The University of Rochester received a Silver Bicycle Friendly Award from The League of American Cyclists for promoting safe and accessible biking on campus. Rochester joins 193 Universities and colleges in this distinction, and has improved since receiving the Bronze Award in 2015. There is now a campus bicycle map that includes paths and repair stations, along with new bike safety and maintenance classes offered by Transportation and Parking Management in collaboration with Well-U.
As part of a five-year window replacement program, University Facilities and Services updated the windows in Harkness Hall during the Summer of 2018. The new windows, which meet the University’s standard Peerless Windows, offer a variety of benefits including energy and cost savings, protecting the building’s interior from sun damage, improved temperature control, and improved safety.
Campus environmental activism group Grassroots organized the 21st annual Earthfest, a week-long event designed to promote sustainability and celebrate Earth Day. This year’s highlights included a clothing exchange and an Open-mic event.
The University of Rochester was the National Diversion Champion of the annual GameDay Recycling challenge. Volunteers helped divert 91.71% of the waste from landfills during a home football game over Meliora Weekend. The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a national collegiate football waste reduction competition administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program
During the University’s 11th Annual E-Cycle Day, 30,156 lbs of electronic waste was collected- this is 3,000 more pounds than the previous year. Representatives from Sunnking Electronics Recycling Company, along with volunteers from Delta Upsilon Fraternity and University of Rochester Medical Center Facilities worked together to collect personal electronics, diverting the waste from landfills. This event promotes safely disposing of electronics, and prevents the leakage of toxic chemicals from electronics into the ground and water supply.
The University was awarded a $1 million grant for a new solar panel project by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority REV Campus Challenge. The university plans to install an integrated solar energy storage system on the roof of the Goergen Athletic Center. The energy generated by the new solar panels will feed into the University’s collective energy system, and will offset the energy of a planned office building on the South side of Hutchinson Hall.
The University of Rochester’s Dining Services won a Gold Award in Sustainable Procurement Practices at the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) annual national conference. Dining Services was honored for their commitment to serving local food in campus dining halls. Through their partnership with Headwater Food Hub, the amount of local food offered in dining operations increased from less than 50% to 62%.
The University of Rochester is now a Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN) member school. PLAN is a non-profit organization that offers environmental advising services to help colleges and universities reduce their waste. Anyone with a University of Rochester email account can access PLAN’s online resources to help with waste reduction.
University Facilities and Services sponsored the eighth annual Shred Fest, a day for students and employees to safely shred and recycle personal documents for free. The University partnered with Iron Mountain, a company that provides secure shredding services. This year’s Shred Fest was the most successful one thus far, with a total of 24,880 pounds of paper collected.
During the month of March, University Facilities and Services partnered with The Lions Eye Bank at Rochester to hold an eyeglass recycling program. Unwanted prescription and nonprescription glasses, sunglasses, and frames are cleaned, sorted and packaged by Lions Club volunteers, who then send the glasses to the Lions Club International. A total of 513 pairs of glasses were collected to be sent to those in need.
The University’s newest residential building, Genesee Hall, was awarded LEED Silver Certification from The U.S. Green Building Council. Genesee Hall has self-sustaining landscaping landscaping for efficient water usage and energy efficient fixtures. The building was also designed using sustainable materials, and 76% of the waste produced during on-site construction was recycled.
Earth may not be the first planet to deal with climate change and its effects on civilizations. University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank is part of a research team that developed a mathematical model used to determine what happens to possible alien civilizations in the event of climate catastrophe. This model will help researchers understand what might happen here on Earth, and how to cope with these possible outcomes.
New research has changed the way scientists think about the nitrogen cycle. A study by University of Rochester Professor of Earth and environmental sciences, Thomas Weber, shows that nitrogen loss occurs in more areas of the ocean than previously thought. The study led to the development of a new computer model which better shows how the nitrogen cycle is affected by changing levels of oxygen in the ocean due to warming waters.
The World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) annual Earth Hour encourages everyone from individuals to national monuments to turn off their lights to raise awareness of light pollution and climate change. During the University’s third year of participating, the non-essential lights of the Wilson Commons porch, Hirst Lounge, Bridge Lounge, Wilson Quad, and Rettner Atrium shut off for one hour.
The Ethical Investment Advisory Committee is working to encourage the University to invest in sustainability. The committee was formed in 2017, and in May of 2018 successfully passed revisions to the University’s Social Responsibility in Investing (CSR) Policy, which means that the University will commit to values of environmental sustainability, and will not invest in companies that spread scientific misinformation.
University Facilities and Services held the 10th annual “Move-Out Cleanout” event, which helps students leaving campus get rid of their old belongings in a safe and sustainable way. This year, a new record was set for clothing donations- a total of 19,874 pounds of clothing and shoes were donated to Planet Aid. We also collected 2,588 pounds of food for Open Door Mission. Student group Grassroots also held their annual “Dump n’ Run” event, which collects gently-used appliances and furniture from students leaving the University for the summer. Both events diverted lots of unwanted items from the landfill.
The Community-Engaged Summer Sustainability Fellowship, which began its inaugural year from June -July of 2018, gave students an opportunity to work on sustainability issues at a local level. Four undergraduate students worked with Katrina Smith Korfmacher, associate professor of environmental medicine, to assess the health impacts associated with climate change, as part of the ongoing City of Rochester Climate Vulnerability Assessment. The students local outreach included conducting surveys at the Rochester Public Market and presenting their findings and recommendations to City officials to help the community adapt to climate change.
A team of University of Rochester researchers, led by environmental scientist Katy Sparrow ‘17 (PhD) and John Kessler, an associate professor of earth and environmental sciences, researched how ancient stores of methane found in ocean sediment can affect climate change. The study, which took place off the coast of Alaska, found that, although ancient methane is often released into the ocean, it rarely makes its way into the atmosphere. The methane is likely biodegraded by ocean microbes before it can reach the atmosphere, and thus does not significantly contribute to climate change.
New research published by John Tarduno, a professor and chair of earth and environmental sciences, indicates that the Earth’s core is much younger than previously thought. Scientists previously estimated possible range of 2 billion years when the core could have formed, but it is now hypothesized to be only 565 million years old. Researchers determined this by studying the magnetism locked in ancient crystals, which was very weak 565 million years ago, which could possibly be linked to a major diversification of life on Earth at that time.
Researchers at the University of Rochester’s Lab for Laser Energetics (LLE) have moved one step closer to developing controlled nuclear fusion, which would improve nuclear weapons and provide a new source of clean energy. The new research uses data science techniques to model new plans for achieving controlled nuclear fusion.
A team of researchers led by University of Rochester assistant professor of chemistry and physics, Ignacio Franco, has determined how ultrafast laser pulses can generate electrical currents faster than other methods. The method used in this experiment was previously only theorized to be possible, but Franco’s research proved that this phenomenon is an example of how matter acts when out of equilibrium.
E. Michael Campbell, director of the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), presented a lecture as part of the Jesse L. Rosenberger Seminar Series, discussing why nuclear fusion is so hard to replicate, and why its potential as a clean energy source. The lecture titled “On Earth, God’s Work Must Truly Be Our Own: The Pursuit of Fusion,” explores how to make fusion energy and economically efficient in the near future.
University of Rochester professor of astrophysics Adam Frank published “Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth.” The book explores the possibility of climate change and civilization collapse on other planets.
Two University of Rochester alumni, Michael Parsons ’90 and Michael Savarese ’81, ’84 (MS), are part of a team of researchers at Florida Gulf Coast University studying the phenomenon of red tide. The team evaluates the effect of climate change on red tide, explaining how warming ocean temperatures create a perfect habitat for increased red tide algae blooms, which produce harmful toxins. Red tide has increased in size, number and frequency, with Parsons and Savarese say is largely due to human impacts on the environment, including human-made climate change.
For the seventh year in a row, the University of Rochester has been recognized as a Tree Campus Institution. Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation which honors colleges and universities that have committed to effective urban forest management and to engaging students and staff in conservation goals. The University of Rochester prides itself in its commitment to creating green spaces on all of its campuses, with more than 1,400 trees and 116 different species.
The breakdown of methane hydrates due to warming climate is unlikely to lead to massive amounts of methane being released to the atmosphere, according to a recent interpretive review of scientific literature performed by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Rochester. The review, published in Reviews of Geophysics, concludes that current warming of ocean waters is likely causing gas hydrate deposits to break down at some locations. However, not only are the annual emissions of methane to the ocean from degrading gas hydrates far smaller than greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere from human activities, but most of the methane released by gas hydrates never reaches the atmosphere. Instead, the methane often remains in the undersea sediments, dissolves in the ocean, or is converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the sediments or water column.
Grassroots, a River Campus environmental activist group, organized and spearheaded the University of Rochester EarthFest, an event designed to celebrate the beauty of nature and to promote a sustainable future. This year, more campus environmental groups participated than ever, and a clothing exchange was added.
The University of Rochester was honored to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Region 2 Award in waste diversion for 2017. The University of Rochester, as a partner of the WasteWise program, must show how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship, and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste-handling processes. The basis for this award was the data submitted for 2016. The University furthers its efforts through programs like Shred Fest, E-Cycle Day, and the Game-Day Recycling Challenge.
Each year, the University of Rochester participates in the “GameDay Recycling Challenge” during Meliora Weekend. This year, the University of Rochester scored second place nationally in the Waste Diversion category! The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a national collegiate football waste reduction competition administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program
During the University’s 10th annual E-Cycle Day 26,744 pounds of electronic waste was diverted from landfills. Representatives from Sunnking Electronics Recycling Company worked alongside volunteers from Delta Upsilon Fraternity and members of University of Rochester Medical Center Facilities Operations to collect unwanted personal electronics. The event raises awareness that the option to recycle electronics is available and effective, and prevents material waste, energy waste, and harmful leakage of toxic chemicals from non-recycled electronics into the ground, and eventually into the water supply.
The Rochester Center for Community Leadership (RCCL) held its annual Wilson Day event as a part of the University of Rochester Orientation. Many of the service projects assigned to students this year involved environmental work. Students completed projects related to community gardening and ecological landscaping for the Rapid’s Cemetery Food Forest, Phillis Wheatley Library’s Public Food Forest, Neighborhood of the Arts, Ganondagan State Historic Site, Green Visions at Greentopia, and Taproot Collective.
The University of Rochester held its seventh annual Shred Fest event for University employees. This event is hosted by University Facilities and Services and it provides students and employees an opportunity to securely destroy and recycle their personal documents for free. Iron Mountain, a company that provides secure shredding services, partners with the University to help make this event possible. This year, a total of 21,380 pounds of paper were collected, making this the second largest collection out of all seven paper shredding events held at the University!
The University Facilities and Services has implemented more outdoor recycling containers on the River Campus, making the choice to recycle more convenient and widely available. These ten new containers are a combination of “Big Belly” Solar Powered Trash Compactor units and Victor Stanley Ironsite containers. The Horticulture and Grounds staff, in conjunction with the Sustainability Coordinator, worked to bring these new containers to campus as part of the ‘Go Green’ initiative.
The University partners with Imagine It to recycle used ink cartridges to minimize waste and bring new life to our campuses. Rebates received from the program are used to purchase new trees for the University. New tree purchases help the University maintain Tree Campus USA recognition. Each year Horticulture and Grounds works with student groups to plant trees on occasions such as Earth Day and Arbor Day.
In light of a new project to replace several Radiology doors at Golisano Children’s Hospital, Dante Paladino, Project Manager for the Construction Renovation Group within Medical Center Facilities Operations, researched alternatives to the standard single-use drywall barriers. Paladino chose to use the Simple Telescopic Airtight Reusable Containment (STARC) Systems barrier, a modular, reusable alternative to the standard drywall technique, to isolate the Radiology door replacement project. Why is this a better alternative? It pays for itself in 2.5 uses, its easy to clean, and above all - it is reusable!
This year marked the 9th annual “Move-Out Cleanout" event held by Facilities Team Green, and it was our second-largest to date! We collected 18,137 pounds of clothing and shoes for Planet Aid, 4,189 pounds of food for Open Door Mission, and 1,179 pounds of electronics for Sunnking electronics. Student Organization Grassroots also held their annual “Dump & Run” event, which collected unwanted and gently-used appliances and furniture students would typically throw away while moving out. Both events encourage students to avoid sending unwanted items to the landfill, and were a huge success!
As part of the renovation project of Douglass Dining Center, which reopened last fall, University of Rochester Dining Services introduced a biodigester as a new way to divert food waste from the landfill. In addition to the University’s program to collect food waste for an off-site compost program, the biodigester offers a hyper-accelerated, on-site food waste elimination system. The biodigester is used to divert food waste from landfills, reducing harmful methane emissions. It also reduces odors, vermin, and groundwater contamination at landfills.
In conjunction with National Eye Donor Month, University Facilities and Services partnered with Lions Eye Bank at Rochester to hold an eyeglasses collection during the month of March. A grand total of 1,221 pairs were collected – a record breaking number! Unwanted prescription and nonprescription glasses, sunglasses, and frames are sent to the Lions Club International. Once the eyeglasses are collected, Lions Club volunteers clean, sort, and package glasses. Recycled glasses are distributed to people in need in low and middle income communities where they will have the greatest impact.
As part of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) annual Earth Hour, individuals and national monuments alike shut off their lights in a global effort to create awareness of both climate change and light pollution. So, too, did the River Campus’s Wilson Quad. During the University’s second annual Earth Hour, the non-essential lights of the Wilson Commons porch, Hirst Lounge, Bridge Lounge, Wilson Quad, and Rettner Atrium shut off for one hour. The Astronomy Club facilitated a stargazing event on the quad, and nine student groups including GreenSpace, Engineers for a Sustainable World, and Society of Undergraduate Public Health Students presented their own perspectives on environmentalism through demonstrations and posters in Hirst Lounge.
This spring, seedlings are beginning to sprout in the new greenhouse at the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, where they will eventually be transplanted into the ground to supply fresh vegetables to local residents of the 19th Ward. The greenhouse was built last fall by University of Rochester students enrolled in a new course in Food Justice & Social Practice. The class was taught by Leila Nadir, a lecturer in sustainability and environmental humanities, and Cary Peppermint, an associate professor of studio art.
