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'Being green' is easy at Sac State

10-18-2012

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Sacramento State’s colors of green and gold are altogether fitting because they reflect the University’s commitment to an environmentally clean and sustainable campus. A case in point is Energy Conservation Day, which will be commemorated all day Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Library Quad. This free event will show students how they can save money by becoming more energy-efficient.

Sustainability

Maintaining and enhancing a sustainable campus is a Sac State priority. It begins with implementing sustainability systems such as the Smart Grid energy management and control system (EMCS), which is funded by the Department of Energy; the University is a sub-recipient through SMUD. Campus construction projects are carefully monitored to ensure they’re completed in accordance with environmental best practices.

And the campus’s green campaign is proceeding apace.

Solar panel installations atop The WELL and the University Library are visible from Highway 50. This extensive network of energy savers is testimony to Sac State’s commitment to help harness the sun’s power for long-range cost savings. These two installations produce more than 700,000 kilowatt-hours annually. Future solar sites could include parking structures, the American River Courtyard, the University Union and Folsom Hall.

Sacramento State recycling coordinator Joey Martinez says roughly 80 percent of campus waste has been diverted from area landfills, well in advance of the state of California’s mandate. “Sac State is well ahead of the recycling curve,” he says, “and we intend to stay that way.”

Olga Rosander, from Housing and Residential Life, reports more than $86,000 in savings was realized by Housing’s diversion of 17,000 pounds of materials from the landfill last year. Some 2,000 pounds of clothing alone were reclaimed during Move-Out Day last spring.

Sac State has several more projects in the offing. They include installing a food waste composter and a water bottle refill station, and poster and YouTube video contests to promote student involvement/awareness in sustainability.

University Transportation and Parking Services is doing its part. Carpooling has increased 18 percent over the past year. Shuttle-bus ridership is up 17 percent, and the Hornet Line is humming with a 200 percent hike in passengers.

Michael Christensen of Risk Management says campus biodiesel production is percolating. About 350 pounds of kitchen grease will be converted each month, and some students are doing videos about the conversion process.

Dining Services’ strategic goal is sustainability squared. Campus eateries strive to use locally grown food. The use of environmentally friendly paper products has saved countless trees. Reductions in chemicals and utility costs have translated to a 13 percent drop in food costs. Sustainability suffused the recent campus dining renovation, including energy-efficient lighting upgrades and better use of natural lighting.

“Sustainability is not only the right thing to do, it makes good business sense,” says Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, Sacramento State’s vice president of Administration and Business Affairs, and chief financial officer. “Good resource management supports long-term viability and integrity, whether we are referring to the University’s physical plant, its financial assets or its human resources. Instilling sustainability practices into all levels of our processes will not only result in the consumption of fewer resources but can result in cost savings and improved services.”

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

– Alan Miller
amiller@csus.edu