The Greening of John Brown University

by Paul Gatling  on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 12:00 am  

In October 2011, the university's electrical usage was the lowest for that particular month since 2000, even with an additional 300,000 SF of building space on campus.

Total natural gas usage for July 2011-June 2012 was the lowest since 2005-2006.

All together, the campus has increased by 327,007 SF since 2000, but has decreased its electricity/gas usage by 23 cents per SF in that time.

How has that been accomplished? According to Beers, it's because the objective of efficiency and sustainability is at the forefront of decision-making.

"Any of our deferred maintenance we have overlaid this sense of return on investment and the sustainability question," Beers said. "And obviously our new [construction] has the same question. The third thing has been through our campuswide management for energy.

"We've been able to manage energy across the campus from one location so somebody can stay on top of that."

Beers also noted the $11 million Balzer Technology Center as an example of integrating the sustainability question with all the building's systems. The 40,000-SF building, which opened in the fall of 2011, is in the final approval process to be LEED certified, a first for the JBU campus.

"We're asking the question," Beers said. "The LEED process makes you think through virtually all the small decisions that add up to the bigger impact."

 

Doing the Right Thing

JBU also recently reached an important milestone in its sustainability efforts.

In May, the university's efforts were recognized and rewarded with a grant from the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District intended to help in the pursuit of becoming a zero-landfill institution, meaning all waste from the campus is diverted from landfills through recycling, or converting to power through emissions-free incineration.

 

 

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