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Sustainability at Pacific

"Treat the Earth well.  It was not given to your by your parents.  It was loaned to you by your children."

-Kenyan Proverb

The World Commission of Environment and Development defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."  This definition implies that there are limits to the amount of available resources and the ability of the earth to absorb human activity.  Such boundaries require the restructuring of our consumption habits to ensure a healthy life and earth for future generations.  There is no time like the present to begin adjusting our behavior.

Students, faculty and staff at Pacific take sustainability seriously, and have taken steps to ensure success for future generations.  Since May of 2002, the University has directed our refuse company to divert our solid waste from going straight to the landfill.  Since then it has gone to the Lovelace Transfer Station where recyclable items are removed from the waste stream.  Approximately 50% of our trash is pulled from the waste stream at the transfer station and recycled.  We have 125 recycling toters across campus and cardboard only dumpsters at the kitchens and Physical Plant.  All of our green waste is diverted, our electronic and other hazardous wastes are recycled including tires.  There is a University surplus furniture and equipment reallocation program.  Twenty 60 gallon recycling toters are in place now at all outside events.  We switched from using standard exterior plastic trash can liners to "Enviro-bag 2.0" which contain 90% total recycled content and a minumun of 50% post consumer recycled material.  These collective efforts assist the University in diverting close to 70% of these items from ending up in the landfill.  The last audit reflects the following totals:

  • Total-379 tons of material 100% recycled
  • Green Waste = 32 tons
  • Concrete & Dirt = 8 tons
  • Wood = 14 tons
  • Dirt = 37 tons
  • 1086 total tons of trash 50% recycled

A new computerized irrigation control system was installed campus-wide which should result in approximately a 30% water savings.   Recent changes will shortly raise the level of campus areas irrigated with water from the Calaveras River from 58% to 80%.

Our most used custodial chemicals are green certified as well as purchasing green certified custodial equipment.  We use bio-hydraulic oil in our equipment.  We expend significant sums each year on energy efficiency projects - L.E.D. exit signs, efficient lighting retrofits, more efficient boilers, heaters and air conditioners.

Our mail room provides shredding services campus wide.  This free service recycled approximately one ton of paper in the past 6 months and reduced the University's expeditures by alleviating most needs for shredding from outside vendors.

Our printing and duplicating department uses Soy-Based ink which is more environmentally friendly.  All toner used is recycled to the manufacturer resulting in no landfill waste.  Several publications are printed on 100% recycled paper.

In the summer of 2008 we purchased 35 exterior lighting clocks.  The new clocks are digital astronomic clocks with battery backup.  These clocks will automatically self-adjust for changing sunrise and sunset and daylight savings.  These new clocks help to make the campus a safer place as well as save electricity and labor.

In the past few years, due to an increase in bicycle usage, we have installed new bike racks at WPC, Computer Sciences, Grace Covell and Baxter walkway.

In keeping with Pacific's committment to sustainability, the DeRosa University Center has employed a variety of LEED required green design elements and operational strategies for the University's first green building.   Energy conservation items include:

  • Clerestores (walls with a band of narrow windows at top) for natural lighting
  • Retractable skylights for natural lighting
  • Large windows for natural lighting
  • Operble doors for natural lighting and cooling
  • Ventiliation system that pushes air contaminants out of the building
  • Mixed-mode heating and air conditioning system for natural ventilation
  • Daylight sensors to control the amount of light in the building
  • Hi-powered hand dryers in the bathrooms designed to conserve energy
  • Will use 50 percent less water than other conventional buildings
  • Low-water usage dishwashers
  • Restrooms with dual-flush toilets
  • Restroom glass tile are made from recycled material as well the concrete in the lobby

Below are some additional steps that individuals can take:

  • Print only when necessary, and always double sided
  • Use power-saving modes on computers and office equipment
  • Always turn off lights in unoccupied rooms
  • Shut the sash on the fume hood when not in use
  • Use re-usable mugs and water bottles instead of disposable ones
  • Purchase energy efficient appliances and laboratory equipment.  Look for the "Energy Star" ratings
  • Select laboratory supplies made from recycled material where possible
  • Share extra refrigerator and freezer space with colleagues
  • Don't leave the tap running while brushing your teeth
  • Take shorter showers

If you're searching for additional information on sustainability, the following sites contain great information and ideas for your research.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in High Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create sustainable futures.  It was founded in 2006 and aims to advance the efforts of the entire campus sustainability community by uniting diverse initiatives and connecting practioners to resources and professional development opportunities.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices.  USGBC is composed of more than 13,500 organizations from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.  Members include building owners and end-users, real estate developers, facility managers, architects, designers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, product and building system manufacturers, government agencies, and nonprofits.  The USGBC's mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially rsponsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.

United Nations - Division for Sustainable Development provides leadership and is an authoritative source of expertise within the United Nations system on sustainable development.  It promotes sustainable development through technical cooperation and capacity building at international, regional and national levels.

Worldchanging.com is a nonprofit media organization headquartered in Seattle, WA, that comprises a global network of independent journalists, designers and thinks.   They cover the world's most innovative solutions to the planet's problems, inspire readers around the world with stories of new tools, models and ideas for building a bright green future.

Sustainable Living Foundation is a community based not-for-profit organization committed to creating major platforms to help accelerate the uptake of sustainable living.  SLF brings together values, expertise and resources to inform the wider community about sustainable numbers of people and organizations to cooperate in the pursuit of social and ecological sustainability.  SLF was formed in response to a sense of environmental urgency and the passionate belief that positive solution-oriented options already available could make a big difference to our indivdual and collective sustainability if widely adopted.

My Ecological Footprint - Find out how you impact the earth!  Calculate your personal emissions on the EPA's website.