Sustainability

Albright College is committed to sustainability as a way of life.

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The Committee for Sustainability and Stewardship was created by the President to initiate and support environmental policies, actions and programs at Albright College and to ensure that environmental concerns are considered in all aspects of the College’s decision making. Our mission is to determine how to improve energy conservation, address environmental issues on campus and educate students, faculty and staff on the importance of environmental consciousness.

Committee members represent all areas essential to sound environmental decision making, including: faculty from a range of disciplines; staff from key areas including Facilities Services and Operations; Student Affairs, Housing and Residential Learning, Food Service and College Relations; and students representing the Student Government Association, Albright Environmental Campus Outreach (ECO) and other interested student groups.

This video by Republic Services shows the inner workings of a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). The piece offers excellent background on waste generation trends, recycling opportunities and the processing of recyclable materials.

Campus Assessment

The new Albright College Science Center will be LEED certified.
The new building was designed to be both environmentally friendly and friendly to faculty and students who collaborate and share instrumentation across disciplines. Phase I of the project, 40,000 square feet of new construction, is slated to be completed in summer 2010. Phase II, the complete renovation of the existing Merner-Pfeiffer Hall of Science is scheduled to be completed by spring 2011.

Armory RecycleWe recycled a whole building!Well, 95 percent of it… The long vacant former Reading Army Reserve Center, deeded to the College by the Department of the Army through the City of Reading was demolished in 2009. The College remediated materials from the building’s interior for clean fill. Brick, mortar and concrete products were pulverized to aggregate for leveling the site instead of trucking the debris to a land fill.

Paper, wood, plastic, newspaper, aluminum, cardboard, glass and steel are recycled.

We reprocess motor oil and antifreeze per EPA guidelines.

Special project recycling; Stone and various building materials are recycled and/or reused on campus. For example: Shirk Stadium turf drainage project resulted in recycling 20+tons of modified stone which was redistributed to stone parking lots and storage for future use.

The excavated subsoil removed from the Science Center construction site is being used for land redevelopment elsewhere on campus, creating a savings in both trucking soil off site and later trucking additional soil to the site for development.

Food Service recycles all cardboard, plastic and glass, newspaper, as well as recycling waste fryer oil, which is reused as heating fuel.

We use recycled materials, for example,

  • Campus identification signage hung from posts made from recycled post-consumer plastics.
  • Carpet tile made of recycled material. When worn, it’s shipped back to the factory to be recycled rather than disposed of in a land fill. The adhesive used allows for the product to be easily lifted and replaced should any tile be damaged.
  • Flooring made of 45 percent post-consumer recycled fiber uses about 45 percent less material than virgin timber.
  • All paper products are made with recycled fiber.
  • Food Service uses nearly 100 percent compostable paper products in the Dining Hall, Grab and Go, Jake’s Java and Jake’s Place.

Albright uses Green Seal Certified cleaning products that are formulated with less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) so they are less toxic to people and the environment. Our cleaning solutions are hydrogen peroxide and citric acid based.

We use microfiber technology for mopping and wiping. This not only reduces work for Food Service staff but also greatly reduces our usage of cleaning solutions.

Food Services converted to Green Chemicals APEX for all ware washing, pots and pans, pre-wash and sanitized rinse agents. Albright was one of the first colleges to do so.

Food Services also implemented practices that reduced the run time on the dishwasher by two hours per day.

Albright replaces outdated lighting with compact fluorescents whenever possible.

We have installed motion sensors in selected locations to turn lights off when rooms are not in use.

Facilities is eliminating older T12 lighting and improving lighting with T8 lamps with electronic ballasts, thus using less wattage per room.

Facilities works to keep heating and cooling equipment at peak performance for energy savings. As older equipment is retired, it is replaced with state-of-the-art energy efficient equipment.

The campus Energy Management Controls System allows for monitoring and set-back of space temperatures, allowing a reduction in consumption.

Conventional flush valves in toilets are being replaced wherever possible with water-saving sensors.