During winter break of January 2017, six members of the University’s Engineers Without Borders chapter travelled with their mentor Dwight Harrienger, a Rochester-based civil engineer at the consulting firm Stantec, to the rural community of Don Juan. There, they implemented a water disinfection system in preparation for supplying a school with potable water.
Sustainability is a “messy, murky concept,” says philosopher Randall Curren, chair of the philosophy department. But he aims to bring some clarity with his latest book, Living Well Now and in the Future: Why Sustainability Matters (MIT Press, 2017). With his coauthor, Ellen Metzger—a professor of geology and director of science education at San Jose State University— they argue that the core of sustainability is the “long-term preservation of opportunities to live well.” It’s a matter of intergenerational justice.
In 2011, a team of researchers led by Vasilii Petrenko, an assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester, spent seven weeks in Antarctica collecting and studying 2,000-pound samples of glacial ice cores that date back nearly 12,000 years. The ancient air trapped within the ice revealed surprising new data about methane that may help inform today’s policymakers as they consider ways to reduce global warming. This year, they published a paper on their findings.
In order to better understand the power of atmospheric oxidants—and the factors that effect their ability to do their work—Lee Murray, an assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester, developed a computer model that shows how the concentration of oxidants changes under different climate conditions and temperatures. Then Murray, along with colleagues at the University of Washington, Princeton, and Harvard, compared model data to analysis conducted at the University of Washington’s lab on 100,000-year-old Greenland ice cores. Their surprising discoveries, recently published in the journal Nature, led them to rethink what it is that controls oxidant levels.
Dustin Trail, assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Mineralogical Society of America Award, in recognition of his contributions to studies of early-Earth environments, the conditions suitable for the origins of life, and the evolution of magmas and fluids in the earth’s crust. Trail conducted this research using path-breaking new geochemical tools, applied to the earth’s oldest materials.
John Tarduno, professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, researches the history of Earth’s geomagnetic field, which surrounds and protects our planet from harmful space radiation. This magnetic field reverses or flips irregularly every “several hundred thousand years or so,” write Tarduno and Vincent Hare, a postdoctoral associate in the department, in an article shared online by Newsweek. Scientists do not yet know for certain if the Earth’s magnetic field is currently reversing or simply fluctuating, but the work of geophysicists like Tarduno, Hare, and other researchers could provide valuable insights about this planetary process.
Carmala Garzione, a professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester, and Junsheng Nie, a visiting research associate at the University, surveyed sediment samples from the northern Tibetan Plateau’s Qaidam Basin and were able to construct paleoclimate cycle records from the late Miocene epoch of Earth’s history, which lasted from approximately 11 to 5.3 million years ago. They recently published their findings in Science Advances. Reconstructing past climate records can help scientists determine both natural patterns and the ways in which future glacial events and greenhouse gas emissions may affect global systems.
In October of 2015, Siri Chillara, an undergraduate student at the University studying chemical engineering, founded The Swaraj Project, an urban micro-farm. The Swaraj Project is located at the site of the former UR Microfarm, behind the graduate housing at Whipple Park Chillara started the project through a fellowship with the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, a non-profit organization that collaborates with local organizations, academic institutions, students and committed peacemakers in areas such as nonviolence education, sustainability and environmental conservation, and the promotion of racial justice.
The University of Rochester’s Center for Community Health (CCH) built and installed a Little Free Library outside their office building in the Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA). With the creation of the Center’s Little Free Library, staff are celebrating a new contribution they can make to community health and wellbeing. They can share their library as a community resource in NOTA. The Center’s Little Free Library looks like a small two-story house. It operates on the “take a book, return a book” principle common to these libraries.
University Dining Services announced that by June 2016, all chicken served on River Campus and at the Eastman School of Music will be antibiotic free. In working with Aramark and local suppliers, Dining Services has been able make this large-scale pledge without additional costs to students or customers. Antibiotic-free products are a livestock industry alternative where healthy animals are not given daily antibiotics. The public health concern when animals are raised with antibiotics is that the practice could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria in consumers.
High energy use has led the University to pursue energy savings initiatives focusing on improving ventilation, upgrading exhaust systems, changing lighting fixtures, and other energy savings projects. The University of Rochester’s Medical Center Facilities Operations (MCFO) team creates and implements these projects. The largest energy saving project addressed Kornberg Medical Research Building’s (KMRB) high energy use in its laboratories. Updated controls that reduce airflow but maintain safe ventilation rates for the laboratory environments were installed resulting in about a 45% in the amount of ventilation needed to keep researchers in the KMRB safe. The KMRB Energy Saving Project equates to an annual savings of $381,000 per year. In a similar project, the MCFO implemented an exhaust system improvement project which brought in more efficient equipment to operate the system and cut the exhaust system energy use by half. The project resulted in a savings of $45,500 per year.
In support of National Eye Donor Month, University Facilities and Services partnered with the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester to hold a collection for eyeglasses during the month of March. Participants mailed in their unwanted prescription and nonprescription glasses, sunglasses, and frames to University Mail Services to be sent to the Lions Club International. Lions Club volunteers then clean, sort, and package glasses for those in need, mostly in developing countries. Overall, 330 pairs of eyeglasses were collected from both the mail-in program and inter-department competition, with the departmental competition accounting for nearly 200 pairs. Congratulations to the department of Neurodevelopment & Behavioral Pediatrics, who won the collection component of the competition by collecting 52 pairs of eyeglasses.
Each year, the University of Rochester participates in RecycleMania- an 8-week inter-collegiate competition in which institutions competed to recycle the most material. For 2016, the competition was comprised of 4.4 million students from 350 schools who altogether recycled and composted 79 million pounds and prevented 122,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from entering the atmosphere. The University of Rochester ranked fourth place in New York State for the Gorilla Prize collecting over 435,000 pounds of recyclable material. Nationally, the University placed within the top 30 for Paper, the top twenty for Corrugated Cardboard, and the top ten for Bottles and Cans. For full results visit the RecycleMania official website.
In just six months, Professor William Jones’ University research team developed an efficient route to n-butanol, making it look more like gasoline, thus enabling butanol to be a better alternative to ethanol. Jones’ team of five researchers accomplished this by modifying the Guerbet reaction. Named after Frenchman Marcel Guerbet, the organic chemical reaction converts ethanol to butanol plus water. Before the team’s discovery, the Guerbet reaction produced the co-product acetaldehyde which can react with butanol to produce unwanted molecules. Jones’ team modified the reaction to produce only one product and 25 percent more butanol than with the previous process.
The University of Rochester was awarded a College Council Grant for innovative environmental projects through the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3). The $2,747 grant will be used to implement a three-part plan developed by a group of EcoReps aimed at reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic grocery bags. The University of Rochester is among four colleges and universities in New York to receive a 2016 College Council Grant.
This year more than 56% of everything served and sold on the University of Rochester campuses is grown, raised, processed, or wholly manufactured within New York State. During Dining Services’ annual Local Foods Week this past year, this pledge to local products was taken even further to highlight local vendors with special meals, samplings, events and more. Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cameron Schauf, who also serves as co-chair of the University Council on Sustainability, stated that “the move to antibiotic-free chicken complements the University’s dedication to sustainability, as well as to purchasing and operating practices that are ecologically sound, socially just and economically viable,” said Schauf.
The University earned a STARS Silver Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).AASHE’s STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) program is the most widely recognized framework in the world for reporting information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. The University was scored based on institutional characteristics, academics, engagement, operations, planning and administration, and innovation. The University’s STARS report is publicly available at https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/university-of-rochester-ny/report/2016-01-06/
Michael Neidig, an assistant professor of chemistry, is one of 49 scientists to be recognized this year by the Department of Energy as one of the nation’s “exceptional researchers” in his or her “crucial early career years.” The DOE’s prestigious Early Career Award consists of a five-year, $750,000 grant. Neidig, who was named the Wilmot Assistant Professor of Chemistry in May, will use the grant to study the electronic structure and bonding in lanthanides and actinides, including short-lived and transient molecules. Neidig calls the award a “significant personal honor” that presents an exciting opportunity to expand his research into heavy elements for the next five years.
This past year, numerous LED retrofitting projects have been completed, replacing outdated lights with more sustainable ones, saving energy and money. The incandescent lights in and surrounding the Medical Center parking garage have been replaced with LED lights and in some places, sensors have been installed. This project will save about 1,016,625 kWh of electricity and $81,330 in energy and maintenance costs per year with a payback period of only three years. The lights in Danforth Dining Center, Rush Rhees Library Room 354, in the common areas of some Hill Court buildings, and in multiple River Campus parking lots were also replaced. The changes in Danforth will save an estimated 9,461 kWh and $756 per year and in Rush Rhees Library Room 354, an estimated 40,727 kWh and $3,258 per year. In Hill Court retrofits in Gale and Fairchild will amount to a 23,825 kWh and $1,906 per year reduction. The new LED lights in Trustee Lot, Riverside Lot, and Bridge Lot will save 86,400 kWh and $6,900 a year. In addition to the money and energy saved, the new LEDs provide better quality lighting which increases visibility and public safety.
There is very little data on the methane levels in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest collection of freshwater. Early last spring, earth and environmental sciences professor John Kessler invited five undergraduate students and a master’s degree candidate on a research venture designed to change that. Over the summer, the team embarked on explorations of Lake Ontario and Lake Superior. Kessler, whose lab has also collected data on Lake Michigan, plans his study to encompass all five Great Lakes. Based on the seed data the group collected last summer and the instrument prototypes they developed, the National Science Foundation awarded Kessler a two-year grant that enabled them to spend a week in October collecting data on Lake Superior in a state-of-the-art, fully staffed NSF research vessel.
New York State law now prohibits the disposal of certain electronics items in the trash but for the benefit of University of Rochester employees, the University of Equipment Recovery Program Rochester IT has offered a convenient electronics recycling service since August of 2012. Through the program, you can securely recycle both personal and University-owned electronics, free of charge. Pickups for University-owned equipment are scheduled online and are usually completed within a few days of the request. Since the start of the program in 2012, 788,189 pounds of electronics have been collected. In fiscal year 2016 alone, nearly 240,000 pounds of electronics were collected making it the most successful year yet! For more information about the program, or to schedule a pick-up online, please visit https://tech.rochester.edu/services/it-equipment-recovery-program/.
On Friday, July 22 University of Rochester employees participated in the sixth annual Shred Fest – an event hosted by University Facilities and Services that provides employees a place to securely dispose of their personal documents for free. The University partners with Iron Mountain, a company that specializes in secure shredding services. This year, a total of 18,220 pounds was collected, making this the second largest collection out of all six paper shredding events held at the University.
The Green Dandelion—the University of Rochester sustainability blog—has reached a milestone 1,000 articles! The blog serves as a forum for discussion and communication of sustainability on all of the University of Rochester’s campuses and beyond. The Green Dandelion was originally created by University Facilities and Services in September of 2009. New content is added to The Green Dandelion every week with information pertaining to programs and opportunities in sustainability at the University of Rochester. Articles cover a range of topics including, energy, ecology, recycling, waste reduction, green building, transportation, and more. There are three main feature types of articles published on the Green Dandelion. These include Go Green articles, the Sustainability Tip of the Week, and Student’s Corner articles. All posts published on the Green Dandelion cater to a wide audience.
A University of Rochester researcher is helping develop next-generation batteries that will be small enough to fit into clothing – and others that will be large enough to power an electric vehicle. If Wyatt Tenhaeff and his colleagues succeed, miniature batteries would expand the use of personal fitness trackers, implantable medical devices, active RFID tags to track pets and objects, and other small devices connected to the Internet. And a lithium battery in a car would no longer carry the risk of catching on fire. Tenhaeff, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, is applying his expertise in polymer electrolytes to two projects –playing two different roles at two very different scales of engineering. As a principal investigator, he has received a $306,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to see if a chemical vapor deposition process he’s developed can overcome the biggest challenge to 3-D microbatteries. And he’s collaborating with researchers from five other institutions and companies on a $3.5 million ARPA-E grant to develop scalable manufacturing processes for ceramic electrolytes to be used in solid-state lithium metal batteries for electric vehicles.
Spearheading the greenhouse gas inventory completed this year was Recycling Coordinator Amy Kadrie. Kadrie has been working at the University of Rochester for nearly eight years, previously under the title of “recycling coordinator”. This summer the decision was made to change Kadrie’s title to better reflect her evolving role related to sustainability as a whole, and not just recycling. Under the direction of Kadrie, a Green Office Guide was created by Sustainability Intern Adil Nyambasha ’18 in order to assist University of Rochester staff and employees with meeting the carbon emission reduction goals. The guide is meant to help offices throughout the University become more responsible and sustainable in regards to resource consumption. The guide can be easily accessed online by University employees and used as a guide to incorporate sustainable practices in different departments. Having a green guidance document and other programs aimed at driving behavior change, like the Green Reps program, is important to incorporate and promote sustainability at the departmental level within the University.
The University of Rochester encourages bicycling through UR Connections as an alternative option for transportation. UR Connections is the University’s campaign to promote the use of transportation alternatives that assist in reducing commuting costs for employees, reducing campus congestion, and promoting the sustainability efforts for the University of Rochester and our community. Through UR Connections, University students, staff, and employees can sign up for either a walking, biking, carpool, or public transportation bundle. The University of Rochester offers a free bicycle lending program available on the River Campus for full-time University of Rochester undergraduates on the River Campus, called City Cycles. City Cycles aims to promote bicycling as an attractive and sustainable mode of transportation for the University of Rochester community. Bicycles can be borrowed from the Goergen Athletic Center for up to twenty-four hours or until next day close of business.To rent a bicycle through City Cycles, students can go to https://citycycles.rochester.edu/.
University of Rochester Central Utilities and Energy Management installed a new boiler at their Central Utilities Plant, replacing an old, inefficient boiler. The University of Rochester purchased the new boiler from a company called RENTECH, a boiler manufacturing company based in Texas.The new boiler is about 15% more efficient than the one it replaced, which will save both money and energy. It runs on natural gas rather than oil, which is much more environmentally friendly. The life expectancy of the boiler is estimated to be about 40 years. The energy that the boiler produces is used for both heating and cooling on the River Campus and the Medical Center Campus. The new boiler will be one of the most efficient and eco-friendly of the five boilers installed at the Central Utilities Plant.
