Monday April 19, 2010

Being Accountable to Mother Earth

University of Dayton aims to be one of the most transparent sustainability programs in the nation.

When it comes to green living, the University of Dayton is going to be reaching for the STARS.

The University is a charter member of the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) established by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

"Our participation in STARS will make us one of the most transparent sustainability programs in the country," said Kurt Hoffmann, University of Dayton environmental sustainability manager. "It's a system we will use to measure our campus sustainability program against other institutions. STARS will allow us to track data about all facets of campus sustainability at once and examine how performance in one area can impact performance in another."

Hoffmann said STARS is similar to LEED, an internationally recognized green building certification system providing verification of adherence to standards designed to improve energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions and air quality.

Joining STARS further strengthens the University's concerted effort started in 2008 to become a greener campus.

The 2010 College Sustainability Report Card recognized the University's progress with a B-plus rating, a full letter-grade jump from 2009 and a two-and-a-half letter-grade jump from 2008.

"We appreciate the work of our staff and University community in helping the University become a better steward of the environment in the Catholic, Marianist tradition," said Beth Keyes, assistant vice president for facilities management.

Part of becoming a better steward involves an ambitious campaign to help reduce campus-wide energy use by 10 percent, or approximately $1 million, this academic year. Maintenance technicians removed half the lights from Roesch Library and upgraded others to high-efficient double-life lamps and electronic ballasts.? The result is expected to be a reduction in energy usage of more than 50 percent for the library, with a barely noticeable reduction in light output, said Jim Blevins, University of Dayton director of general maintenance and energy manager.

Also, the University is undertaking what is thought to be Ohio's largest institutional food-scraps recycling effort and one of the largest university food composting efforts in the nation, according to Doug Alderman, director of agricultural and environmental business at Garick Corp., whose South Charleston, Ohio, plant will process the compost. The goal is to eliminate the amount of food waste sent to landfills by 90 percent.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or