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Monday, November 12, 2007

Campus Sustainability Actions at Central Michigan University

(Press Release provided by Thomas K. Rohrer, Asst. Prof. & Director Environmental Studies Program, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan)

CMU saves millions by going green - recycling doubles
MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Smith, 989-774-3197
PROGRAM CONTACT: Steve Lawrence, 989-774-7473

Central Michigan University is saving millions of dollars annually by joining the green movement. Energy efficiency, construction, renovation, transportation and recycling are some areas in which the facilities management department at CMU is instituting environmentally friendly changes.

"This year we have a budget of $9.3 million for energy, utility and waste costs," said Steve Lawrence, CMU's associate vice president of facilities management. "Our goal is to reduce those costs by ten percent over the next two years."

The use of woodchips as a renewable fuel source for steam requirements saves the university up to $2 million annually in fuel costs. An additional $1 million or more, over the course of the four-year contract, will be saved as a result of a university contract with Wolverine Power Marketing Cooperative to purchase electricity.

Facilities management and residence life also are in the process of modifying nearly 11,000 bathroom fixtures by installing special water conservation aerators and discs in order to reduce water and sewer costs. The new faucet diffusers will reduce water flow from 2.0 gallons per minute to 0.5 g.p.m.

Last year, it was decided that all future new buildings and major renovations would follow the U.S. Green Building Council guidelines. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program provides very specific guidelines that buildings must meet in order to become certified. According to Lawrence, the new education building will be the first on CMU's campus to follow the LEED criteria.

"We are constructing a building that will have less impact on the environment than any other building at CMU," said Lawrence. "We are expecting it to meet LEED silver certification standards, meaning it will use less energy, water and natural resources," he said.

Even cleaning products used on campus are environmentally friendly. Jay Kahn, director of facilities operations at CMU, says that selecting cleaning products that carry environmental certifications is called "green cleaning." Currently, the university is switching to the use of Green Earth floor cleaner, disinfectant and peroxide cleaner. "Each of these products costs less and are as effective or better than the products they replace," said Kahn.

Meanwhile, recycling on-campus has doubled. In June 2007, CMU averaged 38 tons of recycling materials per month, a 19-ton increase from August 2003. CMU students and employees are encouraged to utilize the dozens of recycling containers located around campus. Additional containers and bins are available by contacting facilities management at 989-774-6547 or