Building and Landscape Design
Identify and implement sustainable practices for building and landscape design on Georgia College campuses.
- Explore the use of storm water to irrigate landscaping
- Create a centralized control for all campus irrigation
- Evaluate Geoblock grass parking lots on campus
- Have new construction meet or exceed the University System of Georgia Sustainable Energy Management Plan (pdf)
- Certify new buildings and renovations under the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System (pdf)
- Have renovations meet or exceed the Georgia Sustainable Energy Management Plan
- Create specific building standards for Georgia College
Georgia College uses the latest technologies in building and grounds management. Our landscaping program utilizes stormwater management, native plantings, and compost cycling. The campus has two LEED Silver buildings Wellness & Recreation Center and Ennis Hall. Please take a moment to examine the exciting sustainable designs in the Ennis Hall Case Study (pdf) document.
As we continue to grow and develop GC campus, there is a growing concern for the impacts of our buildings and landscaping. Here are some links to help explain the concepts of sustainable design:
Encourage the attitudes, choices and habits that support sustainability at the institutional and personal level in the Georgia College community and connect civic responsibility to learning experiences, both inside and outside the classroom through community services, education and outreach.
Public Education Goals
- Create VISIBLE Signs of Green Initiative on Campus
- Increase awareness of all programs relevant to sustainability that exist on campus
- Encouraging habits that promote sustainability
- Encourage incentives, awards that promote sustainability
- Create a network of faculty whose courses promote sustainability
- Increase curricular components by supporting faculty
- Assessment of sustainability components
Campus Energy Use
Lower Georgia College’s carbon footprint through the reduction of energy consumption and create an atmosphere at GC where conservation of energy is expected and rewarded.
- Meet the Governor’s Energy Challenge, which is to reduce energy consumption per square foot by 15% below the 2007 level, and to do so by 2020
- Meter all buildings separately
- Encourage and reward all employees who work in their respective buildings to save energy
- Continue to improve facilities building automation systems to allow for more flexibility with HVAC controls and temperature range as well as to establish protocols which will provide the greatest flexibility and reduce energy consumption
Georgia College's energy use is enormous; each year we spend over $2 million on electricity alone. Conserving energy is smart for other reasons as well: burning coal to produce power can be inefficient and polluting, it damages local communities in coal-mining regions, and it discourages cleaner local solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The most important thing you can do is to reduce your energy use by being aware of how much you consume. While we all want to be warm and safe, we don't need to leave the lights on or the heat up when there isn't anyone in the room. Please turn out the lights and lower the thermostat when you leave. Here are some valuable links that suggest easy ways to reduce your energy use.
Here are some simple suggestions from the National Wildlife Federation for reducing your carbon impact and saving our campus valuable energy resources:
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Hang dry clothes
- Turn off power strips
- Replace your old light bulbs with Compact Florescent Lights
- Use computer labs instead of personal computers
- Turn down the brightness on your screen
- Turn your computer off instead of putting it in standby
- Walk stairs instead of taking elevator
- Bike or use public transportation instead of driving your car
- Take fewer showers
- Adjust your thermostat (78 in summer; 68 in winter)
- Put plastic on your windows to winterize your dorm room more effectively
- Dress more warmly, wear more layers
- Sign a campus energy pledge to abide by certain energy reduction strategies
- Generate your own ideas and share them with others
Georgia's industries, including schools, can do a lot to save energy!
Sustainable Funding Intitiatives
Explore and obtain funding from outside sources to facilitate and support the economic and environmental sustainability of our institution.
- Identify potential sources for funding to support economic and environmental campus initiatives.
- Share grant opportunities with the Sustainability Council and working groups.
- Obtain a clear picture from all Green Initiative/Sustainability Council working groups of projected key initiatives over the next 3-5 years that would benefit from Grant Funding.
- Hope to have lists of key initiatives with types of projects of interest to working groups by the October Sustainability Council meeting.
- Develop systematic plans for identifying, planning, writing, and submitting proposals that build on the specific interests, needs and priorities of working groups. Work closely with the Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects and working group members to implement and facilitate funded projects. Seek funding project requests from other working groups in order to determine specific projects, priorities and timelines
- Provide updates on the progress of sustainability grant initiatives.