In the Fall of 2016, a new class, entitled Urban Farming and Social Justice was offered to University of Rochester students. The class was taught by Leila Nadir, a lecturer in sustainability and environmental humanities, and Cary Peppermint, an associate professor of studio art. The course included seven youths, ages 15 to 20, under the direction of Seedfolk founder and director Lisa Barker, and 25 University students. Classes were held each Wednesday on the River Campus, but the two groups met every Monday at the Gandhi Institute, where duties included establishing garden beds, harvesting and planting vegetables, building and maintaining compost piles, and clearing space for a 24-foot square greenhouse. It’s part of a larger project by Nadir and Peppermint called the School of Live Culture. An example of socially engaged art—a participatory form of art in which the community itself is the medium—the school is a collaboration with the local nonprofit Seedfolk City Farm and the Gandhi Institute to hire statistically at-risk youth to teach university students about sustainability and food justice as well as how to farm, compost, and build infrastructure in an urban setting. In return, Rochester students teach the youths about socially engaged art, video-making, spoken word poetry, animal justice, and skills such as making natural food dyes from the plants in the Seedfolk garden.
During the University’s 9th annual E-Cycle Day 28,132 pounds of waste was diverted from going into landfills. For many University employees, E-Cycle Day is a quick and convenient way to recycle their unwanted personal electronics. Representatives from Sunnking Electronics Recycling Company worked alongside volunteers from Delta Upsilon Fraternity and members of University of Rochester Medical Center Facilities Operations to collect unwanted personal electronics. Recycling electronics prevents material waste, energy waste, and avoids the leakage of harmful, toxic chemicals from the cast-off electronics into the ground, and eventually into the water supply. The event also raises awareness that the option to recycle electronics is available and effective.
A team of geologists at the University of Rochester has discovered a new species of bird in the Canadian Arctic. At approximately 90 million years old, the bird fossils are among the oldest avian records found in the northernmost latitude, and offer further evidence of an intense warming event during the late Cretaceous period. John Tarduno, professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University and leader of the expedition led a team of graduate and undergraduate students. Tarduno and his team, named the bird Tingmiatornis arctica; “Tingmiat” means “those that fly” in the Inuktitut language spoken in the central and eastern Canadian Arctic (Nunavut territory). Their findings were published in Scientific Reports
After the Student’s Association passed a resolution to establish carbon emissions reduction goals, the University Council on Sustainability agreed to develop a carbon reduction goal. In order to set carbon emission reduction goals, an inventory of current greenhouse gas emissions was first needed. University Facilities and Services worked with outside consultant O’Brien and Gere to conduct the greenhouse gas inventory. The data for the inventory was based on direct and indirect emissions originating from sources on all of the University of Rochester locations ranging from refrigerants and chemicals, agriculture, purchased electricity, faculty, staff, and student commuting, solid waste, mobile sources, and stationary sources. The inventory found that 60% of the total greenhouse gases at the University of Rochester are from stationary sources at the Central Utilities Cogen plant, 23% from purchased electricity, 16% from commuting, solid waste, and recycling, and about 1% are from mobile source combustion (i.e. propane and gasoline). You can view the full report here. Armed with this information, leadership at the University can work to develop an action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2016, construction began on Genesee Hall, a new residential hall, expected to open in August 2017, which will feature four residential floors housing approximately 150 freshman students, as well as meeting rooms for study groups and workshops, a new locker room facility, and training rooms for athletic programs. The new dorm will be a modern, air conditioned facility with a high level of commitment to sustainable design, construction, and operational practice. The project is targeting LEED Silver (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation. Among the sustainable features of the building are water efficient fixtures in key areas, targeting a 45 percent reduction in water usage; and implementation of a whole building energy model to overcome the challenge of providing an abundance of fresh air to varied spaces, such as the locker rooms. The whole building energy model maximizes the use of materials and systems to result in an energy performance 14 percent better than a baseline building in terms of annual energy costs.
Researchers at the University of Rochester have made significant progress toward making microbial fuel cells cheaper and more efficient. In a fuel cell that relies on bacteria found in wastewater, Kara Bren, a professor of chemistry, and Peter Lamberg, a postdoctoral fellow, have developed an electrode using a common household material: paper. Until now, most electrodes used in wastewater have consisted of metal (which rapidly corrodes) or carbon felt. While the latter is the less expensive alternative, carbon felt is porous and prone to clogging. Their solution was to replace the carbon felt with paper coated with carbon paste, which is a simple mixture of graphite and mineral oil. The carbon paste-paper electrode is not only cost-effective and easy to prepare; it also outperforms carbon felt.
A research team led by William Jones at the University of Rochester developed a more efficient way of converting ethanol to n-butanol using the Guerbet reaction. Modifications made by Jones’ team have allowed the reaction to yield more energy and produce no corrosive byproducts. The discovery is just one step in determining how to produce n-butanol in mass. Producing large quantities of n-butanol will allow it to be viable for use in the fuel industry.
The University’s 8th annual E-Cycle Day diverted 26,648 pounds of waste from going into landfills. With new New York State laws making it illegal to dispose of many types of electronics, E-Cycle enabled individuals to recycle their electronics free of charge. University Facilities and Services, brothers fromDelta Upsilon Fraternity, and Sunnking employees collected unwanted, broken, and old electronics for recycling. 2015’s E-Cycle transported 11,000 pounds more material to the Sunnking recycling plant than last year’s total.
In July of 2015, the University of Rochester Medical Center opened its new $145 million Golisano Children’s Hospital, which was designed to LEED standards. Its ground floor houses one of the few integrated PET/MRI imaging technology systems in the United States. The hospital’s family friendly rooms and amenities allow families to be an integral part of the health care providing team and the hospital is projected to help more than 85,000 children from the 17-county Finger Lakes region and beyond.
Following the success of the University Facilities and Services 2014 Little Free Libraries, the Medical Center Facilities Operations built another free library at The Children’s School @ URMC. The newest addition continues to promote community-wide book sharing and preserves the three pillars of sustainability.
The University expanded its reuse opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. Through Currents Classifieds departments can donate surplus items to other departments. Individuals can donate and sell unwanted furniture. Due to the expansion of Currents Classifieds, 37.8 tons of material was diverted from landfills and 1,858 pounds of electronics were recycled.
University Facilities and Services hired a sustainability summer intern to launch a recycling research project. As part of the project, a survey was sent to students and staff to get a better understanding of recycling knowledge and gain insight on the effectiveness of internal communication efforts. Information from this survey was then used to make improvements on campus that would be the most productive. As a result, new recycling bin labels were implemented and new informational recycling posters are available to download and print at www.rochester.edu/sustainability/recycling/.
With the help of Iron Mountain a company that specializes in secure document shredding, the University hosted its fifth annual Shred Fest. Shred Fest is a convenient way for members of the University to securely get rid of their personal information. Over the course of eight hours, the event filled two trucks with 14,940 pounds, or 7.5 tons, of securely shredded documents. One staff member even brought 30 years’ worth of personal documents to shred! Way to tear it up!
June of 2015 brought international visitors to the University from Nanjing Botanical Garden through the Institute of Botany at the Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences. Members of the University of Rochester’s Facilities and Services led the group on a tour of its horticulture. The group took in the sites of Highland Park, the Sunken gardens of Warner Castle, and the Patrick Barry House and gardens. As a member of the American Association of Public Gardens and the Professional Grounds Management Society the University was honored for the international recognition.
Well-U is a department built with the health and wellness of University employees in mind. Many of Well-U’s efforts overlap with the University’s sustainability efforts by means of promoting active transportation and fresh local foods. Every Wednesday from 3 to 6 pm, Well-U offers an on-site Farmer’s Market Well-U also offers the Good Food Collective which is a Community Supported Agriculture based in Rochester.
Throughout the years, Central Utilities has made many energy-conscious updates. Most recent updates include removing Chiller 1 from the plant to get rid of CFCs. Past updates involved updating LED lighting, and installing premium efficiency electric motors and variable speed drives in order to save energy, increase the efficiency of the plant, and to reduce the University’s impact on the environment
Setting new records, Facilities held its annual Move-out Cleanout event for its fifth consecutive year. 3,046 pounds of non-perishable food was donated to Open Door Mission and 18,578 pounds of shoes and clothing were donated to Planet Aid. The University again delivered its annual collection of about 1,000 pounds of electronics to Sunnking recycling. Complimenting Move-out Cleanout was Grassroots’ annual Dump & Run event which collected furniture, appliances, and general supplies to be reused by students in upcoming years.
University of Rochester Associate Vice President for Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Carl Tietjen initiated a partnership with Medline Industries, Inc, a medical and surgical supplies manufacturer and distributor, to reduce medical waste in operating rooms. The partnership resulted in a savings of approximately three-hundred thousand dollars. The second year of the program should save an additional several hundred thousand dollars.
2015’s RecycleMania, an 8-week long competition striving to reduce waste reduction and promote recycling on school campuses across the country encompassed 4.5 million students who altogether recycled and composted 80.1 Million lbs. This prevented 129,411 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The University ranked 28th out of 207 schools in the Per Capita Classic and averaged 27.4 lbs. of recycling per person. In the Gorilla category the University ranked 32nd out of 308 schools and recycled and composted a net total of 553,562 lbs. Finally, in the Grand Champion category, the University had a 32% recycling rate, ranking 124th out of 232 schools. In terms of the four targeted materials categories, the University ranked 10thout of 107 in the Paper category, 17th out of 118 schools in the Corrugated Cardboard category, 8th out of 104th in Bottles and Cans, and 59thout of 147 schools in Food Service Organics.
Meliora Weekend is a weekend where community members can especially see the positive impacts of the University’s motto. In the spirit of “ever better,” the University of Rochester participated in the GameDay Recycling Challenge, an effort of colleges across the country to reduce as much waste as possible during home football games. Recycling Coordinator Amy Kadrie set up “zero waste stations” consisting of recycling, compost, and trash bins to help encourage the correct disposal of waste products. Volunteer representatives from EcoReps, Waste Management, and the men’s baseball team helped the University collect 734 lbs. of recyclables, 50 lbs. of organics, and 53 lbs. of trash. By itself, the University of Rochester’s GameDay Recycling Challenge resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 1.2 total MTCO2E accounting for the University’s first ever recorded true zero waste event.
The League of American Bicyclists recognized the University with a 2015 “Bicycle Friendly University Bronze Award.” The award acknowledges University efforts to promote and provide a more bikeable campus for students, staff, and visitors. The University joined a list of 127 bicycle friendly universities across 42 states.
The 2015 Year-End Waste Diversion Report demonstrated that construction and demolition material can account for a significant part of the University’s recycling. In 2015, 70 percent of diverted waste came from new building construction projects as well as dig projects. The waste derived from construction and dig projects demonstrates that recycling asphalt and concrete is a better alternative to sending them to landfills
Assistant professor in the University of Rochester Departments of Environmental Medicine and Public Health Sciences Todd Jusko, Ph.D led a team of researchers in providing a foundation for determining how exposures to toxic chemicals such as PCBs and DDT affect the developing immune systems in infants. The University study determined that early exposure to such chemicals diminish an infant’s immune response to the tuberculosis vaccine.
The National Science Foundation awarded $4.24 million to Carmala Garzione and John Tarduno, of earth and environmental sciences, to launch a joint U.S.-China research project to explore the role of CO2 in climate change through a study of reverse global warming. The research team includes three Chinese institutions and six other U.S. universities (Brown, Columbia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, University of Colorado, and University of Texas at Austin). Garzione and her colleagues will test their theory for why the planet began cooling three million years ago: that iron-rich dust from Asian deserts may have fertilized the North Pacific Ocean, stimulating the growth of algae that reduced atmospheric CO2 and ultimately caused the big chill.
UR Institute of Optics Professor Chunlei Guo will be awarded $330,000 from the U.S. Army Research Office and $100,000 from State Energy and Research Development to explore the potential for water-attracting materials to make air conditioning and cooling systems more energy-efficient. His previous research used powerful lasers to create complex patterns on metals enabling them to either attract or repel water.
The University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) and Sandia National Laboratories received a two-year $3.8 million award to combine their technologies to produce controlled fusion reactions. Such reactions release large amounts of energy when small atoms like hydrogen join. The technologies involved in the project are LLE’s 60-beam OMEGA and 4-beam high-energy OMEGA-EP lasers as well as Sandia’s pulsed power machine, Z. Sandia’s machine Z is the largest in the world.
In March, the University launched the Center for Energy & Environment (CEE) to improve energy systems. CEE will allow the University to better understand how energy technologies impact the environment and human health. The program will also make it easier for faculty to identify opportunities for research collaborations. Scholars, researchers, and resources from more than 15 academic departments and multiple schools were involved in the launch.
In September, a team of University of Rochester researchers led by Professor Duncan Moore and Research Engineer Greg Schmidt were awarded $1.5 Million to produce a technology to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells. The technology will potentially reduce the cost of electricity derived from solar power. President Obama placed the Rochester project on a list of 10 other innovative projects driving an acceleration to a clean energy economy.
Construction of Wegmans Hall, the new four-story, 58,000 square-foot home to the Goergen Institute for Data Science, began in the fall of 2015. Included in the construction is the addition of new walkways, trees, seating, and a botanical rain garden. The project will add to the quadrangle enclosed by Robert B. Goergen Hall, Hylan Hall, Hutchison Hall, and the Computer Studies Building. Built into the design is more usable green space for University events and activities.
For the second year in a row, University Facilities and Services partnered with the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester to hold a collection for eyeglasses. In total, 581 pairs were donated! Donated eyeglasses were given to the Canandaigua Lions Club who then sent them to a regional location to be cleaned, sorted, and packaged by prescription strength. After packaging, the glasses were distributed in developing countries to improve the sight of those in need.
