Smith College, MA "The Green Team"

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Smith College, MA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

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The Green Team

The Green Team is a coalition of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to fostering sustainability at Smith. We work to educate and support the campus community and the college's sustainability committee in the efficient use of finite natural resources. Our work touches many areas of Smith's operations, including construction, transportation, purchasing, materials use, energy use, and waste management. We also coordinate with those who determine the college's curriculum and investment practices to increase awareness of the relationship between Smith policies and environmental concerns. Through incremental changes in everyday activities, we seek to transform the college's practices so we can achieve the greatest possible efficiencies in preventing pollution and using natural resources.

Physical Plant

Million Monitor Drive
In May 2005, Physical Plant and ITS began their effort to enable the ENERGY STAR power management features on computers connected to the Smith network. This is also known as the "Million Monitor Drive" or "Sleep Is Good" campaign. The changes to date have been small, but the potential savings are huge: 730,000 kWh (3% of Smith's total electrical use), $60,000, and 520 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Better Insulation
In June 2005, Smith College hired local contractor KLM to begin replacing missing or damaged insulation on the steam pipes in the tunnels and manholes. Pipe covering had been removed for service, or by weathering and age. Estimated savings are 3400 million BTU, $18,600, and 275 tons of CO2 per year.

Campus-Wide Temperature Setback
Last year, Physical Plant coordinated a campus-wide temperature setback during winter break. During J-term, all areas with automatic temperature controls were set back an extra 5ºF. This covered 35 buildings or 1.25 million square feet. Savings were estimated at 2300 million Btu, $1400, and 190 tons of CO2.

Gymnasium Lighting Project
The project is budgeted at $100,000 and will save up to $50,000 a year.

The environmental benefits of this project are also huge, as the electric savings will reduce emissions from power plants supplying our local grid. We estimate that this project will eliminate the release of 3.5 tons of compounds that cause smog and acid rain, and 350 tons of carbon dioxide, each year. That greenhouse gas savings is equivalent to planting 70 acres of forest or taking 80 cars off the road.

John M. Greene Exit Signs
In July 2005, the architectural built-in exit signs at John M. Greene hall were replaced. This was not a straightforward retrofit, since these signs were built into existing millwork in such an architecturally sensitive location. The existing units used two 15-watt incandescent bulbs each, and these used a tremendous amount of energy, generated excess heat, and burned out often. Custom LED kits were ordered that fit the existing signs, used just 2 watts each, and lasted 25+ years. Annual savings are projected to be 6200 kWh, $1000, and 4200 pounds of CO2.

Building and Residential Services
Building Services has taken many steps on the road to sustainability. We are phasing out the use of aerosol products for cleaning.

In the student housing we have switched to waterless hand sanitizer in the upstairs bathrooms to conserve water. In the academic buildings we have switched from bar soap to a liquid antibacterial soap.

We are in the process of testing general purpose cleaners in the student houses that are green seal approved. Our hope is to choose one of these cleaners by the beginning of September for use by our student weekend housekeepers. We are also using a floor cleaner that is green seal approved.

The paper towels and toilet paper that are used throughout the campus are made from recycled products.

We are in the process of shifting to more energy efficient light bulbs and are running a fluorescent bulb recycling program which helps protect the environment from mercury contamination.

Incandescent Lamp Replacement Project
At Cutter-Ziskind we will replace 240 incandescent 75-watt flood lamps with 16-watt compact fluorescent, and 38 incandescent exit signs with LED's. This will decrease the lighting load by 72% (13,700 watts) while saving 88,600 kWh and $7300 a year.

This will also reduce the amount of pollutants released by the power plants that create our electricity. The annual emissions reductions are 300 pounds of compounds that cause smog and acid rain, and 30 tons of carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas. That savings is equivalent to planting 6 acres of forest land or taking 7 cars off the road for good.

In addition to the energy savings, we will save on maintenance as well. The compact fluorescent bulbs are rated to last 8000-12,000 hours, and we have had several go beyond 14,000 hours. In contrast, incandescent bulbs are rated for 1000 hours. And although the maintenance savings may not pay off in dollars, there are many important things our housekeeping staff will do when they're not changing light bulbs that burn out 6-8 times a year.

There are around 3,000 potential incandescent retrofits on campus, not counting the desk and table lamps that the students will bring for their rooms.

We will be running a promotion at central check-in where students can purchase their own energy-efficient lamps at a substantial discount. If each of Smith's 2600 students replaces one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 20-watt compact fluorescent, the savings will be THREE TIMES GREATER (e.g. 90 tons of CO2 per year).