Sustainable Investments Task Force
10/8/13 Meeting Minutes
Task force members in attendance were: Jim Chambers (Chair) (via telephone), Margaret Lindsay (Co-Chair), Mara Donaldson, Michelle Fisher, Steve Hietsch, Will Kochtitzky, Adam Laird
Absent were: Michael Fratantuono, Neil Leary
Others in attendance were: Bronte Jones (VP for Finance and Administration), Keith Gillespie (Assistant Treasurer)
Guests in attendance were: Ken Shultes, Associate Vice President for Campus Operations
Chair Jim Chambers called the meeting to order at 10:36 A.M. He mentioned the importance of the sustainability program. The college lives it and does not just talk about it. At the meeting on 9/27 the group discussed their desire to have concrete recommendations in place by the end of the scheduled meetings. He apologized for not being able to stay for the whole meeting but another commitment required his attendance. He disconnected from the call. Co-chair Margaret Lindsay continued the meeting by saying the meeting will adjourn at noon as agreed at the last meeting.
Steve Hietsch told the committee the minutes from the 9/24/13 meeting will be approved by email. At this time Ken Shultes was introduced and began his presentation.
Sustainability in Operations: Ken Shultes (to be posted on website)
Ken began his presentation by saying there is a lot to say about sustainability operations on campus.
Ken made these points as he went through the presentation:
· Sustainability at Dickinson has interconnectedness among all areas of the campus and the community. Education sustainability has allowed operations to be connected to all areas of the college. It is a tremendous initiative that has elevated what is done in operations into the realm of education and beyond service.
· Before sustainability became an important initiative of the college operations probably would have just hired a contractor to do projects on campus. The college has changed how it thinks about these things. It is looked at as a field learning experience and students and staff help with many of the projects.
· We have a bio-diesel lab on campus where students make bio-diesel to be used in campus vehicles. It helps with our carbon emission goals.
· The farm is a large operational part of what we do and has huge operational connections with the rest of the campus. It is a working farm. We grow crops that are used in the dining hall, participants of the CSA program, sold at the farmers market in town, etc.
· The Treehouse has been a part of the campus since 1990. It is a huge element to what we are doing in sustainability. Students elect to live there because they want to live sustainably in a residence hall on campus. It was renovated in 2005 and is a LEED Gold residence hall. The students hold events, have lectures and learn about sustainability together. It adheres to sustainable principles in terms of how it functions. Students living there consume less than ½ the energy and water than a typical residence hall. The have a pellet stove for heat, a worm factory for composting, they do not have a dryer or air conditioning. There are 14 students living in the Treehouse.
· All areas of operations work closely with the Center for Sustainability Education (CSE). They use the campus as a living lab. Including the way we compost, the handlebar program, use of solar energy, planting edible gardens on campus. The farm and the dining hall are living labs. The way we eat is a huge part of the sustainability initiative in relation to where the food comes from and is it organic.
· The college currently has four LEED Gold buildings: Admissions, Althouse, Rector and the Treehouse. LEED Gold is the second highest rating with LEED Platinum being the highest. The Durden Athletic Training Center project and Kline addition project are going for LEED. The college commitment is LEED Silver or better for new construction or large renovation projects. We have always been better than silver.
· Water is an important part of our sustainability picture in operations. We have worked with students to reduce the water bottles on campus. There is a surcharge on bottled water and we have water fill stations that are paid for Student Senate. Laundry consumes a lot of water and we have high efficiency laundry machines. We have a laundry quota that was initiated three or four years ago. Originally the students were able to do as many loads as they wanted. Now students can do 16 – 17 free loads a semester. That includes washer and dryer. Anything over that they pay for. 80% of students are able to stay within their quota. This reduced water consumption by 1M gallons the first year. We have low flow shower fixtures and waterless urinals.
· Irrigation can use a lot of water but we have been very conservative with it. We have meadows on campus which use rain water and very seldom require mowing. They are very sustainable in how they consume resources. Our tree program is important. We plant more than 40 trees each year.
· We can recycle or compost a large percentage of our discarded materials. We have a very small percentage that goes to the landfill. The dining hall compost goes to the farm, it is used in the crops and produce comes back. It goes full circle.
· Transportation is 26% of our carbon footprint. We are trying to reduce our emissions there. 12.5% of our carbon footprint comes from faculty and staff commuting. We have a lot of programs to reduce this.
· General conservation programs are in place in various areas to conserve energy, reduce paper waste and food waste.
· Carlisle is a sustainable partner and community connection. Examples are: a recycling program, the Road Diet, the bike trail and trail network, the farmers market.
· ALLARM also works with the community. It is a great connection between academics, operations and the community to monitor pollution.
· The Climate Action Plan is a huge part operationally in terms of sustainability. Ken reviewed the timeline. The plan was presented to the PCES a couple weeks ago, and will be presented to P&B next week and to the trustees in October.
· 2008 is the first year they measured our carbon footprint. It was reduced by almost 7% but the recent building of new spaces on campus will kick it back up to where we started.
