Steps We’ve Taken
Saint Peter’s University has already taken many steps toward sustainability and has several initiatives in planning stages. Since President Cornacchia signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2008, progress is already apparent. Through its business partnerships with Sodexo Dining Services, Collins Building Services and R3 Energy Management, Audit & Review, Saint Peter’s University has leveraged campus greening efforts in a variety of ways.
Effective beginning January 1, 2010, the electricity purchased for all buildings on the Saint Peter’s University Jersey City campus will be 100 percent renewable “green” energy for a minimum of one year.
In November 2011 the College appointed ENER-G to deliver a $6.3 million energy services contract for its West Campus in Jersey City. The project calls for the installation of clean technology that will reduce carbon emissions by 6.4 million pounds per year. This will equate to the carbon saving benefits of a 615 acre pine forest.Slated for completion in June 2012, the campus will see the installation of solar arrays above a number of buildings to generate electricity, replacement of outdated mechanical equipment and installation of a cogeneration plant that will produce both low carbon heat and electricity for academic buildings on the West Campus.
Saint Peter’s will be the second private university in the state of New Jersey to purchase green energy as its sole source of electricity, thereby displacing an estimated 3,065 metric tons of carbon dioxide throughout the year, which is the equivalent of planting 2,761 acres of trees or removing 7,697,000 miles of vehicle travel from roadways. Other energy conservation strategies and accomplishments include:
- A comprehensive greenhouse gas emissions report of all University emissions, including transportation, has been compiled.
- Two 100 percent electric Mini Cooper vehicles, for use by Admissions and Campus Safety, have been leased.
- Seven SPC Residence Halls competed in two campus conservation contests in an effort to attain the highest percentage reduction in electricity and water usage. Read the latest results on the Conservation Competition page.
- The laundry rooms in the Residence Halls were equipped with Maytag Neptune front load high-efficiency, Energy Star washers and dryers. Each of these washers will save approximately 15,000 gallons of water a year.
- Absorption chillers at the Recreational Center and McDermott Hall were replaced with state-of-the-art premium efficiency electric chillers with Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs). These were the first chillers of its kind to be installed within an educational facility in the state of New Jersey.)
- From 2004 – 2007 the College reduced the total energy consumption for the main campus (i.e., #2 fuel oil, natural gas and electricity) by 29%. This measure avoided expulsion of 1,450 tons of harmful CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. (That’s the equivalent of 225,000 trees grown or the displacement of 350 cars from the road.)
- Sub-meters were installed in select locations throughout campus to better account for energy use and determine the origins of energy usage issues.
- University Services has upgraded much of the lighting to increase the efficiency, and the increasing use of occupancy sensors generates additional energy and carbon savings.
- The installation of motion sensor controlled water fixtures in bathrooms throughout campus saves water as well as the electricity used in heating wasted water.
- R3 has “plugged in” Saint Peter’s University to the network of available public and utility initiatives that encourage and economically support sound energy/ environment projects, including New Jersey SmartStart Buildings and Comverge Demand Response Reduction. This latter program, where Saint Peter’s agrees to turn off air conditioning for one hour at peak use times, has brought us substantial financial savings.
Recycling Our Resources
In addition to our energy conservation strategies, the University has implemented the use of a variety of recycled and “green” products on campus:
- All University offices, including student computer labs, are only permitted to purchase recycled paper (minimum 25% recycled paper) for printers and copy machines.
- Collins Building Services has switched its cleaning products to green seal formulas.
- Sodexo, our campus food service, has banned Styrofoam cups and plates.
- Sodexo has begun committing a small percentage of whole foods purchased through local sources. This has a significant effect not only on food freshness but lowering thousands of “food miles” and greenhouse gases (GHG).
- Increased choices in Fair Trade coffee that favor direct, just relations with farming communities and organic production methods.
- Tray-free dining: for every 2000 persons enjoying a meal, 200 gallons of water are saved. Plus enormous amounts of food waste are prevented from going into landfills and producing methane gas, a potent GHG.
- Enrollment Services now provides course schedule information using SPIRIT Online, eliminating the consumption of tens of thousands of sheets of paper used to print course schedules each semester.
- The Office of Admission is committed to the use of recycled products for publications as well as working with vendors respectful of the environment.
Saint Peter’s University has been awarded $1,000 from the Society for Biodiversity Preservation (SBP) to create a “Native Plant Garden for Birds and Pollinators.” The garden is currently under development along Gannon Hall. The goal of the project is to restore natural habitat and promote biodiversity. Plans include planting native species such as wildflowers that will support bees and butterflies. Milkweed will be planted as a food source for Monarch butterflies and shrubs such as blueberry, elderberry and viburnum will be added to produce food and shelter for birds. Wild ginger, purple coneflower, New England aster, cardinal flower and wild columbine are examples of perennials planned for the garden. The SBP grant includes funds for expanding feeding stations used for Project FeederWatch (PFW), a winter survey of birds, which will soon be in its 5th season on campus. In addition, several students involved in PFW have been assisting in the hard work of removing foreign and invasive plants from the site to make way for native species. Pictured above is Kathy Wydner, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and director of the grant.
Other Green Efforts
Past events for awareness and action include lectures on environmental issues, screenings of documentaries, community clean-up projects, and contests encouraging green action and awareness. In addition:
- A small vegetable, herb and flower garden was planted behind the King-Kairos House.
- The SPC Library offers a link to Green File, a free research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with well-researched but accessible information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond.
- SPC Students can join S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violating the Earth), which sponsors environmental activities which are often service-based.
- The Environmental Studies major and Environmental Science concentration offer new learning opportunities for students entering our ever-greening economy, and increases the presence of Saint Peter’s as a socially and ecologically responsible institute of higher education. The Environmental Studies program prepares students interested in the environment to enter the corporate world, government, media, community-based organizations, or the legal profession. The concentration option gives students a solid background in the science and mathematics needed for environmental science careers. Both programs are housed in Gannon Hall , the University’s science building. Gannon Hall features a roof top greenhouse used by biology and ecology classes and contains multiple species of the plant kingdom.