme drought conditions, the university has reduced landscaping irrigation across campus, and will reduce irrigation on athletic and recreation fields at season's end, and has discontinued vehicle washing and pressure washing of paved surfaces except for health and safety concerns, and rescheduled routine cooling tower preventative maintenance at chilled water plants.

Architectural Record Covers Campus Sustainable Development

In the November 2016 issue, Architectural Record centered around design and development of the built environment on campuses across the U.S, with a spotlight on three schools. The issue highlighted Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus, a full-cycle water reclamation, net-­positive energy production and zero-waste operations campus, Hampshire College's R.W. Kern Center, a building constructed to meet the Living Building Challenge guidelines, and Cornell University’s 352-unit, 26-story tower high-rise designed to Passive House standards (set to open 2017).

North Carolina State U Energy Competition Yields $12K in Avoided Utility Costs

Throughout October, a student-led energy and water challenge between 1,100 residents of three dorms resulted in $12,000 of avoided energy and water costs. The three residence halls are nearly identical in size and each have their own utility meters, which made for an ideal competition.

Randolph College Building Receives LEED Silver Certification

The 108-year-old residence hall now includes a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, high efficiency faucets and toilets, access to public transportation, low-emitting materials and energy efficient light controls.

North Carolina State U Reaches State-Mandated Energy & Water Goal

Despite a more than 50 percent increase in campus square footage, the university reduced campus energy use by 33 percent and water use by 50 percent per gross square-foot, as indicated by a piece of legislation that became law in 2007. The legislation calls for a 30 percent reduction in energy use per gross square foot from the 2003 baseline and a 50 percent reduction in water use per gross square foot from the 2002 baseline.

U Iowa to Launch Water Sustainability Graduate Program with $3M Grant

The university has received a five-year, $3 million National Science Foundation Research Traineeship grant that will be used to develop a Sustainable Water Development graduate program. With a planned launch of fall 2017, the program will train about 50 master's and doctoral students to address water, food and energy challenges facing resource-limited communities.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Three Zeros Initiative

The university's new Three Zeros Initiative strives to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality, water neutrality and zero waste by addressing individual behaviors, teaching and how the campus can model new, innovative approaches while having a global impact. Three Zeros stemmed from the new Sustainability Plan, which is the university's framework for examining campus-wide sustainability efforts and identifying ways to integrate them into teaching, research and engagement activities.

U California Berkeley Enters $4M Partnership with Brita

The 10-year, $4 million partnership beginning in the 2016-17 academic year bolsters the university's Refills not Landfills program, an effort to encourage students and the campus community to drink from reusable containers. The partnership includes distribution of Brita products, monetary support to departments and an on-campus Brita filter-recycling program.

U Utah Building Achieves LEED Platinum

The one-year old building features a 65 percent reduction in energy costs through structural design and passive solar orientation, solar power generation, natural light, recycling and re-using grey water to flush toilets, and a focus on energy efficiency.

Butler U Building Supports LEED Gold

A $34 million renovation of the university's Hinkle Fieldhouse includes new roof with a white cap sheet that reflects sunlight, bicycle storage and changing rooms, low-flow water fixtures and a two-year contract to purchase at least 35 percent of the building’s electricity from renewable sources.

Cornell U & Ithaca College Announce Water Restrictions Due to Drought

As a result of a prolonged period of low rainfall, Cornell announced that in order to supply water to maintain its mission-critical operations, the community must work together to decrease overall water use on campus by at least 30 percent as soon as possible. In the same vein, Ithaca College is taking proactive steps to reduce water usage, and asking members of the campus community to consider ways they can lessen individual water consumption.

Michigan State U Implements Campus-Wide Tobacco Ban

The campus-wide ban on the use of tobacco products, to begin mid-August, is part of an ongoing effort to ensure the community can enjoy the healthiest campus possible, which includes not only immediate physical health of humans, but the health of waterways. Cigarette butts release pollutants into the ecosystem as they break down.

U Colorado Boulder Athletics Restores 11M Gallons Water to Colorado River

In an effort to balance the 12 million gallons of water CU Athletics uses, its Water for the West campaign has restored 11 million gallons of water back to the Colorado River Basin by committing to restore 1,000 gallons for each person that pledges to eat less meat, buy less stuff, recycle more and generally use less water. Water for the West is part of a nationwide campaign called Change the Course that's restored over 5 billion gallons of water to depleted rivers.

U California Merced Installs Hydrogel Into Soil

In an effort to conserve water and maintain an attractive landscape, the university uses a hydrogel system, which acts as a water and nutrient reservoir, allowing water to be released slowly into the soil and roots.

U Texas Austin & Huston-Tillotson U Win College Sports Sustainability Contest

The University of Texas at Austin and Huston-Tillotson University were announced as the two inaugural winners of the College Sports Sustainability Makeover Contest at the Green Sports Alliance Summit. Designed to highlight college athletics' ability to influence fan sustainability behavior and boost college sports sustainability, the winners will receive a prize package valued at $50,000.

Emory U to Launch $1.5M Sustainability Revolving Fund

The soon-to-launch $1.5 million, self-replenishing program will be used to fund capital-intensive energy and water efficiency projects. Made possible by a $500,000 grant from The Kendeda Fund and matched with $1 million from the university, Emory also joins the Billion Dollar Green Challenge led by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

Michigan State U Water Research Reveals Campus Behavior

A recent survey of students, faculty and staff revealed that 37 percent prefer tap water while 36.6 percent prefer bottled water, 39 percent use filtered water stations, and 90 percent understand that bottled water has a higher environmental and economic cost than tap water. These insights will be used to help improve recycling programs and create awareness of refill stations across campus.