Each year, the University of Rochester’s EcoReps Program selects 30 incoming freshmen to educate members of their residence halls about environmental issues and help steer campus sustainability efforts for their class. As a part of the program, they attend a biweekly sustainability course, and subsequently host hall meetings to share what they’ve learned with others. The 2015 EcoRep coordinators successfully guided the freshmen through the EcoRep process, as they were once EcoReps and are experienced in organizing environmental efforts.
The University is sponsoring sustainability-related summer internships for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students will be given the opportunity to contribute to faculty course development and sustainability research. For the months of June and July interns will receive free housing and a $1000 stipend.
The Geological Society of America (GSA) honored Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Robert Poreda as a newly elected fellow. Fellows are elected “in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.” Poreda’s nominator chose him for his unique research contributions as a geochemist and expert in noble gases. Poreda’s research focuses on the application of noble gases to better understand various environmental impacts.
High energy use at the University of Rochester’s Medical Center led the University to pursue energy savings initiatives focusing on improving ventilation, upgrading exhaust systems, changing lighting fixtures, and other energy savings projects. To date, the largest energy savings project focused on updating controls in the Kornberg Medical Research Building’s Laboratories and equated to an annual savings of $381,000 per year. A similar project near the Green Elevators resulted in a savings of $45,500 per year. The relocation of data servers from Strong West data rooms to a central location in the Primary Data Center saved the University $33,600. In total, future projects could save the University an additional $291,100 per year.
In the 2014 calendar year, the University recycled 4,823 tons of material. This resulted in a waste diversion rate of 35.6% as a part of total waste for the entire University (River Campus, Medical Center, Eastman School of Music, and Memorial Art Gallery). Individually, the River Campus waste diversion rate was 49.0% and the Medical Center waste diversion rate was 28.7%. Construction material increased the diversion rate by 8.3%, from 27.3% to 35.6%, accounting for 1,700 tons of material. Since the arrival of a recycling coordinator on campus this rate has increased by 13.7%. RecycleMania is an annual competition between Universities nationwide to see which institution can collect the most recycling materials throughout an eight-week competition period. The University scored exceptionally well in RecycleMania 2014, finishing in the Top 25 in multiple categories including Paper, Per Capita Classic, Cardboard, and Bottles and Cans. The University had a recycling rate of 31.60%, equating to about 32.35 pounds of recycling per person and 544,378 pounds in total. Diverse student groups came together to contribute to the event’s success and the results reveal the University’s commitment to sustainability.
At the end of the Academic Year, University Facilities and Services hosted their 6th annual Move-out Clean-Out event, wherein they helped students donate and recycle their old or unwanted clothing, food, furniture, electronics, and school supplies. A total of 10,983 pounds of clothing were donated to Planet Aid and 1,328 pounds of electronics were collected by Sunnking electronics to be recycled. Additionally, 2,817 pounds of food were collected and donated to the Open Door Mission, a dramatic increase from last year by 1,161 pounds. Miscellaneous items such as furniture and school supplies were also gathered for recycling during the Grassroots’ annual fundraiser Dump and Run. Students would place unwanted items outside their rooms and members from the student organization would pick them up and sort them. Both events proved extremely successful, preventing thousands of pounds of materials from entering the landfill.
The University of Rochester was placed on Princeton Review’s List of 322 Green Colleges of 2014. Examining a list of over 2,000 schools each year, Princeton Review decides on a list of Green Colleges based on sustainable initiatives and attitudes on campus. They hand select colleges and universities with a strong commitment to sustainable practices.
The 4th annual Shred Fest was the most successful one yet. Hosted by University Facilities and Services on July 25th, the event drew in hundreds of employees and students who brought in their own papers to be shredded and recycled. The University partnered with IronMountain, a company that ensures the secure handling of documents. Last year, 114 containers were filled with paper- already an impressive number. However, 137 containers were filled in the 2014 event. This equates to approximately 17,000 pounds (8.5 tons) of paper. The growing numbers demonstrate the event’s need and success on campus.
University Facilities and Services’ 7th annual E-Cycle Day diverted 15,000 pounds of electronic waste from the landfill. Throughout the day, employees of the University dropped off their unwanted personal keyboards, computer monitors, CRT TVs, microwaves, laptops and other devices. Sunnking, a local electronics recycling company, collected and recycled the electronics, while members from Delta Upsilon (DU), University Facilities and Services Team Green, and University Medical Center Facilities volunteered their time to help run E-Cycle Day. E-Cycle Day’s contribution to sustainability also helped people striving to de-clutter their homes, making it quite a successful event.
The University participated in the Recycling Game Day Challenge, an event encouraging recycling and waste reduction during a home football game. Thanks to the effective “zero waste stations” that volunteers managed, each person out of the 2,229 people who attended the football game, generated only 0.04 pounds of trash per person throughout the event’s entirety. Ultimately, out of its conference, the University received 3rd place in recycling, 3rd place in waste minimization, 2nd in diversion rate, and 1st in organics reduction. The total diversion rate improved compared to last year, increasing from 67.7% to 85%, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 0.168 metric tons of C02 Equivalent.
Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan begin with the famous Drake equation, a straightforward formula used to estimate the number of intelligent societies in the universe in order to answer the questions: “Are we the first and only technologically-intensive civilization in the entire history of the universe?” and “If not, shouldn’t we stand to learn something from the past successes and failures of these other species?” In their treatment of the equation, the authors concentrate on the average lifetime of a Species with Energy-Intensive Technology (SWEIT). Frank and Sullivan calculate that even if the chances of forming such a “high tech” species are 1 in a 1,000 trillion, there will still have been 1,000 occurrences of a history like own on planets across the “local” region of the Cosmos. By studying past extinction events and using theoretical tools to model the future evolutionary trajectory of humankind, Frank and Sullivan show that it is possible to inform decisions that could lead to a sustainable future.
In coordination with National Eye Exam Month in August, the University of Rochester created a pilot recycling program for eyeglasses. The Recycling Office, part of University Facilities and Services, collaborated with many local companies to make the recycling system efficient including Optical Shop, the Rochester Eye Tissue Bank, and the Canandaigua Lions Club. The eyeglasses were given to the Canandaigua Lions Club who sent them to a regional location to be cleaned, sorted, and packaged by prescription strength. The glasses were then distributed in developing countries to improve the sight of those in need.
Sustainability is composed of three pillars: environmental, social, and economic. In August, University Facilities and Services completed a unique project that embodies those three pillars. The result? A Little Free Library. A Little Free Library is a small box resembling a birdhouse on a stand that holds a book collection. It is designed to provide a space for community-wide book sharing. The motto of the program is "take a book, return a book," a slogan that is often painted on the side of the box as a pleasant reminder. University Facilities and Services installed two libraries: Whipple Park and University Park, University owned residencies that are typically inhabited by graduate students and families.Little Free Library
Each year, the University of Rochester’s EcoReps Program selects 30 incoming freshmen to educate members of their residence halls about environmental issues and help steer campus sustainability efforts for their class. As a part of the program, they attend a biweekly sustainability course, and subsequently host hall meetings to share what they’ve learned with others. Coordinators Ben Gerstner, Class of 2017, Renee Smith, Class of 2015, and Jacob Post, Class of 2017, successfully guided the freshmen through the EcoRep process, as they were once EcoReps and are experienced in organizing environmental efforts.
Every Year, several sustainability internships and research projects are offered to interested students. Funded by the School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, the internships and projects address issues pertaining to sustainability in a variety of fields ranging from biology to art. In 2014, five opportunities were offered under the direction of supervising faculty. These included: A research project pertaining to China’s perception of sustainability advised by Anthropology Professor John Osburg, a Sustainability Assistant position for Facilities and Services under supervision of Director of Support Operations Pat Beaumont and Recycling Coordinator Amy Kadrie, a project examining the policies and practices around business travel’s carbon offsets advised by Philosophy Professor Randall Curren, a project that examined environmental health policy case studies advised by Professor of Environmental Medicine Katrina Korfmacher, and lastly, a project concerning molecular biology and its approach to study the microbial enzyme systems of biofuels advised by Chemical Engineering Professor David Wu. All of these experiences provided opportunities for students to participate in sustainability activities in a more specific and in depth way, as well as to share that education and research with others.
The Department of English at the University of Rochester honored digital artist Cary Peppermint as this year's Lillian Fairchild Award recipient on January 31st. The annual award is given to a Rochester-area resident who has "created extraordinary artistic work in any artistic medium in the past year." Rosemary Kegel, chair of the English department said the selection committee chose Peppermint for his portfolio of innovative and collaborative projects, which include Basecamp.exe, a workshop and art installation that explores environmental awareness, and Industrial Wilderness, an online and community-based artwork that explores connections between industry and nature.Winner Cary Peppermint
Founded by Sara Ribakove (Class of 2014), the Food Recovery Network was established in October, 2014 as a new student organization on the University of Rochester River Campus. The goal of the group is to obtain leftover food from University dining halls, that would have otherwise been thrown away, and donate it to local soup kitchens. The group participates in events that promote sustainable food use and members volunteer at food-related community service events. By April, the organization had donated about 800 pounds of food to St. Peter’s Kitchen.
56% of all food items served and sold on campus are grown, raised, produced, or manufactured within the state of New York. This dedication to local sourcing provides holistic support in terms of commerce, jobs, and encourages local prosperity both statewide and in our immediate surrounding area. We have continued to evolve our partnership with local vendors like Headwater Food Hub, The Good Food Collective, Kilcoyne Farms, Boulevard Produce, Barilla Pasta, and numerous other vendors. This year, over 127,500 pounds of food waste were diverted from landfills and composted. Over 3,800 pounds of perishable food from the University’s locations, that would otherwise go to waste, were recovered and provided to the local community food cupboard in Dining’s partnership with the Food Recovery Network. 80% of all campus locations are participating in the program. The University was rated 6th in the nation for Best Colleges for Food by The Daily Meal. For the 4th year in a row the University of Rochester was named one of the Nation’s Most Vegan and Vegetarian Friendly Campuses by PETA2 in light of its menu efforts and continued support of the Meatless Monday program.
Horticulturist Ron Crandall orchestrated a new addition to the University’s “Livable Garden” on Intercampus Drive. The pumpkin patch grown from seed generated a lot of viewing traffic for the Livable Garden and served as a prospering supplement to the garden’s already fruitful production of eggplant, broccoli, tomatoes and beans. Initially conceived by Manager of Horticulture and Grounds, Dan Schied, the Livable Garden was designed to illustrate the harmonious ecosystem the cohabitation of flowers and produce can yield. It hosts fruits and vegetables, while also growing flowers and herbs and providing a home to insects and small animals. This year the garden especially thrived, due to the attentive, collaborative maintenance of the Horticulture and Grounds Department and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County who helped it flourish and allowed the University community to enjoy its offerings.
For the fourth year in a row, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the University as a "Tree Campus USA." Tree Campus USA is a national program that honors educational institutions who "engage their student body as well as their broader community to establish and sustain healthy community forests for the benefit of current and future residents." The award was received because of the University’s maintenance of a prolific arboretum, implementation of a tree-care plan, devotion of funds to trees, and observation Arbor Day. Manager of the Horticulture and Grounds Department Dan Schied is strongly devoted to keeping up the tree culture on campus, and helped two student organizations to plant trees in April in honor of Earth Day and Arbor Day. Schied also led a Horticulture History tour on campus, retelling many of the stories behind the University’s unique trees. Additionally, Grassroots held a tree planting event on April 25th, 2014, where they invited students to plant trees which will contribute to the generation of clean air and campus beauty.
High efficiency LED light fixtures were installed to replace existing light fixtures at the University of Rochester’s Central Utilities Plant. Five 400W Mercury Vapor and fifteen 400W Metal Halide lights were replaced with a total of 33 new high efficiency LED light fixtures, This saves 38,290 kWh of energy per year and is predicted to save $4,000 a year for the University.
Energy efficient lighting was installed in two lecture halls at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Collaborating with materials supplier Wesco Distribution and SmartWatt Energy, a company specializing in sustainable lighting and electricity, the University replaced about 300 incandescent light bulbs with light emitting diodes (LEDs). This will reduce their energy usage by about 75 to 80% and save an estimated $6,000 per year.
The Rush Rhees Library Dome’s metal halide light fixtures were replaced with 32 new LED Lights. The switch reduced energy use by approximately 70%, a reduction equivalent to planting seven acres of trees, removing four cars from the road, or saving 2,693 gallons of gasoline annually. According to the EPA and SmartWatt, a company specializing in sustainable lighting, the light bulb replacement will prevent 44,426 pounds of carbon dioxide, 74,044 grams of sulfur dioxide, and 171,782 grams of nitrogen oxides from being released into the air every year. Thus, the project contributes to sustainability both on campus and in the greater atmosphere by reducing pollutants that contribute to global warming, smog, and acid rain.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, or NYSERDA, awarded the University a total of $1,021,997 towards energy efficiency projects. Central Utilities and Facilities and Services completed two large projects yielding significant returns. Firstly, as a part of the Dewey Hall Career Center Relocation Project, an inefficient air handler was replaced with efficient Fanwall technology to provide Dewey Hall with more effective heating and cooling. In another project, three new electric chillers were installed at the Middle Campus Chiller Plant, having variable speed drives that change speeds based on the conditions and needs of the University prevents unnecessary energy consumption.Middle Campus Chiller
On July 24th, the University of Rochester was awarded the prestigious APPA 2014 Sustainability Award for demonstrating excellence in sustainability practices for an educational facility. The APPA endorses leadership in educational facilities for those professionals working to change their institutions and those committed to “adapting, enhancing, and transforming the facilities of the future.” Facilities departments must handle many obstacles such as diminishing funding despite an increasing student body. APPA works with facilities members to help combat these issues efficiently and sustainably. The Sustainability Award is an honor, as it proves that the University has excelled, specifically in seven different categories: Educational Curriculum and Research, Leadership and Administration, Maintenance and Operations, Energy and Utilities, Planning and Construction, Sustainability Indicators, and Sustainability Innovations. During the year, the University has worked to integrate sustainable policies and practices and their efforts were awarded.