· Almost half of our emissions come from electricity. About 25-30% of that is from lights. It is almost 50% if you include appliances. 26% is local and abroad travel. Heating, at 20%, is not as big as you would think.
· Strategies to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions come down to: Conservation – turn off lights; Efficiency - buy efficient lights; Renewables – solar.
· The Central Energy Plant is a big part of our energy program and it is very efficient. It provides chilled water and steam to 65% of campus buildings. It is much more efficient than systems in each building.
· Dickinson consumer less energy than peer schools and far less than the national average.
· Sustainability has changed the culture of the college.
Mara asked if the students in the Treehouse still take 3 minute showers. Will said that is true but they can roll over. So by skipping one day you can take a 6 minute shower the next day. Ken said the campus average is about 15 minutes per shower. Steve asked if that much lower energy usage by students at the Treehouse is on a per student or square foot basis. Ken said it is on a square foot basis. The house has a waterless urinal, low flow fixtures, gray water recycling, light tubes, etc. Mara asked if there is always a demand to live there. Will said they have over a dozen applicants for four spots next semester.
Bronte asked how many buildings or rooms have motion sensors for lighting. Ken said most of the new construction academic and administrative buildings have it. The residence halls do not have it and we are planning to do those. The goal would be that the lights would come on as you enter the building and travel down the hallway and then go off behind you. There is also a safety factor involved. It does save money in the long run but it takes time and money to install.
Mara asked if other schools use the same variables to measure emissions. For example: the faculty and staff commuting that gets factored into the total college use. Ken said that is correct. There are bodies that oversee it and it is very specific. There are over 600 colleges and universities that have joined.
Margaret asked how long we have had a Treehouse on campus. Ken said it has been a part of the campus since 1990. It came about because students and faculty members supported it. They were originally in a small house on campus where Rector was built. That was demolished in 2005 when we were preparing to build Rector and three small houses in another location were combined to make the new facility. Margaret asked if this can grow into a residential option if there are more students that want to live this lifestyle. Ken said the new residence hall that has been designed actually has a lot of sustainable concepts and features to it. We recognize students are coming here because of sustainability. A couple years ago one of the quads wanted to be green and did things to allow that to happen. There have been little movements here and there. Our goal should be to advance that movement into other residence halls. Will thinks there is huge need on campus for students who want to make smaller commitments. We need to have more options for students who do not want to go to the extremes the Treehouse residents do. Ken said he understands the Treehouse students kind of like the small size of the house. They like the community aspect of the smaller size. We could make it bigger by connecting a house located next door. Will agreed the current students do want to keep it small because of the community of being together.
Mara asked how the small number or residents in the Treehouse compares to other special interest housing on campus. Ken said it really varies. Some have up to 28 and some only three or four. The dynamics can vary from year to year. We also have off the grid housing on the farm where four interns live in three yurts. It is an interesting possibility.
Margaret asked who actually puts the message together in admissions and how do we compare with our peers as far as admissions materials. Ken said there is an awesome sustainability tour on the website.
There is a sustainability link on the first page of the college website that takes you to that webpage.
Mara thinks another audience for this presentation is an internal audience for continuing education of our current students. It is another form of education for them. Adam agreed. His first semester here he went to the farm and helped put in a solar powered water heater. That is an example of the unique experiences available here at Dickinson.
Will said he wonders how we can connect with the rest of campus. Ken said there is a core group that gets it. He asked Will if he has a sense of how big that core group has become over the past 5 years or so. Will said it used to be a struggle to get people to apply to live in the Treehouse. Now they have more people than open spots. The meetings sizes are getting bigger. Steve asked Ken if the Treehouse was an existing structure. Ken said it was three townhouses they connected together in 2005 and added the renovation cost was around $1.3M. Steve said that is the price of a new residence hall. Ken agreed but also said it is a pretty sophisticated house.
Will asked Ken to explain what LUCID is and when we can get it. Ken explained it is a web-based energy monitoring software package where you can go onto a website and see real-time energy use. He will go over this more at the next meeting as part of his Climate Action Plan presentation. It has a big conservation impact in that it allows students to use kiosks to see what is happening real-time. It has been successful at places where they have implemented it. It has a new feature where it monitors real-time energy usage and can notify staff if spikes are detected to enable them to investigate immediately. Now we cannot do that until energy bills are received a month later. Mara asked when we are we getting it. Ken said it is in the Facilities Management budget this year to start LUCID in the first year residence halls. They are starting there to get that group to start changing behaviors and carry it on through their years here. They are working with CSE on that. Neil Leary is at a conference right now and will meet with the LUCID group.
Mara asked Ken if there things on his wish list. Ken said the great thing about the climate action plan is that it has forced us to look at what projects we want to do and where we want to be. We have to put together a plan to get us to our goal in the seven years we have to do it. We have seven years to reduce our carbon emissions. It is going to be challenging.
Steve said we will get more deeply into the climate action plan at the next meeting.
There being no further business before the task force, the meeting was adjourned at 11:46 A.M.