Albright is known for its lovely, green campus, lush with abundant trees and flowering plants and shrubs.Maintaining outdoor green spaces is important. For example, an outdoor switchgear enclosure was redesigned to be incorporated into an existing structure in order to maintain an outdoor green area.

Mulch and grass clippings are reused as organic feed matter for turf areas. This also reduces landfill waste. The Grounds Crew uses low emissions equipment (compliant with Environmental Protection Agencies {EPA} Phase II emissions standard, January 2005) — push mowers, string trimmers, chainsaws, leaf blowers and weed whackers, and annually converts to all “low e” small engines where applicable.

Conservative drip irrigation systems have been installed in place of pop-up systems, reducing water consumption.

Drought tolerant plant selections and “zero-scape” planting (designs which include very low maintenance selections such as ornamental grasses and native plants) reduce water, nutrient and maintenance needs.

Frequent over-seeding programs implemented. Rather than incorporate heavy fertilizer and herbicide applications, we over-seed regularly to promote healthy stands. We also are a little more “weed friendly — tolerating a few more weeds on areas not used for sports lowers chemical and fertilizer applications significantly over time.

All herbicides, grounds chemicals and landscape materials are disposed of per EPA guidelines.

BeesWhen a huge hive of bees was found under the eaves of White Chapel, the College called in an expert to capture and relocate the bees to his own hives. Now our honeybee relocation process relocates valuable honey bee colonies as they are found around campus.Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies track and monitor pests and diseases, thus reducing applications of pesticides and herbicides.

Removal of litter and debris daily reduces the need for extensive rodent and pest control programs.

To encourage more student bikes on campus, we installed 12 bike racks and educate and encourage students to ride to class as an alternative to driving.Utility vehicles are alternatives to pick-up trucks; three smaller, fuel efficient carts are used daily to transport employees and materials around campus.

The Albright Dining Hall has been trayless since 2007- one of the first colleges to do so. This reduces water consumption from washing trays!Cooking with (less) gas, Food Services replaces old equipment with much more energy efficient equipment.

The College converted the majority of bottled water systems throughout campus to filtrated water. This also helps to reduce the number of delivery trucks on campus..

We work with many local companies, Wegman’s Poultry, Turkey Hill Dairy, Maier’s bakery, ATV Bakery, Instant Whip, Clover Farms, Berks Packing, 4 Seasons Produce, many others.

Food Services trades with companies with sound sustainability practices, for example Wegman’s Poultry is raised without hormones and antibiotics, is grain fed, and local with less than 50 miles of total transportation involved.

Coffee grounds from Jake’s Java coffee bar are recycled into our herb garden.

Food Services works to minimize food waste with portion control on the food lines and batch cooking techniques in the kitchen. A value-added purchasing program also stabilizes spikes in the commodity market and has eliminated significant food waste.

E.C.O. (Environmental Campus Outreach) is the student-run environmental club at Albright college. Their mission is to increase awareness among the college community about the wide range of environmental issues facing our world today.Executive Board, Spring 2012

President – Craig Smith ’13
Vice President – Mariena Hurley ’13
Treasurer – Nicole Bluemer ’14
Secretary – Chellsey Labik ’14
SGA Representative – Jordan Bonte ’13
Trip Coordinator – Nicolette Kohler ’15

Recent activities have included:

  • Hosting a screening of the documentary “YERT” with director Mark Dixon
  • Helping to start the Albright Community Garden located next to the Geiser house
  • Screening “Gasland”, a film chronicling the impacts of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the United States
  • Volunteering at the local state park, Nolde Forest
  • Visiting the annual PA Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival
  • Attending Powershift in Washington D.C., an event which brings environmental leaders from around the country together to discuss how to mobilize a growing environmental movement
  • Group trip to see “The Lorax” in theaters

E.C.O. continues to strive to do more on campus, and to that end, is open to any persons or organization that would like to help make Albright greener.  They may be contacted by email at eco@albright.edu.


Albright Community Garden Blog

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