Sustainable Centre: What Are We Doing?
For the past four decades and beyond, the Centre community has taken its environmental role seriously. Below are actions—current and past—that the College has taken to reduce its carbon footprint.
Current and Ongoing Efforts
• Centre currently uses Circon, a state-of-the-art energy management system, in 90% of all campus facilities to allow technicians to read and control the temperature in any building, as well as set schedules that reduce energy use.
• 75% of windows on campus are dual pane, which reduces heating and cooling waste. This percentage is rising consistently.
• All cooling systems on campus have been replaced by low-energy systems.
• All chillers on campus use CFC-free refrigerants. In addition, fountains on campus are winterized with biodegradable antifreeze, which can be more difficult to acquire but is much less destructive to the environment.
• The College is currently looking into replacing several standard light fixtures on campus with LED (light-emitting diode) Can Retro Fit lights, which use only 14 watts but produce the same lumens as a 150-watt bulb. Each LED unit would last 20 years.
• Each winter break, Centre reduces the temperature of the swimming pool in Boles Natatorium from 85 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and cuts the temperature of boilers in buildings back from 180 degrees, where applicable. Savings to the campus in energy use are valued at $8,000 over the three-week period.
• Facilities Management and Public Safety have replaced many gas-powered vehicles with electric golf carts.
• When toilets need to be replaced, it’s with models that use half the amount of water per flush.
• Mineral spirits, used to clean paintbrushes during annual touch-ups and new painting in campus buildings, are reused through a basic filtering process. A 55-gallon drum of mineral spirits will last two years before being disposed of using the proper agents.
• The Air Travel Mitigation Fund allows students and faculty to purchase carbon offsets, contributing money toward carbon-reducing initiatives that counterbalance emissions that cannot be reduced or avoided (such as those generated via plane rides to study-abroad locations). Students studying abroad are asked to contribute varying amounts based on the air miles they travel.
Smart Decisions Throughout the Decades
Centre becomes intentional about reducing energy usage in the early 1970s during the gas crisis, checking meters daily to lower consumption by 15 percent per month. Centre also steps down wattage of each campus light bulb by 25 percent.
Centre commits itself to purchasing recycled paper products exclusively, to this day using only paper towel and toilet paper products that are 100% recycled. Also, garbage bags used by the custodial staff must be high-density recycled plastic, a material that replaced polyethylene decades ago.
The College’s first energy audit came in 2002, evaluating Centre’s HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting energy consumption. Following the report, Centre replaced every incandescent light fixture in all rooms of the larger dorms on campus with 80-watt fluorescent lighting. Today, residence halls are equipped with compact flourescent bulbs never exceeding 18 watts in existing incandescent type fixtures.