Northern Arizona University, "A University Going Green"

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Type: Policy

Status: Published on 8/31/07

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A university going green

Northern Arizona University has accepted the challenge to take a leadership role in creating a healthy, thriving, just and sustainable world.

This commitment is demonstrated in the curriculum, the construction of high-efficiency buildings, the use of reclaimed water, the implementation of a recycling program, the adoption of a sustainability plan and the university’s participation in a national coalition of university presidents to address the challenges of climate change.

The university hopes to win green when it earns a trifecta in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The Applied Research and Development building should qualify for a “Platinum” rating with the Business building qualifying for a “Gold” rating and the Engineering a “Silver.”

Means of being green

  • NAU has committed to fueling most of its bus fleet and other vehicles used on campus with bio-diesel. Bio-diesel is a renewable fuel made from plant matter––usually a farm crop such as soybean––that burns cleaner than petroleum diesel.
  • Through a partnership with the city of Flagstaff, NAU has significantly reduced waste by increasing the amount of material that it recycles. With the program, NAU diverts an average of 21 tons of recyclables per week.
  • Forty-five percent of campus irrigation uses reclaimed water, saving more than 8 million gallons of potable water each year. With continuing assistance from the city of Flagstaff, the university will meet 95 percent of its irrigation needs with reclaimed water by next summer.
  • A 160-kilowatt photovoltaic system donated by APS provides more than 20 percent of the electricity for the Applied Research and Development building. About 20 percent of the estimated needs of the ARD building will be supplied by solar energy. Excess power will be fed back into the grid with a credit to the university.
  • Sodexho-NAU partners with local charitable organizations including food banks and women’s and children’s shelters to disperse hundreds of pounds of surplus food to those in need.