Sustainability Fee Program
Georgia College has a strong commitment to sustainable practices and responsible use of resources. In this tradition, Georgia College initiated a student green fee in 2010 to fund collaborative research projects between students, staff and faculty with the aim of making the campus more sustainable. As a means of supporting sustainability, the Sustainability Fee Program can allocate funds for research and teaching that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse student body, and promotes high levels of student achievement.
Furthering the GC tradition of "Connecting What Matters", the Sustainability Fee was designed to draw students into the process of "greening" our campus by allowing them to submit proposals in the area of sustainability to which they are most committed. This fee allows us to use the physical campus as a laboratory for developing effective ways to improve the environmental sustainability of our campus and community.
To supplement the Sustainability Fee Program, the GC Sustainability Council encourages alumni, staff, faculty and friends to support the Green Initiative by soliciting contributions to the University Foundation account #869 (Green Initiative). Tax-deductible donations to the Green Initiative provide essential resources for making Georgia College sustainable.
Materials Recovery and Recycling
To facilitate an efficient materials management program making Georgia College a more environmentally sustainable campus.
- Identify current waste reduction efforts
- Audit campus waste stream
- Implement composting program
- Implement institutionalized recycling program
- Educate campus on waste management
A primary effort to promote materials conservation at Georgia College has been our recycling program. This endeavor engages student, staff, and faculty volunteers to contribute to the collection and transportation of recyclables. Students earn service hours and recognition for their effort.
Organics and Composting
To support the continuance and growth of the West Campus Garden and to promote the use of composting as a means of making Georgia College a more sustainable campus.
- Continue growing produce at the West Campus Garden
- Seek additional opportunities for future garden projects
- Provide quality produce to the members of the campus
- Continue the recovery and composting of lawn material on campus
- Divert pre- and post-consumer food waste generated in the dining hall from the landfill by composting it in the in-vessel system
- Provide quality soil amendment for use on the campus, both by the Grounds Department and at the West Campus Garden
For over 20 years, lawn material, such as tree branches, shrubbery, and other plants, has been composted by the Grounds Department. They have used the compost material generated to benefit landscaping on the Georgia College campus. Susan Daniels, Assistant Director of Grounds, has been instrumental in ensuring the success of these efforts. In addition, Mrs. Daniels and her crew continually promote sustainable landscaping practices around campus.
In 2014, through the Sustainability Fee Program, the Sustainability Council approved a student-led project to extend composting efforts to food waste. Since the approval of the project, a Model 205 in-vessel composting unit has been installed; and the process of collecting food waste from the Max has begun. The research portion of this project will last one to three years, after which a best practices manual for collecting and composting pre- and post-consumer waste from the Max will be produced and used to ensure the continued success of the program.
In 2015, also through the Sustainability Fee Program, the Sustainability Council approved a student-led project to create a garden on campus which is called the West Campus Garden. Construction began in the summer of 2015; gardening began on August 29, 2015; and a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 5, 2016. The West Campus Garden is a community garden and student involvement is encouraged.
Provide and facilitate alternative sustainable transportation opportunities for Georgia College students, faculty, and staff.
- Facilitate bike path construction project near campus and from Main Campus to West Campus
- Explore opportunities regarding alternative fuels for campus shuttles
- Develop and implement programs which reduce GC required travel
- Investigate new parking options and alternatives
Move Georgia College toward greater environmental sustainability in the area of water conservation.
- Improve methods employed to measure campus water use and provide periodic water use reports
- Record and track water conservation related projects
- Review best practices in water conservation and cost efficiency
- Generate greater awareness of local and global water conservation issues
- Recommend actions that reduce water use and promote cost efficiency
The drought of 2007 forced GC campus to come to grips with the fact that water in Georgia is becoming increasingly scarce, especially in dry years. In fact, the Governor created a Drought Response Working Group(pdf) to promote water conservation among all state agencies and institutions. The group is very active in its efforts and has published these important web sites:
Conserve Water Georgia
Georgia EPD Drought and Water Use Information
Here at Georgia College, we have taken efforts to curb excessive water use, including:
- A campus water use and irrigation audit
- Installation of irrigation use meters
- Reducing our outdoor watering
- The student cafeteria has elected to go "tray-less" to save food waste and water
- Encouraging conservation in the residence halls
- Installation of low-flow washing machines in the residence halls