In October, Professor of Chemical Engineering Ching Tang of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Rochester was honored on two accounts for his pioneering research on energy efficient, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). Tang received a Technology Award from the Eduard Rhein Foundation for his innovative invention of the highly efficient OLED and other advances in "organic semiconductor devices." In October, Tang was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame for being a visionary and generating foundational research on OLEDs that others use today. He gained much of this recognition because of a paper he published on OLED’s in the Applied Physics Letters Journal, which has since been "cited by more scientists than any other paper" within it. Because of their thin, eco-friendly, and accessible nature, OLEDs are expected to be the future of consumer technologies, notably in flat screen TVs and smartphone displays.
The University implemented an Abandoned Bike Program four years ago. The University of Rochester’s Horticulture and Grounds Department gathers abandoned bikes from campus and then donates the bikes to R Community Bikes, an organization that reuses bikes, providing them to people in need. If the bikes are in poor shape, they are striped for parts, preventing that metal from entering the landfill. In May and November, the University donated over 80 bikes to the group. Over the years, the organization estimates that it has diverted 150 tons of metal from reaching the landfill.
In June, new weatherproof, secure, and enclosed bike cages were installed at the East Drive entrance of the parking garage, in addition to the existing cage at the Elmwood Avenue entrance. Over the warmer months, the demand for biking accommodations has increased. The new bike cages were installed in response to this demand. The parking lot provides a secure location for the bikes, as it requires card swipe access and also has locks on individual bike spots. There are 43 spots in total, each available for purchase for $44.00 per year. In addition, users may opt to pay an additional $44.00 to gain access to a personal locker and shower at the URMC’s Fitness and Wellness Center, if cleaning up after a ride before work is desired. The establishment of this bike cage is expected to encourage biking to work, an energy efficient and healthy alternative of transportation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the University of Rochester for its successful participation in the EPA’s national WasteWise program. The program is designed to help organizations and businesses employ sustainable materials management practices in order to reduce municipal and industrial wastes. The University received Honorable Mention for 2014 in the college/university category; participants diverted almost 7.6 million tons of waste from landfills or incinerators in 2013.
This year, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Cynthia Ebinger teamed up with Mario Ruiz from the Instituto Geofísico Escuela Politécnica Nacional to do research on the subterranean plumbing system associated with the Galápagos Volcanoes. As part of their research eventually published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, they buried fifteen seismometers all around the largest and most active volcano of the Galápagos: the Sierra Negra. By measuring and interpreting the velocity and direction of earthquake sound waves that passed through Sierra Negra, researchers pieced together the temperature and material of the wave paths and construct a 3D visual image of that data. The result was a digital picture of the plumbing system beneath the volcano, similar to the imaging methodology of a CAT-scan. Because of this new technology, the researchers found buried magma chambers, information about the growth of the Galapagos islands, similarities between neighboring islands, and an improved conception of the physical layout and characteristics of Sierra Negra. More information about places like these may help give insight into the environmental features of these landscapes and increase knowledge about island volcano systems in general.
In the 2013 calendar year, the University recycled 8,321 tons of material. This resulted in a waste diversion rate of 37.9%. Individually, the River Campus waste diversion rate was 46.3% and the Medical Center waste diversion rate was 23.6%. Additionally, 5,310 tons of construction material was recycled which increased the diversion rate by 11.6%, from 26.3% to 37.9%. These numbers are a significant increase from 2012, in which we recycled 3,722 tons of material with a waste diversion rate of 30.1%. Additionally, the University installed 10 new Clean River Bins, won 10 large bottle shaped recycling receptacles from a Keep America Beautiful and Coca Cola Foundation grant, and installed a package reuse station at the campus post office in Todd Union. These three unique additions further facilitate recycling throughout the University.
RecycleMania is an exciting competition between Universities nationwide to see which institution can collect the most recycling throughout an eight-week competition period. Collectively, the participants recovered 90.3 pounds of recyclables and organic materials. The University ranked in the top 10% for five award categories and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1,190 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Different groups across campus came together to raise awareness and host events throughout RecycleMania, helping to make the event a resounding success.
University Facilities and Services 5th annual Move-out Cleanout helped students donate their old clothing, food, furniture, electronics, and school supplies at the end of the academic year. A record 12,651 pounds of clothing were donated to Planet Aid, 1,656 pounds of food were given to Open Door Mission, and 2,100 pounds of electronics were collected by Sunnking electronics recycling. Other miscellaneous items such as furniture and school supplies were collected by Grassroots' annual fundraiser Dump and Run. Overall, the event sustainably repurposed thousands of items.
The 3rd annual Shred Fest was hosted by University Facilities and Services on July 26th. Throughout the day, University employees brought confidential documents to be shredded by IronMountain on site and then recycled. Approximately 23,950 pounds of paper were recycled, which is the equivalent of saving 33.6 cubic yards of landfill space!
University Facilities and Service's 6th annual E-Cycle Day recycled 25,000 pounds of electronics. University faculty and staff dropped off computers, televisions, cell phones, and other unwanted devices throughout the day which Sunnking, a local electronics recycling company, collected and recycled. The event decreased material waste and reduced the threat of toxic chemicals leaking out of landfills and into the environment.
The University participated in the Recycling Game Day Challenge this year, to encourage recycling at a home football game and collect as much recycling as possible from the event. 943 pounds of recycling and compostable material were collected, resulting in a waste diversion rate of 67.7% and saving an estimated 1.67 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
Raymond F. LeChase Hall, the new home of Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, was constructed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED is a green building certification program, recognizing buildings that are constructed according to sustainable principles and strategies. Some of the many ways in which the building is environmentally friendly include obtaining construction materials regionally and from recycled material, having low flow faucets, lights that operate on occupancy sensors, and landscaping that conserves water. Of the four LEED rankings - certified, silver, gold, and platinum - LeChase Hall was awarded the silver level for its sustainable design.
The University's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department has expanded to include more courses regarding energy, climate change, and oceanography for students interested in studying sustainability. A sustainability minor, an environmental engineering minor, and four different sustainability clusters are also now available. The Center For Study Abroad is offering Social & Environmental Change Program in San Jose, Costa Rica, which is an experiential and hands on program for sustainability. The Center For Interdepartmental Programs facilitates the opportunity to create a unique major based on a student's particular area of interest regarding sustainability. These academic offerings were in part created through the Genesee Workshop, in which faculty across many disciplines collaborated to enhance sustainability-focused academic programming.Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Earth Day was celebrated with a series of events from April 18th to April 20th. Events included an energy free acoustic jam night, flower painting, and an all day celebration with green booths, vendors, and tie-dying. The University launched a new program for Earth Day this year called Dash for Trash, which encourages the University Community to pick up litter along their running routes. The Georgen Athletic Center began offering compostable bags and latex gloves at the front desk in order to facilitate this productive and energizing morning routine.
A new bus route, Bus 52-Park Ave to URMC, was established in the fall of 2013 by the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RTS) in collaboration with the University. The route originates at the East Ave Wegmans, concludes at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and offers staff eco-friendly commute to work.
The University's EcoReps Program selects incoming freshmen to take a biweekly sustainability course and then share their knowledge regarding sustainability to peers in their freshmen dormitories. This year, two student coordinators, Ulrik Soderstrom '16 and Tyler Trine '16 enhanced the program by incorporating committees and monthly debates into the EcoReps Program to supplement and strengthen the existing curriculum.
A Dining Services initiative to increase the University's coffee selection and offer more local vendors is now in full swing. The University researched many local brands and then incorporated their products into dining locations. Buying locally reduces the environmental cost of transporting goods over long distances. Certain local products that the University now features, such as EcoVerde coffee, are exceptionally environmentally friendly. EcoVerde utilizes compostable packaging, fuel-efficient vans, and is only produced from plantations that meet the Sustainable Agriculture Network standards.
The Good Food Collective, a program that delivers local foods to the community, again distributed organic fruits and vegetables to the University between June and September. Members pay in advance and get a weekly share of the food harvested, which is a great way to eat local and healthy foods throughout the summer.
A large sign was posted in Starbucks to denote the proper way to recycle Starbucks products. Since patrons might not know which products can be recycled, this sign clearly illustrates that cold cups should be recycled while hot cups should be thrown away. This sign joins the other recycling signage already posted in campus dining locations.
A collaborative effort by the Irish Friendship Garden and the University of Rochester Horticulture and Grounds department has created an intercultural friendship garden, called the Ayame Garden. The city of Rochester is sister cities with Hamamatsu, Japan. The design of the garden reflects the two cultures, the partnership between them, and the diverse student body at the University of Rochester. The park is located in the Bausch and Lomb Riverside Park, and is a calm and beautiful space to enjoy nature.
The University continually strives to increase its energy efficiency, so the institution readily accepted an offer from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to participate in an energy study. Select dormitories on River Campus and RIT's campus were targeted with materials that encouraged students to reduce their energy consumption, unplug electronic devices, and turn off the lights. Energy use was then compared between these buildings and dormitories that did not receive the promotional materials. While the results were not statistically significant on the River Campus, they did reduce energy consumption at RIT. Despite the mixed results, the project was beneficial in that it continued energy reduction research and raised awareness about energy conservation.
Energy efficient lighting was installed in the atrium above Wilson Commons, replacing 40 atrium lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These light bulbs are sustainable by letting off much less heat than incandescent bulbs and thereby using energy more efficiently. As a result, LEDs last significantly longer and will allow the University to save $600,000 over the next 20 years. To maximize energy efficiency, a new control system was installed that operates according to building occupancy. This is one of many projects to upgrade the University to have more energy efficient lighting.
Central Utilities provides the University with steam, hot water, chilled water, gas, and electricity. To provide chilled water in particular, machines called chillers are used to keep water between 41-45 degrees Farenheit and pump it to necessary locations. Three chillers have been replaced with electric chillers that use significantly less energy than the previous steam chillers. Electric variable speed drives were also installed, which regulate the chiller's motor speed based on how much water is needed at the time.
The University was the recipient of numerous awards this year. The first is the Greater Valley Forge (GVF) Sustainable Award for implementing sustainable transportation options. The University achieved the Platinum level, which is the highest level of recognition, due to innovations such as operating alternative fuel vehicles, providing lockers and showers for bicycle riders, and subsidizing shuttle operations.
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) awarded the University the Green Star Award for utilizing sustainable grounds management practices. The grounds management team strives to decrease pesticide use by keeping plants as healthy as possible. The team immediately rakes away dead leaves to prevent plant infection and hand weeds garden beds. These efforts help maintain a healthy and pesticide free environment.Grounds of the Provost House
The River Campus and School of Medicine and Dentistry won the 2013 Green Cleaning Award from American School & University in conjunction with the Green Cleaning Network and the Healthy Schools Campaign. This award recognized the University for Green cleaning practices such as using supplies certified by environmentally friendly organizations, using durable floor scrubbers rather than disposable ones, and employing Orbio Units, which electrically convert water to cleaning solution. These initiatives, among others, helped the University to win the Grand Award, the highest level of achievement.
The Arbor Day Foundation named the University a "Tree Campus USA" for the third year in a row. Tree Campus USA is a national program to honor educational institutions that "engage their student body as well as their broader community to establish and sustain healthy community forests for the benefit of current and future residents." To this end, the University engages in practices such as maintaining a tree-care plan, devoting funds towards trees, and observing Arbor Day.
Professor of Sustainability Studies Leila Nadir and Professor of Art Cary Peppermint launched an iPhone and Android application, "Indeterminate Hikes +," that aims to enhance participants' experience of nature in urban areas. Google Maps help participants pioneer a hike in a nearby area, and encourages them to use technology to capture and share their experience. This app presents an exciting way for users to experience the local environment.
The University recycled/reused a total of 3,722 tons of material in the 2012 calendar year. Our Waste Diversion Rate, as a percent of total waste for the entire University (River Campus, Medical Center, Eastman School of Music, and Memorial Art Gallery) was 30.1%. Recycling has increased by more than 17% since 2006, when the total was 12.7%.
Recyclemania 2012 resulted in 94.4 million pounds of material recycled and composted nationwide, saving 148,897 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the air. The University of Rochester placed 29 out of 339 schools in the Per Capita Classic. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week, and are ranked in various categories based on rate and total amount of recycled materials.
The Fourth Annual Move-out Cleanout surpassed the results of 2011. The three week event collected 910 pounds of non-perishable food for the Open Door Mission of Rochester, and 10,657 pounds of gently used clothing for Planet Aid. In addition, 2,350 pounds of electronic equipment were collected by SunnKing for recycling. The Cleanout is a Facilities-run operation which serves to collect any unwanted clothes, non-perishable food items, and electronics that students may have and wish to discard in the process of moving out of their dorms at the end of the spring semester.
The Second Annual Shred Fest successfully recycled 15,750 pounds of paper. The event was held over the summer with the aid of IronMountain, the same company trusted by the University of Rochester to securely recycle its own confidential records. With over seven tons of paper was recycled, the event equivalently saved 119 fifty-foot trees.
The Fifth Annual E-Cycle Day collected 30,875 pounds of electronic waste. Throughout the event employees and students brought in their old personal computers, printers, fax machines, and other unusable electronic devices. The items are then loaded onto pallets and sent to be recycled by a Brockport based e-recycling company, SunnKing. The event was held in order to prevent material waste, energy waste, and avoid the leakage of harmful, toxic chemicals from cast-off electronics into the ground and water supply.
Once again, we participated in the EPA’s WasteWise Game Day Challenge. In 2012 the event took place over Meliora Weekend during a football game versus Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Game Day Challenge is a friendly competition for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction and recycling at sporting events. The Challenge is an initiative of EPA’s WasteWise program. Over the course of the day there was a total reduction of 3.63 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and a recycling rate of 0.58 pounds per person. The overall Diversion Rate was 66.41%, earning us 9th place in that portion of the competition.
The Eastman School of Music upgraded its recycling bins in dormitory and academic buildings. Previous recycling bins were outdated and unfortunately largely contaminated by trash. As a result, recycling trios commonly found on the River Campus were placed in the Student Living Center and Eastman’s other buildings. In combination with the new receptacles, Residential Assistants educate and encourage students to take charge and contribute to recycling efforts. Student leaders understand that simply supplying receptacles does not solely increase recycling, and therefore along with the new containers is a student-led awareness and encouragement campaign.
The Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine Unit at the Medical Center is the laboratory responsible for determining blood types, performing tests to ensure transfusions are safe and effective, and preparing blood products for patients. Many of these items shipped to the facility are temperature-sensitive and surrounded by large numbers of reusable cooling gel or ice packs. Since the laboratory has refrigeration facilities, these cooling packs are traditionally discarded. Starting in October of 2010, these cooling packs have been donated to Meals on Wheels. After the first 3 months of the project, a total of 450 cooling packs (543 pounds) were donated. In 2011 over 1,750 pounds of cooling packs were saved from becoming waste, and so far this year, over 1,000 pounds of cooling packs were reused.
The University continues to expand its composting program by incorporating both pre-consumer and post-consumer material collection in campus dining halls. Waste Management piloted a new local compost operation with material solely from the University. The University currently composts about 2.2 tons of food waste per week with a total of over 95 tons collected in 2012.Pulper machine in Danforth Dining empties material directly into compost collection container.
In 2012, the theme of Earth Day at the University of Rochester was “Local” and all activities for the day highlighted food and goods local to the greater Rochester area. Events included a local dinner, 100% waste free lunch, tour of the arboretum, tree planting, an on campus local food market, and guest speakers. The program was a collaborative effort of several groups on campus including Grassroots, Greenspace, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Global Water Brigades, Arboretum Committee, Team Green, Dining Services, UR Microfarm, the Hajim School of Engineering, Kappa Delta and Golden Key Society.
University Facilities and Services formed Team Green consisting of three student workers tasked with sustainability related projects and assisting with Facilities’ events. This Team Green is similar in function to the one run by Dining Services.
The EcoReps hosted the first ever EcoVision, a television themed event which included green games, local food and coffee, eco art projects, and guest speakers from local environmental businesses.
GreenSpace hosted the second annual Recycle the Runway showcasing recycled outfits made from plastic bags, CDs and CD cases, and plastic cutlery, newspapers and aluminum cans. The event included raffles, prizes, and music. Representatives from different organizations on campus including EcoReps, GreenSpace, Toop and Engineers for a Sustainable World, each participated in the event.
The Student Sustainability Council has been in existence since 2009, but 2012 was a turning point for the council when collaboration returned to the forefront of the organization. While the group has served mainly as a way for students to liaise with administration in the past, communication between the green groups became main focus for 2012, while the responsibility of synchronizing with administration has shifted to the Student Sustainability Coordinator.
In 2012, the Clothesline Festival went green for the first time. The Memorial Art Gallery’s annual M&T Bank Clothesline Festival is Rochester’s largest fine arts and crafts festival. A deliberate effort was made by organizers to reduce the event’s carbon footprint and emphasize sustainable practices. Volunteers managed eight recycling stations dispersed throughout the location. At these stations, people had the option of being able to place biodegradable materials, such as food or napkins, into compostable bags for composting. There was also a solar powered water refill station, free bicycle valet, compostable materials, and recycled paper integrated into the event.
Students Olga Pikul and Glenn Packard’s KEY project “Initiative to Encourage Solar Panel Usage in Rochester, NY” was completed for the 2012 capstone presentations. The project involved researching grants and subsidies for solar installations, and investigated the benefits of solar radiation of upstate New York. Another KEY student GaoXiang Chen completed a project in order to advise non-profit organizations about the benefits of solar cookers.
The Rochester chapter of Global Water Brigades traveled to El Canton, Honduras to build and implement a clean water system. The team of 17 members on the week-long trip worked beside the community to implement a clean water system and educate about watershed protection. Global Water Brigades works to provide access to reliable, sustainable sources of clean water internationally. Rochester Global Water Brigades also hosted the first annual water week in November 2012 in order to remind students about the privileges of clean water and raise money for water quality in Honduras. The week featured speakers, documentary showings, and a fundraiser.
University Alumni shared sustainability career experiences in a first ever panel as part of Meliora Weekend. The Grassroots Alumni Sustainability Panel featured four alumni from various industries who spoke to students about working in the fields of sustainability and science.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded the University of Rochester a rebate incentive of $36,615 for the renovation of an undergraduate laboratory in Hutchison Hall. The grant was awarded for adhering to energy efficient guidelines for equipment purchased for the new laboratory. The grants intend to provide a financial incentive for the owner to install more costly energy efficient equipment which consumes less energy during its life cycle. Past NYSERDA rebates were awarded for an addition onto the Kodak Theater, a new chiller at the Eastman School of Music, new Data Center renovation, and the Saunders Clinical and Translational Science Building.
The University of Rochester received a boost to their recycling efforts thanks to a significant grant made possible by The Coca-Cola Foundation. University Facilities and Services received a total of 15 recycling bins designed specifically for placement during special events on the River Campus and at the Medical Center. Recipients were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on a number of criteria including level of need, recycling experience and the ability of applicants to sustain their program in the future. The Bin Grant Program awards recycling bins directly to recipients and leverages volume buying discounts.
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recognized The University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. with an Honor Award in the Society’s 2012 Green Star Awards competition. The award was given in the Hospital or Institution category for exceptional grounds maintenance. The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction.
The University of Rochester was voted one of five Tree Campus USA schools to win $1,000 dollars from the Arbor Day Foundation to fund tree plantings and recruitment of new volunteers for campus sustainability. The prize was awarded after the Tree Campus Spring Event vote in which Rochester came in second. The prize will be used to plant new trees in the same area as Genesee Valley Park’s “Tree of Life”.
The University received about $125,000 from the Health Impact Project in order to assess the health impacts of the city’s waterfront areas, city projects, and policies. The grant funded research by the University’s Environmental Health Sciences Center and analyzed issues such as air water pollution and fish contamination and explored opportunities for improved waterfront access.
As part of Strong Memorial Hospital’s dedication to all aspects of health, Environmental Services (ES) acquired new cleaning equipment from the sustainable sanitation company Diversey, Inc. The new equipment makes up 10-15% of ES’s fleet and replaced old models that are now surplused or stored for use as backup. The new machines are part of Diversey’s TASKI line which is knoUwn for its water, power, and chemical reductions. In future purchasing, ES hopes to continue using TASKI products (or those similarly designed) and expand their fleet of sustainable equipment.
The Chiller Modernization Project at the University’s Central Utilities began in November of 2011, and consisted of two major phases. In the first phase, EOS Climate, a company specializing in the environmental safe disposal of CFC refrigerants, removed over 12,500 pounds of R-12 (a chlorofluorocarbon) from the designated water chiller, and safely destroyed it. With the help of Carrier, a supplier of refrigeration products and services, a retrofitted water chiller was installed. The upgraded Chiller # 3 and its steam turbine drive is not only 5% more efficient than the old one, but also uses modern refrigerant called R-134A which causes zero ozone depletion, and has nearly seven times less global warming potential than R-12. The successful installation of the retrofitted water chiller is both environmentally friendly and more efficient in its operation.
Light bulbs in Wilson Commons were replaced by light emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Forty atrium lights were replaced with LEDs meaning an avoided cost of over $600,000 dollars over 20 years. This significant reduction in energy from these replacements is equivalent to planting 52 acres of trees, removing 33 cars from the road per year, saving 21,358 gallons of gas a year, and preventing 352,415 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year. Besides Wilson Commons and Gleason Hall, LEDs are installed in University Security Services’ Blue Light Emergency Phones and the new cafeteria at the Strong Memorial Hospital, Café 601.
Anderson & Wilder Towers, which received Energy Star Certification in 2011, were the subject of an energy study through Rochester Institute of Technology. The focus of the study was to determine if posters and stickers could affect residential behavior and show a measured effect on the energy consumption of the building. This initial study will provide the impetus to apply for grants and fuel further projects.
Strong Memorial Hospital’s cafeteria was renovated into the new ‘Café 601’. New facilities include updated cooking equipment, food stations, salad bar, beverage dispensers, and a recycling center. SWBR Architects collaborated with the University of Rochester Campus Planning, Design and Construction Management, Medical Center Space Planning, DiMarco Constructors, LLC, IBC Engineering, and the Medical Center’s Food & Nutrition Services to create a design for the new cafeteria which included some remarkable sustainable features. LEED principles were applied to the cafeteria design where possible and sustainable practices were implemented in decisions regarding waste disposal, material selection, and equipment purchasing.
O’Brien Hall, a 150-student residence building, earned LEED Gold Certification. This rating was established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for O’Brien’s sustainable construction, landscaping, and operations. O’Brien Hall is the first LEED-recognized building on the River Campus and joins the Medical Center’s Saunders Research Building—also LEED Gold—in the University’s official portfolio.
The University of Rochester Medical Center’s Saunders Research Building received LEED Gold certification. It was the first building at the University of Rochester to receive LEED certification. The certification process is based on an evaluation of a building’s planning and design, energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, indoor environmental air quality, and construction criteria. The building is recognized for its design that promotes sustainability and the health of its occupants.
Horticulture and Grounds purchased a new Bandit Model 65XP wood chipper. Before the arrival of the wood chipper, undesirable brush had to be sawed and hauled to the campus waste storage area where it took up excessive space. The new wood chipper finely shreds brush into chips and drastically cuts down on waste. It is estimated that the chipper reduces the volume of organic waste by at least 75%, and most likely more. In these areas the brush which needs to be removed is not hauled to any landfill, but shredded and dispersed onsite, where it decomposes quickly. The finely ground wood chips form organic matter which serve as a reservoir of nutrients and water in the soil, aids in reducing compaction and surface crusting, and increases water infiltration into the soil. This is good for the immediate environment where the chipper is used and also saves fuel use by preventing having to truck brush to dump sites to be stored.
UR recycling reaches a record high, as the rate for the 2011 calendar year was calculated at 38.2%. The recycling rate increased by 9.6% since 2009. In 2011, we recycled and reused 5,508 tons of material.
Recyclemania 2011 successfully results in recycling 91 million pounds of material nationwide, saving 270 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the air. U of R places well scoring 43 out of 363 schools in the Per Capita Challenge. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week, and are ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most.
2011 graduates wear caps and gowns made from 100% recycled plastic, saving approximately 34,000 plastic bottles from waste.
Third Annual Move-out Cleanout collects 1,745 pounds of non-perishable food for the Open Door Mission of Rochester, and 7,930 pounds of gently used clothing. The Cleanout is a facilities-run operation which serves to collect any unwanted clothes, non-perishable food items, and electronics that students may have and wish to discard in the process of moving out of their dorms at the end of spring semester.
Expansion of recycling program to now include plastics #1 through #7 and more.
Hazardous Waste Management Unit continues to help dispose of harmful materials. Check out some guidelines.
Donating over 200 shoes to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program.
Personal Documents Round-up successfully recycles 12,390 pounds of paper. The event was held over the summer and facilitated the recycling of personal documents for affiliated students and staff. With over 6 tons of paper was recycled, the event equivalently saved approximately 100 trees.
Fourth Annual E-cycle day collects 31,482 pounds of electronic waste. Throughout the day employees and students brought in their old personal computers, printers, fax machines, and other unusable electronic devices were loaded onto pallets and sent off to be recycled by Brockport based e-recycling company, Sunnking. The event was held in order to prevent material waste, energy waste, and avoid the leakage of harmful, toxic chemicals from cast-off electronics into the ground and water supply.
Participates in the EPA’s WasteWise Game Day Challenge to recycle waste at football games, successfully diverting 66.4% of waste away from landfills. The Game Day Challenge is a friendly competition for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction at their football games. This Challenge is an initiative of EPA’s WasteWise program.
34 new outdoor recycling receptacles are installed across the Medical Center’s campus, promoted by the University Council on Sustainability. The Victor Stanley Ironsite recycling containers placed around campus are made out of approximately 98% recycled content steel. The durability of steel ensures that the containers will last for many years, unlike some plastics, making them an even more sustainable option.
Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) participate in a recycling program with Terracycle, a free waste collection program that turns the waste into sellable products such as backpacks and folders, available at major retailers such as Whole Foods Market. Three collection bins, intended specifically for hard-to-recycle items such as candy wrappers and cookie packages, have been set up in Wilson Commons. Engineers for a Sustainable World hand over what is collected to Terracycle, transforming waste into value.
Anderson & Wilder Towers receive Energy Star Certification. Energy Star is a governmentally supported program that helps individuals and businesses to protect the environment through energy efficiency. In order to qualify as Energy Star certified, the building must receive a ranking of 75 out of 100 or higher. A total of only 76 dorms in the US have earned Energy Star awards, making the Towers’ awards commendable.
UR sustainably constructs the Clinical and Translational Science Building (CTSB), recording an overall recycling utilization rate of 60.3 percent in February 2011. The majority of these recycled materials included 371 tons of asphalt and almost 50 tons of concrete.
Saunders Research Building is constructed while diverting 75% of waste away from landfills. It will be the first building at the University to formally receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. It includes a porous pavement system with an underlying drainage system that directs storm water runoff to a rain garden. The heating and cooling system makes use of Heat Wheel technology, which takes heat released from the exhaust side and transfers it back to the supply side, instead of being wasted and released outside.
Over 1,200 total staff and students have taken the GoGreen pledge since its inception in 2009.
Earth Day 2011 is celebrated with planting at the UR microfarm and cleaning the Genesee River with the Gandhi Institute.
Facilities Materials Management reduces paper consumption by 20% making the switch from paper records to electronic records.
Continued the EcoReps program for interested first-year students who wish to combine their living experience with sustainability efforts and education on campus.
Cindy Ebinger Seismologist and volcanologist from the University of Rochester participates in a two-year survey to collect scientific measurements for benchmarking hazards threatening biodiversity in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
University of Rochester's Open Letter Books announces the launch of a new ebook series for international literature.
Students participate in Mt. Trashmore, a waste reduction awareness event. During the day, students hauled out all the trash that was collected from inside of Rush Rhees Library, Frederick Douglas, and Wilson Commons and then placed it into a big heap in front of Wilson Commons. By evening, the pile offered an enormous visual reminder to all passersby of how much waste is produced on a daily basis.
