A Greener Dayton

01.18.2013 | Energy and Environment

The University of Dayton committed today to join a regional initiative that wants to build a culture of sustainability in the community and reduce the region's carbon footprint through energy efficiency.

During 2013, the University will work to become part of the Dayton Regional Green 3's Green Business Certification Program, a voluntary program designed to help businesses take basic green measures to reduce their ecological footprint, reduce their energy and resource use and save money in the process. 

"We have worked diligently University-wide the past few years to be faithful stewards of our environment in the Catholic, Marianist tradition. Much in the same way we have worked to instill a sustainability culture on campus, we look forward to being part of such a movement in our region," said Kurt Hoffmann, University of Dayton environmental sustainability manager.

The program encourages organizations to make changes to everyday routines and use strategies that save energy and possibly save thousands of dollars a year. The program emphasizes solid waste reduction and recycling, environmentally conscious purchasing, energy conservation, water conservation and pollution prevention. Organizations receive points for each benchmark they reach, according to Kevin Hallinan, DRG3 advisory board co-chair.

Program officials made the announcement at a Jan. 17 news conference alongside officials from the University, Premier Health Partners, PNC Bank and the Dayton Art Institute, among others.

"If you look at cities who have success in community-wide sustainability awareness, there's a recognized organization. We haven't had that, so we are trying to grow a recognizable organization. These organizations joining us today will help," said Hallinan, also a University of Dayton mechanical and aerospace engineering professor whose research focuses on energy issues.

For the University of Dayton, it's easy being green.

Since 2009, the University has undergone a campaign to reduce energy, instituted one of the largest university food composting efforts in the nation, started a master's program in renewable and clean energy, participated in a pilot recycling program providing each of the University's approximately 633 housing units in the student neighborhood with large recycling bins, gave students report cards demonstrating how they use energy, and built its first green buildings.

During the energy reduction campaign, the University saved more than $600,000. In the first year of the food-scraps recycling effort, the University diverted 200 tons from landfills. Demand is nearly three times the projected enrollment figures for the renewable and clean energy master's program. Eight-five percent of the 469 monitored student residences received an average or better score on their report cards, and the University estimated a $20,000 savings on gas and electric.

The University is continuing its eco-friendly efforts with new construction.

The $51-million GE Aviation Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center currently under construction will be the University's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED) building.

Five new houses built in the student neighborhoods for the 2012-2013 school year are certified as green buildings under the National Association of Homebuilders national green building standard.

A pair of national organizations have recognized the University for its efforts.

The University made The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges and it earned a Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS®) bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Find more information about the University of Dayton's sustainability efforts, visit the related link.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of media relations, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.