DeSales University wins Green Campus Award

by James Norwood '12 | Dec 02, 2011

DeSales University is the proud recipient of 2011 Lehigh Valley Sustainability Award Winner

DeSales University students walk around campus. On November 16, DeSales University was awarded the 2011 Green Campus Award by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC), a chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. The University received the recognition because of its many “Go Green” initiatives implemented to promote and operate a sustainable and environmentally friendly campus. 

To be considered for the campus award, schools must have either received or are registered for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a third-party green building certification system designed by the United States Green Building Council. The University’s Rev. Daniel G.Gambet Center for Business and Healthcare Education will be a LEED-certified building. 

Robert Snyder, vice president for administration and finance, accepted the award on behalf of DeSales University and said “the University’s green initiatives began with the support of the University’s president, Father Bernard O’Connor, OSFS, and the Board of Trustees when plans were being made for designing a new student union and discussion commenced about building a LEED certified facility.” 

“The President and Board concluded that LEED, and developing a green, sustainable campus that promotes the careful conservation of natural resources and creates a ‘healthy’ campus and facilities, should be a systemic direction the University embraces, and not simply a one-off project,” said Snyder. 

Other initiatives that the University put in place include competitive programs that were established in residence halls that offer incentives to students for reductions in energy and water usage. Low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets were installed to conserve water in all residence halls, and resulted in excess of 10% in water reduction of the past several years while the resident student population increased by 10%. Energy Star rated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) units were installed wherever possible, and energy efficient lighting is now used in classrooms and offices. 

The campus has also preserved open space and practice areas for intramurals and leisure activities to promote healthy lifestyles. More than a mile of new walkways were installed to encourage pedestrian travel. In addition, single stream recycling was introduced across the entire campus in 2011 reducing the amount of waste going into landfills by 20% while cutting costs by 15%. 

The DVGBC is a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to transform the Delaware Valley through sustainable and environmentally responsible planning, design, construction, and operation of the region’s buildings, landscapes, cities, and communities, mindful of the legacy left for future generations. 

The objective of implementing green building practices is to improve site planning; to safeguard water and ensure its efficient use; to maximize energy efficiency, conserve materials and resources; and to insure indoor environmental quality. The goal is to significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on their occupants and on our environment.

-- James Norwood 12

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