University now offers a minor in sustainability. The goal of the minor is to provide a curriculum that encourages students to learn to communicate and to solve problems of societal relevance that straddle disciplinary boundaries in sustainability and global change.
University holds EcoPalooza, sponsored by EcoReps, an event which put together fun activities to raise environmental awareness. The event included a “no-power” open- mic, a feature of the event which allowed musicians, singers, and bystanders alike to come and enjoy playing music together as a communal experience. There were also “recycled crafts,” including pinecone bird feeders, and DIY jewelry, made from old flyers and recycled paper.
UR Green News launches its first edition in January of 2012. UR Green News is a biweekly newsletter about sustainability and the environment at the University of Rochester. It aims to keep everyone updated on the latest green initiatives on campus, achievements in sustainability, and people who are contributing to the change.
University of Rochester joins Tree Campus USA program, which recognizes excellence in campus tree management, as well as student and community involvement. Tree Campus USA is a partnership of the Arbor Day Foundation, which recognized the Univeristy of Rochester for its commitment to the planting and maintenance of trees on campus.
“Teaching Environmental Health to Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach” is a new novel authored by Warner School of Education’s current Professor David Hursh and alumnae Camille Martina ’05 (PhD) and Hillary Davis ’84 (EdD), as well as Professor Michael Rush of Johns Hopkins Center in Urban Environmental Health. The book provides a view of how schools can educate children about everyday toxic materials that pollute the environment, and how students can reduce the health risk for themselves and those around them.
A new environmental study abroad program in the Galápagos Islands is introduced in the Fall semester of 2011. A variety of study abroad opportunities for students interested in environmental issues are surfacing through IES (International Education of Students). Students can travel to the Galápagos Islands to study evolution, ecology & conservation, marine ecology, or politics & the environment.
The Green Dandelion Blog continues to regularly publish articles on environmental sustainability at the University of Rochester, provided to you by Facilities & Services.
The Green Food blog, dedicated to examining dining at the university, continues its expansion.
University of Rochester engages in pilot Farm to School program with Headwater Foods to receive fresh produce from local farms. Around 1000 cases of frozen regionally-grown vegetables have been distributed between the University of Rochester and the Harley School. The Good Food Collective website and blog details latest information on fresh local foods.
UR Microfarm continues to provide fresh produce to the Meliora restaurant on campus. The microfarm is a student-run nonprofit organization housed by the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence. The goals of the microfarm are to promote sustainability, be an academic resource and promote positive community interactions.
New Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee vendor Ecoverde on campus uses completely bio-degradable and compostable packaging.
Danforth Dining Hall is renovated with 75% of the total waste material diverted back to the manufacturing process, recycling 100.95 tons of material. It now uses energy-saving LED lighting, and chairs made from recycled coke bottles to promote sustainability.
Dining at the university continues to enjoy an array of sustainability practices, from promoting reusable mugs & containers to using leftover grease from Danforth to help create biofuels.
The university continues making transportation sustainable by adding two new fuel-efficient 2012 Ford Focus cars to its Zipcar Lineup. Further, the UR also provides carpool programs, shuttles, and other hybrid vehicles for use.
Students and staff can now use their NetId to borrow bicycle using a new online borrowing system implemented by City Cycles, making it even easier to reduce our carbon footprint.
“Solar Dok”, a solar powered charging station, is installed adding to current green initiatives on campus. Placed outside of Meliora Hall, the Solar Dok is a self-sustaining solar powered charging station that houses four standard electrical outlets, two USB outlets and an LED lighting system for nighttime use. Designed and fabricated by EnerFusion, Inc., the Solar Dok gives the campus community the opportunity to charge laptops and cell phones with green energy.
Two more solar compactors are now installed on campus, bringing the total up to four. Solar compactors are named for the technology that powers them. Relying on solar panels on the top of the unit, these dual function systems compact trash and collect recyclables. Using about as much energy per week as it takes to power a light bulb, they compact as many times as needed, holding up to five times more trash than normal bins, and requiring less frequent emptying.
World Record in Solar Conversion is set by UR Optical Engineering Team led by Professor of Optical Engineering Duncan Moore, achieving a light-to-electricity conversion efficiency of 38.5. The team collaborated with DuPont, a science-based products and services company. Professor Moore points out that efficiency percentage is important but not enough – a process to drive down the production cost must be found as well. Congratulations to the team!
Tiernan dormitory wins the Sustain-a-bowl contest. Student sustainability group Grassroots hosted the Sustain-A-Bowl competition, which is a race between residence halls to save the most energy over the course of about a month.
Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) announces the University of Rochester as winner of the 2011 Hugh E. Cumming Environmental Quality Award for making “a significant contribution to environmental protection, improvement or education in the Rochester-Genesee-Finger Lakes Region.” CEI honored the many efforts of the University of Rochester overseen or coordinated by Amy Kadrie, UF&S Recycling Coordinator. CEI is an organization working for environmental protection and enhanced quality of life in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region through education, collaboration and informed action.
The University of Rochester receives the 2011 WasteWise Gold Achievement Award for Public Education and Outreach. According to the EPA, UR made an enormous effort to promote waste reduction practices and was actively involved in several recycling initiatives. The university effectively utilized online social networking tools, posters, fact sheets, articles, student group initiatives, and university staff and faculty to encourage participation in events and campaigns, including RecycleMania, the Go Green Pledge, Earth Day, Water Week, and E-Cycle Day. In all, UR’s education and outreach efforts helped the university recycle nearly 3,400 tons of materials, resulting in a reduction of more than 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The university also saved more than $230,000 in 2010 through recycling revenues and avoiding disposal costs.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) recognizes the University of Rochester with a High Performance Building Plaque for energy-saving investments that will reduce energy costs by a combined $167,000 annually.
University of Rochester improves its sustainability score, receiving an A- from greenreportcard.org. The university has realized a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2005, and further spends 36 percent of its food budget on local items.
U of R wins Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Environmental Excellence Award for 2011. The DEC recognized organizations for innovative and environmentally sound projects at the 8th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony. The university was commended for preventing nearly 95 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, reducing electricity use by more than 6.5 million kWh, saving nearly 8 million gallons of water and diverting almost 4,000 tons of waste from landfills.
UR makes the Princeton Review’s annual green college list, selected from a pool of over 2,000 schools. The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges profiles 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation. The 220-page guide is the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to green colleges.
Recycling 2010: Participated in Recyclemania for the fourth consecutive year with a final ranking of 107 out of 267. The cumulative recycling rate increased from 27.02% to 28.93%. Recycled a total of over 140,000 more lbs. than in 2009.
Recycling 2010: Three different types of outdoor recycling receptacles were introduced on the River Campus, including a solar powered trash compactor, to make recycling more available to those on the go.
Recycling 2010: Held third annual E-Waste Recycling Event and collected 34,851 lbs of electronics, which was 9,000 lbs more than collected during the previous year’s event.
Recycling 2010: Recycling/reuse as a percent of total waste for the entire University (River Campus, the Medical Center, Eastman School of Music, and the Memorial Art Gallery) reached 32.2%. Recycling has increased by more than 19% since 2006, when the total was 12.7%.
Recycling 2010: 300 new recycling containers were placed in academic and residential buildings on the River Campus. Educational posters with recycling guidance were framed above recycling containers in key areas of campus buildings. Incoming freshmen received a “door hanger” version of the recycling poster. Informational “InSTALLments” were also placed in bathroom stalls in each residential building.
Recycling 2010: Held the second annual “Move-out Cleanout” to collect goods that would have otherwise been discarded by students. Over 1,500 pounds of food and over 7,500 pounds of clothing and textiles were donated to local charities. By expanding the program to Riverview Apartments and increasing advertising efforts, the program’s first year donation total was exceeded by over 6,000 lbs., including over 1,500 pounds of electronics were recycled.
Recycling 2010: The University of Rochester Medical Center continued its partnership with InterVol, a local non-profit organization which redistributes unused medical supplies to countries, people, and animal shelters in need, including a relief effort in Haiti. Nearly ten tons (19,590 lbs.) of supplies were collected in 2010.Incubators donated to InterVol by Strong Memorial Hospital.
Recycling 2009: Participated in RecycleMania for a third consecutive year. Increased ranking to 99 out of 206, from 118 out of 175, with a 27.02% cumulative recycling rate. Promotional events included a weekly trivia contest in the Weekly Buzz, tabling, giving out free coffee coupons to people who were “caught green handed”, and selling recycled notebooks.
Recycling 2009: Recycling/reuse as a percent of total waste for the entire University (including River Campus, the Medical Center, Eastman School of Music, and the Memorial Art Gallery) reached 28.3%. Recycling has increased by more than 15% since 2006, when the total was 12.7%.
Recycling 2009: Installed a BigBelly® Solar powered trash compactor with accompanying plastic/metal/glass recycling unit located on Dandelion Square.
Recycling 2009: Held an End-of-Year Cleanout to capture goods that would normally be discarded during student move out period. Collected 350 pounds of food and over 2,600 pounds of clothing and textiles that were sent to local charities. Over 1,200 pounds of electronics were recycled.
Recycling 2009: Added designer recycling units to the Flaum Atrium at the Medical Center. A stainless steel trio design was chosen for aesthetics, serviceability, and longevity.
Recycling 2009: Initiated the University of Rochester recycling webpage: www.rochester.edu/sustainability/recycling/
Recycling 2009: Initiated a campus-wide standard for recycling containers, includes a trash container with designer labeled paper/cardboard and plastic/metal/glass containers, and recycling posters.
Recycling 2009: Surveyed the River Campus trash and recycling program. Recommending the purchase of more recycling units where needed. Project is 50% complete.
Recycling 2009: Installed a replacement cardboard compactor at Rush Rhees loading dock in September which resulted in an additional half ton of recyclables collected each week & equivalent reduction in waste.
Recycling 2009: Became an EPA WasteWise partner. Members are required to measure and report wastes and agree to reduce or recycle municipal solid waste.
Recycling 2009: DOE awarded Professors of Chemistry Kara Bren & Richard Eisenberg and Associate Professors of Chemistry Todd Krauss and Patrick Holland a $1.7 million grant from to use artificial photosynthesis and nanotubes to generate hydrogen fuel with sunlight.
Recycling 2009: Temperature setbacks were implemented (68 degrees in winter & 78 degrees in summer) resulting in $585,824 in energy savings.
Recycling 2009: Energy-Star rated washers & dryers were installed in Residence Halls to reduce energy use.
Recycling 2009: Policy enacted to consider alternative fuel vehicles prior to any vehicle purchase. Total alternative fuel vehicles: 7 hybrid vehicles, 1 electric mail services delivery vehicle, 6 Segways, and 12 GEM cars. The Zipcar program was expanded to Whipple Park and the Medical Center, totaling 6 available cars.
Recycling 2009: The University of Rochester developed its relationship with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) by establishing a single point NYSERDA contact that is tailored for both Academic and Medical Center energy reduction. The University of Rochester is currently exploring natural gas saving opportunities beyond our current electric savings.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: IT Center installed energy efficient LED lighting on the bottom floor and soon will install on the second floor. This will save 111,000 kW/h per year in energy. This program will save a total of $10,000 each year, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 175,000 lbs each year.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: Installed two variable speed drives (VSD) for the hot water system in Susan B. Anthony residence hall, resulting in $25,000 in annual energy savings.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: Two projects involved retro-commissioning of existing buildings at a cost of $5,000 that reduced electrical consumption by 87,000 kWh.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: The new data center was constructed to achieve an efficiency level 30% higher than the current building energy code. Additional cost was $551,400 with reduced electrical consumption of 1,268,750 kWh and avoided costs of $101,000 annually.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: Sixty lights were retrofitted and forty-three occupancy sensors were installed throughout the Memorial Art Gallery. Annual energy savings is almost $1,000 with an annual electrical reduction of over 10,000 kWh.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: Installed eighty-one occupancy sensors in Susan B. Anthony residence hall resulted in an annual energy savings of $700 and electrical reduction of over 7,500 kWh.
Buildings / Landscaping 2010: Hutchinson Hall’s air handling units were reprogrammed for utility optimization. Annual energy savings is $60,000 and electrical reduction is 87,000 kWh.
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: Construction of the Clinical Translation Science Building (200,000ft2 to house more than 600 scientists, physicians, nurses, statisticians, research administrators, and support staff) began. The building will be certified LEED Silver or higher.
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: Smart Growth principles implemented in University’s Campus Master Plan.
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: Replaced two constant speed drives with variable speed drives for the hot water system in Susan B. Anthony dormitory. Reduced energy consumption by 325,550 kWh saving $25,000 annually. Received a $4,500 New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) rebate which paid for half of the project cost. This project annually reduces UR’s carbon footprint by 293,500 lbs. (146 tons).
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: At the Memorial Art Gallery a mothballed economizer was restored to operation. The unit takes used heat from chillers to heat cold air for the dehumidifier units. By taking advantage of the free heat, the boilers were shutdown for the summer months. This reducing natural gas costs by $25,000 annually.
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: In Residential Life buildings, fan schedules were programmed into the building automation control system. Fan operation was reduced six hours per day from 24 hours per day in fourteen buildings. The result was an electrical savings of $13,000 annually and reduction of our carbon footprint of 155,000 lbs. (78 tons) annually.
Buildings / Landscaping 2009: Forty-eight (48) aerators were installed in the Memorial Art Gallery faucets saving approximately $1,750 annually in water, sewer & heating costs and substantially reducing water usage.
Energy 2010: Temperature setbacks continued (68 degrees in winter & 78 degrees in summer) resulting in over $400,000 in energy savings and a reduction of hot water consumption by over 28,000 mmBtu.
Energy 2010: The Association of Collegiate Union International (ACUI) presented the UR Biodiesel team an Excellence in Innovations for Sustainability Award, a national award.
Energy 2010: The Saunders Research Building opened, which houses the Clinical and Translational Science Institute; the building will be the home to hundreds of new jobs and is projected by the Center for Governmental Research to bring $30 million per year to the community from grants and activity. The Saunders Research Building will be the first building at the University to formally receive LEED certification.
Energy 2010: The University of Rochester is strengthening its commitment to sustainability by extending its purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs), using wind energy to power 100 percent of the electricity used in residential life buildings on the River Campus. The University purchased 10,000,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of RECs for the next two years.
