The U’s newest sustainable space

Faculty, staff and students are invited to a sustainability showcase in the U’s new Sustainability Office on Monday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in suite 50 of the Business Classroom Building.

The event will feature a number of exciting university initiatives, including the Real Food Challenge and the new graduate certificate in sustainability. President David Pershing and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ruth Watkins will unveil results from the U’s commitments to sustainable energy, food, health and education, and Chief Sustainability Officer Amy Wildermuth will discuss the university’s recent reorganization of sustainability.

web lobby_web“The Sustainability Office brings together different aspects of the U’s efforts to institutionalize sustainability,” Wildermuth said. “By bringing student engagement, curriculum and research into one space, we can enhance our collective creativity as we work to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.”

Myron Willson, director of the Sustainability Resource Center, worked closely with university administrators and Facilities Management to remodel the suite with green features, including all LED lights, occupancy sensors, recycled-content carpet tiles leftover from another campus project and low VOC-paint.

“It’s important for the Sustainability Office to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to energy reduction and use of non-emitting products and green-certified furniture,” Willson said.

The LED light installation and its corresponding control system are the Sustainability Office’s most aggressive action to reduce emissions. In office lighting, an average incandescent setup uses approximately 3 watts per square foot, while a fluorescent system uses less than half that much. The LED lighting in the Sustainability Office uses dramatically less than even a fluorescent system—less than one-third of a watt per square foot when the lights are fully turned up. Its control system also allows the office to determine each member’s individual hourly energy use, creating the opportunity for competitions within the office to drive down energy use even further.sustainabilityoffice_2web

During the remodel, walls were removed to provide more collaborative spaces for students, interns, staff and faculty. To help activate the space, the remodel included moveable furniture, adjustable height tables for standing, additional whiteboards, an Energy Star-screen for presentations and wall space for art displays to create an environment that supports people from all disciplines and backgrounds gathering to develop solutions that address the systems’ nature of sustainability work.

“For the first time in our office’s history, we have the ability to host and support efforts that engage a large number of stakeholders, including researchers, project managers from Facilities Management, campus planners, Commuter Services representatives, students, administrators and other partners,” Willson said.