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New campus sustainability projects announced

  • Campus Kitchen
    Campus Kitchen  Participants create different foods during the kick-off event for William & Mary's chapter of Campus Kitchen in 2007. A donation was made on behalf of the organization to sponsor one of the new campus sustainability projects at William & Mary.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
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The William & Mary Committee on Sustainability (COS) has approved funding for 14 new projects, including efforts to improve energy efficiency and performance of existing facilities and a series of pilot studies and educational outreach programs.

The sustainability projects, funded through the student "Green Fee," are part of the ongoing effort to advance the College's Sustainability Policy announced by William & Mary President Taylor Reveley in the Spring of 2008. The 14 projects total nearly $92,000 in funding from the Green Fee. Last fall, COS announced the first round of awards with five projects totaling $53,000. Green Fees have also been allocated to the Green Endowment ($40,000) and four Student Summer Research Grants ($20,000). 

"We had a diverse and interesting group of proposals that came from faculty, students and staff throughout the College. What is especially striking about the proposals is that they demonstrate how sustainability is strengthening our sense of community, linking faculty, staff and students in new and compelling ways," said Lynda Butler, co-chair of COS and interim dean of the William & Mary Law School. Butler added that the Committee on Sustainability received 28 separate proposals this spring for projects that would have totaled $263,000. "All of the proposals addressed areas needing improvement, including energy efficiency, lifestyle choices, and maintenance," she said.  "We were only limited by the amount of funds available.

Funded projects addressing the need to improve energy efficiency and performance of existing facilities include:

  • Swem Library Towel Dispenser Replacement ($4,500): From Swem Library Staff. Retrofit will save approximately $1,756 in paper towel costs during the first year of operation and $4,455 in each subsequent year. The amount of paper waste will also be drastically reduced, resulting in a lowered carbon footprint.
  • Tyler Hall HVAC ($27,000): From Facilities Management. HVAC replacement will improve energy efficiency, yielding a projected payback of 5.3 years and continued savings thereafter with a lowered carbon footprint.
  • Washington Hall HVAC Phase I ($23,000): From Facilities Management. Installation of variable speed drives on supply fans will improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, and produce annual savings of $7,600.
  • VIMS: Fluorescent Light Upgrades in the Hargis Library ($18,000): Replacement of existing fixtures with enhanced energy efficient fixtures will reduce energy consumption and reduce the carbon footprint.
  • VIMS: Green Team Lighting Motion Sensors ($3,040): From Heidi Geisz (student) on behalf of the VIMS Green Team. Support to install motion sensors and two motion sensor controlled lights in high traffic areas. Project will significantly reduce energy use in these areas.

Other projects that include pilot studies and education/outreach programs include:

  • Eco-House Energy Use Monitoring ($5,300): From Lauren Edmonds on behalf of Eco-House. To provide energy metering for the Eco-House. One of the goals of Eco-House is to learn how changes in resident life can improve energy efficiencies in the W&M residence halls. Metering will allow for a variety of test cases and competitions among residents that will yield useful data on best energy practices.
  • The Reduce Your Use-athon ($150): From Sarah Baum (student) on behalf of the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC). Support for the SEAC Energy Campaign in the Randolph Complex. COS provided Green Fee support to install electric metering in the Randolph Complex last fall. This award will allow SEAC to utilize that metering capability to run energy savings competitions.
  • The Campus Kitchen ($225): From Jessica Kim on behalf of Campus Kitchen. To support replacement of Styrofoam food containers with the biodegradable containers currently used in Dining Services.
  • Eco-Ambassadors Program ($3,150): From Pat van Zandt, director of research, instruction and outreach at Swem Library and John Kirn (student). To support an Eco-Ambassadors pilot program whose purpose is to enlist and educate student and staff volunteers (Eco-Ambassadors) to work cooperatively in teams of two to initiate and promote sustainability efforts in units, departments or divisions across the university.
  • Green Roof Feasibility Study ($1,900): From Amanda Anderson (student) and Mark Forsyth, associate professor of biology and faculty project advisor. To provide a green roof testing plot for evaluation of green roof design and maintenance characteristics. Project will allow projections of cost and continuing maintenance requirements needed to evaluate feasibility.
  • GreenBoard Training ($2,500): From Tom Linneman, associate professor of sociology and Michael Blum, of Information Technology. Support to develop and offer a series of workshops for faculty interested in using electronic media to have a paperless classroom.
  • Reusable Takeout Container Pilot Study ($75): From Sarah Will and Ian Fuller (students) and Rowan Lockwood, associate professor of geology and faculty advisor, on behalf of Eco-House. To support a pilot study with the residents of Eco-House that replaces disposable take-out containers with permanent, re-usable containers. Pending the results, the program may be extended to all incoming freshmen.
  • Waste Receptacle Pilot Study ($1,000): From Brittany Fallon (student) and Dave Shepard, director of facilities management and project advisor. Support for a single dormitory pilot study to ensure that students are provided with both waste and recycling containers in dorm rooms and explore whether this action increases recycling and decreases misuse. If effective, the program may be extended to other residences.
  • Student Life Signage ($2,000): From Melody Porter, assistant director of student volunteer services and the COS Student Life Working Group. Support for a Signage Project to encourage increased sustainability habits among students. Signage will educate students about the savings that could be realized by making simple changes, like reducing shower times, turning off water, recycling properly, and turning off lights when not in use.

The projects are all made possible by the Green Fee. Last year, students overwhelmingly voted in favor of an annual $30 fee to support sustainability projects and research at the College. The administration endorsed the effort and the fee was approved in spring 2008 by the William & Mary Board of Visitors. The fee generates about $200,000 each year for facility improvements, research and a "Green Endowment." The fee is administered by the COS - a committee of faculty, staff and students appointed last fall by President Reveley.

"In the past six months we have made great progress and now have over 120 volunteer students, faculty and staff involved in COS subcommittees and working groups," said Dennis Taylor, co-chair of COS and professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.  "This is a significant commitment of time and energy by members of the W&M community.  The proposals we have received and those we supported with the Green Fee in this current round are a reflection of how that same community has come together to create a sustainable future for the College."