Environmental sustainability has long been an inherent aspect of both daily operations and long term planning within the Department of Facilities Management. From the adoption of a full scale recycling program to the implementation of a web-based work order system to the birth of the Green Devil, Facilities Management constantly strives to be a driving force in the greening of Dickinson College.
Recycling: During the 1991-92 academic year, recycling went from a student led initiative to collect aluminum cans to a full scale campus operation to collect not only cans, but all metal, plastic, glass and paper recyclables. This could not have been achieved without the efforts of the housekeeping and grounds staffs within Facilities. Currently, the recycling program diverts approximately 175 tons from the landfill each year.
Maintenance: Facilities utilizes a web-based work order system which allows the Dickinson Community to quickly and easily notify us of leaks, heating problems and other maintenance issues enabling our dedicated maintenance staff to more quickly address them and thus decrease waste and increase efficiency. Staff can check for new requests while on campus or be notified via text and the reporting and tracking features of the system allows Facilities staff to monitor and analyze maintenance issues throughout campus and more quickly find and correct ongoing problems. Additionally, in the four years since going fully electronic, we have saved over 60,000 sheets of paper.
Energy: Facilities Management employs several strategies to reduce the College’s consumption of natural resources, ranging from the types of equipment used to the manner in which it is controlled. A large percentage of the main campus is connected to the Central Energy Plant on the east end of Kaufman Hall, which supplies steam heat and chilled water cooling. The use of a central plant is more effective and cost efficient than having an individual boiler and condenser in each building. We also utilize dual-fuel boilers, which allows the energy management team to switch between natural gas and oil based on cost and availability. Many large academic buildings and a few large residence halls are also part of a web-based heating control system that allows for monitoring and adjustments from the Facilities Management office. The central plant concept is also used for the distribution of electricity (100% of which is offset by wind energy) to the majority of large buildings on campus. During down times, such as winter break, we employ stringent curtailment policies that significantly reduce our consumption without jeopardizing a building’s functionality.
Grounds: The beautiful grounds, which are a signature of the College, play a large role in our effort to be environmentally conscientious. All grass clippings and fall leaves are either mulched and returned directly to the ground or composted for later use in the landscaping. Recent years have seen an increased use of native plants, and we have an extensive tree planting and management system.
Housekeeping: In addition to the role Housekeeping plays in recycling, they also employ green cleaning products which are better not only for the environment, but also the health of our Housekeepers and the occupants of the buildings they service. Currently, Facilities purchases Green Seal Certified cleaning products for categories where such certification is available and Biorenewable products where certification is not available. Moving forward, Housekeeping also hopes to continue replacing paper towels with high-efficiency hand dryers in public bathrooms. Please click here to see our Green Cleaning Policy.
Construction: Efficiency and sustainability play a large role in the planning and construction of new buildings and large renovations throughout campus. The College and Facilities Management are dedicated to obtaining a minimum of LEED Silver Certification for all new buildings and renovations moving forward. Currently, the Center for Sustainable Living (the Treehouse), the Rector Science Center, and Waidner Admissions House are certified as LEED Gold for New Construction and Althouse Hall is certified LEED Gold for Existing Buildings.