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.