Energy 2010: Researchers at the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics have discovered a way to make liquid flow vertically upward along a silicon surface, overcoming the pull of gravity, without pumps or other mechanical devices. In a paper in the journal Optics Express, professor Chunlei Guo and his assistant Anatoliy Vorobyev demonstrate that by carving intricate patterns in silicon with extremely short, high-powered laser bursts; they can get liquid to climb to the top of a silicon chip like it was being sucked through a straw.
Energy 2010: Continued as an EPA’s WasteWise program partner in an effort to help reduce waste output. The program tracks waste and recycling statistics and offers comparisons to similar institutions.
Energy 2010: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has offered its most prestigious award for young scientists, the CAREER Award, to two University of Rochester researchers: Paul Ampadu and Justin Ramsey. The NSF CAREER award is given to promising scientists early in their careers and is selected on the basis of creative proposals that effectively integrate research and education. Ampadu is working to address the critical reliability problem of integrating deep nanometer CMOS and emerging nanoelectronics processors and memories on a chip. These dissimilar blocks communicate with one another over closely spaced, unreliable links, requiring effective error control to improve link reliability at reduced energy and performance costs. Justin Ramsey, assistant professor of biology, won his CAREER award for combining basic research of plant evolution with educational and community outreach efforts related to Rochester-area forest habitats.
Energy 2010: More than 100 University of Rochester students are traded sunscreen and sandals for hammers and shovels as they volunteer their time during the annual Alternative Spring Break. With support from the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and the undergraduate Community Service Network, five groups of students undertook community service projects in Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Energy 2010: The grassroots sponsored "UR Unplugged", is a four-week energy saving competition between dormitories where dorms compete against each other to see who can conserve the most energy compared to the previous year.
Energy 2010: A new program to advance the development of practical solar energy technology worldwide has begun at the University with a $3.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Program director Philippe Fauchet, chairman of Computer and Electrical Engineering in the Hajim School, says the program is also developing innovative and highly interdisciplinary approaches to training the next generation of experts and entrepreneurs in renewable energy.
Energy 2010: Mechanical Engineering Professor Riccardo Betti, one of the world's leading experts on nuclear fusion and a frequent advisor to the federal government on the future of fusion, won the Edward Teller Medal for his research into laser-driven fusion. Betti is the vice chair of the U.S. Department of Energy's Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee, chair of the DOE's High Energy-Density Laboratory Plasmas panel, and a member of the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies of Science.
Energy 2010: Developing alternative energy technologies that can make the United States and other industrialized nations more energy efficient and less reliant on a limited supply of fossil fuels has become a major focus of the high-tech industry. But for the developing world, simply having access to any energy at all is a major challenge. Each year, engineering students at the Hajim School travel to Africa and elsewhere around the globe looking for ways to bring energy to regions that don't have reliable power. Most of the projects are administered by AHEAD Energy, a nonprofit organization started by chemical engineering lecturer Ben Ebenhack and his wife Mary Jeanette.Rainwater harvesting in Kenya sponsored by AHEAD.
Energy 2009: A student led imitative to convert waste vegetable oil at the University of Rochester into biodiesel to run a campus bus was launched. The biodiesel processing station was built; bus was converted to biodiesel and now runs as a student campus shuttle.
Energy 2009: UR Unplugged, a four week energy saving competition between dorms on campus, resulted in a 6.5% decrease in energy consumption compared to 2008.
Energy 2009: 5,802,969 kW of wind power purchased for the year to offset energy used in dorms.
Sustainability 2010: EcoReps program continues to be successful in educating freshman about sustainability; the program is in its third year.
Sustainability 2010: UR Sustainable Facebook page was created to promote and raise awareness about sustainability and to highlight achievements. UR Sustainable has over 200 fans.
Sustainability 2010: The 40th Earth Day celebration occurred on April 22nd. Grassroots coordinated Earth Week, complete with annual tree planting, tye dyeing, a clothing exchange, and live entertainment.
Sustainability 2010: The School of Medicine and Dentistry began using an environmentally friendly chemical-free floor stripping machine for resealing. Floors now only need to be resealed once every two to three years vs. quarterly.
Sustainability 2010: The University continued its support of the University's Home Ownership Incentive Program. Under the program, the University, the city of Rochester and one of two financial institutions—Advantage Federal Credit Union and Canandaigua National Bank & Trust—together contribute up to $9,000 toward the purchase of a primary residence in the neighborhoods closest to the University. In return, employees are required to agree to five-year occupancy and employment commitments and also participate in homeownership education and counseling through NeighborWorks Rochester.
Sustainability 2010: NeighborWorks Rochester recognized the University of Rochester with its Healthy Blocks Partner of the Year Award. NeighborWorks Rochester is a nonprofit housing agency that assists families and first-time buyers in the city with homeownership and helps to ensure their long-term success as homeowners. This award recognizes Rochester's many programs that create strong ties between undergraduates and community members.
Sustainability 2010: A new interdisciplinary curriculum in environmental sustainability will help two independent schools in the U.S. and Africa to educate and lead communities toward a more sustainable energy future by teaching about the science, maintenance, and use of energy technologies. Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Greater Rochester and Uganda will soon engage in cross-cultural dialogues about how energy and other resources are used in their schools in an effort to solve larger sustainability and environmental issues. The Harley School, located in Brighton, N.Y., and Circle of Peace School, located in Makindye, Uganda, are both at the cutting edge of integrating education for sustainability into their classrooms and operating their facilities with renewable energy. Research on curriculum, learning, and assessment, conducted by faculty and students from the University of Rochester, will help middle school students at both schools to gain a better understanding of renewable energy and how to operate the systems installed at their schools.
Dining 2010: First LocaFest sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Living. University of Rochester students and the Rochester community came together to discover different ways to live sustainably and support local vendors.
Dining 2010: During remodeling of The Commons, the space was made more sustainable through the use of sustainable finishes.
Dining 2010: Dining Services implemented a Reusable Clamshell Program and a Mug Refill Program . Students are able to purchase a reusable clamshell container for food from any dining hall and can pick it up or drop it off to be washed at any time. Over 500 were sold on the River Campus. The Mug Refill Program offers reduced pricing for coffee and tea refills if you bring your own mug. 37,652 refills were sold in 2010.
Dining 2010: Continued to develop Team Green. Worked on program continuity by hiring new members at the beginning of the spring semester.
Dining 2010: In April, the University of Rochester's Campus Dining Services hosted the Eat Local, Live Well trade show to promote sustainability and support the local economy. Dining increased the number of local food vendors to thirty-four.
Dining 2009: Dining Services composted between 5,000 and 10,000 lbs of pre-consumer organic waste per month with Freshwise Farms.
Dining 2009: Launched the Nike Reuse a Shoe program to collect used sneakers to be recycled into turf and tracks for athletic fields.
Dining 2009: Held an electronics collection event for employees and students resulting in 13.04 tons of electronics being properly recycled and kept out of our landfill. Included 273 CRT monitors, 387 computers, and 99 printers.
Awards 2010: The University of Rochester is awarded an Environmental Leadership Award by the Rochester Business Journal (RBJ) for its recycling programs. The RBJ recognized nine local businesses with leadership awards in four categories: long-term commitment, pollution prevention, recycle/reuse, and resource reduction.
2008: Participated in its second RecycleMania 2008, a nation-wide competition designed to entice college campuses to recycle more. Grassroots promoted the debut by sponsoring a raffle, passing out free stickers and testing diners' knowledge with a quiz on sustainability.
Sustainability 2008: Held the first E-Waste disposal service designed for students and staff to recycle their personal electronic waste. All electronics collected are dismantled and then recycled.
Sustainability 2008:As part of the University's "Clean & Go Green" campaign, Wallis Hall recycled non-confidential paper, cleaned out desk drawers, deleted old e-mails, and discarded out-dated equipment.
Energy 2008: Purchased 11,600,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) of renewable energy credits (RECs) for the next two years. New York State wind farms will supply 5 percent of the RECs while the remaining 95 percent will come from the wind energy nationwide. Fully 100 percent of the electricity used in residential life buildings on the River Campus is offset with wind energy.
Energy 2008: Professor of Chemical Engineering David Wu received a $1.75 million grant to investigate a way to turn waste biomass, such as grass clippings, cornstalks, and wood chips, into usable hydrogen or ethanol. Wu is employing state-of-the-art genomic approaches to study and enhance the abilities of a microorganism to produce both fuels from farm and forest residues.
Energy 2008:Steven Chu was named Secretary of Energy. Chu earned his bachelor's degrees in mathematics and in physics from the University of Rochester in 1970, and his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1976. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. In 1999, Chu became a trustee of the University of Rochester, and currently serves on the Committee on Academic Affairs and the Committee on Health Affairs.
Buildings / Landscaping 2008: Replaced incandescent bulbs in staff and faculty offices with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLBs). CFLBs use 75% less energy, lasts up to 13x longer, and come in various wattages and configurations. Replacement of incandescent bulbs reduces energy cost by about $52 per bulb over the life of the bulb.
Dining 2008: Created the Food Dudes and the Green Team, to give students a new way to learn about dining services—through their peers. The Food Dudes are training to be experts in the dining industry: ask them questions, they’ve got answers. Green Team members focus on promoting sustainable initiatives and touting the University’s “green” efforts.
Sustainability 2008: Created the University Council on Sustainability, a multi-disciplinary, advisory board council of faculty, students, staff and University trustees. The Council is chaired by Provost Ralph Kuncl and Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations, Ron Paprocki. The council's work will span five years and will coordinate integrated advice on all matters related to environmental and energy sustainability, including research, curriculum, campus operations and community.
Recycling 2007: Recycled 746 tons of cardboard and office paper. The recycling of this quantity of packaging and raw materials avoided their manufacturing and disposal, thereby conserving 12,600 mature trees and and 3,100 cubic yards of landfill air space.
2005: Grounds Department began collecting used ink jet and toner cartridges, using the rebates to buy trees for the Arboretum.
2006: Recycled 4.8 tons of batteries.
2006: Replaced disposable plastic sharps shelters in Strong Memorial Hospital with FDA approved reusable containers. Estimated to save 50,000 pounds of plastic from being landfilled annually.
2006: Started a program to shred the hospital’s confidential documents and recycle the paper. Before this program, confidential documents were placed in the Medical Center autoclave along with the regulated medical waste to ensure they were destroyed. This autoclave waste is then sent to a landfill. During the last quarter of 2006, more than 44,000 pounds of confidential document waste were shredded and then recycled instead of being landfilled.
2006: Began collecting electronic equipment for recycling and reuse. More than 100,000 pounds of used electronics per year were recycled. This has increased to 203,000 pounds in 2006.
2004: Medical Center Housekeeping switched to green cleaning products; less toxic peroxide-based cleaners are being used in many areas.
2000: Strong Memorial Hospital replaced most silver-based X-rays films with digital (around 95 percent by 2006), eliminating the 250-gallon photo chemical mixing tank.
1995-1998: Eliminated the use of mercury at the hospital. We were one of the first hospitals in the country to do so and have repeatedly received national-level recognition for the program.
1994: Established the Waste Minimization Committee and began tracking solid waste generation and recycling. The committee still meets on a quarterly basis and has been very successful in identifying ways to minimize waste.
Dining 2007: Partnered with Freshlink Farms in Penfield, N.Y., to obtain a large portion of our fresh herbs and greens.
2007: The University's Pest Control Unit was one of five recipients of the 2007 Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award from New York state. The University has reduced its use of liquid pesticides from 400 gallons a year in 1994 to the current annual usage of less than 10 gallons.
2007: Participated in RecycleMania!, a competition between more than 200 colleges and universities to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate.
2007: Became the first university in New York state to join the Pride of New York program to promote locally produced foods.
2005: Switched to local bakery.
2005: Introduced cage-free eggs campus wide in September.
2005: Introduced reusable mug program.
2005: Increased the varieties of fair trade coffee served at our coffee locations.
2005: Worked with the student-led UR Fair Trade Campaign to increase student awareness about fair trade issues.
2005: Developed a sustainability policy and hired a student sustainability coordinator.
2006: Hillside Café switched all coffee to the Java City Eco-Grounds program. They serve only Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance coffee.
2006: Partnered with Women’s Coffee Connection to serve their coffee in Danforth Dining Center, Eastman Dining Center, and Southside Market. WCC is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people recover from drug and alcohol abuse. They sell organic, fair trade coffee.
2004: Switched to local co-op for all milk products.
Buildings/Landscaping 2007: University Health Service building designed to meet LEED standards.
2007: The roadway de-icer used by the University becomes the only product of its kind to win th EPA's "Design for the Environment" designation. "Ice B'Gone" is a blended, biodegradable product that works much longer and in significantly lower temperatures than untreated salt, resulting in reduced salt use.
2006: Implemented the NYS Apple program in all dining locations on campus.
2006: Continued efforts to purchase locally produced foods, including partnerships with Balsam Bagels in Rochester, Lipman's Kosher Market in Brighton, and Perry’s Ice Cream in Akron.
2006: Hosted the first “sustainability dinner” in the Meliora using all locally produced foods.
2003: Laboratory for Laser Energetics addition preserved habitat of threatened frog species.
1990-present: Integrated pest management practices for grounds keeping and landscaping.
Energy 2005: Central Utility Plant converts to more efficient “Cogeneration,” simultaneously producing the electricity and steam used to heat and cool River Campus and Medical Center buildings and using no more fuel than if only steam were produced.
2005: Retro-commissioning program started. Four buildings were completed: Ambulatory Care Facility, Schlegel Hall, Gleason Hall, and Rush Rhees Library. Total utility costs avoided is $250,000 per year.
2003: Gem Cars introduced for use by facilities staff in an effort to reduce gas-powered vehicles.
1998: Converted from coal and #6 oil to natural gas and low-sulfur oil, which resulted in improved efficiency of Central Utilities Plant and a drop in our nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.
1998: NOx emissions: 76.02 tons in 2006, compared to 335 tons in 1995
1998: SO2 emissions: less than one ton in 2006, compared to 1,600 tons in 1995