Responsiblity - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle
St. John's Sustainability Initiative (STJSI) exists to advance the university efforts for a sustainable future by working with administrative, staff, faculty, and students to provide knowledge, skills and motivation that will integrate sustainability responsibilities into construction of new facilities, operation of existing facilities and working / learning activities.
In 2007 President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. signed the "Mayoral Challenge for 30 in 10". In January 2008 the university established an office of sustainability within the Department of Facilities Services.
In February 2008 St. John's became the first university in NYC to present a plan to meet and exceed the Mayoral Challenge to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent for all campuses. And, the plan shows the reduction in one half the time allotted.
In March 2008 the Office of Facilities Services hired its first group of student workers as Sustainability Coordinators. At an October 2008 press release,Mayor Bloomberg lauded St. John’s a “gold star”.
Achievements of the STJSI will always be a work in progress. The measurable efforts are tied to how well we can lower the impact on the environment and most importantly educating individuals who will take leadership in making the world more sustainable regardless of their chosen fields.
The most common measurable target categories for the STJSI are lowering our carbon footprint, conserving natural resources of water, trees and energy, and reduction of the use of paper and increased recycling.
In short, the STJSI employs the standard 3-Rs Reduce, Reuse & Recycle and adds one more, Responsibility.
Thomas M. Goldsmith
Director of Environmental and Energy Conservation
Department of Facilities Services
Sustainability Department Assistant
The timeless values of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660), the patron saint of Christian charity and founder of the Vincentian community, inspire St. John’s Vincentian teachings and policy on sustainability. As a Vincentian university, St. John’s emphasizes respect for the individual, service to the needy, human solidarity and adherence to the belief that giving of one’s self along with conservation of natural resources on which life depends, helps build a more sustainable future.
Consequently, a St. John’s education encompasses both academic study including local and global environmental issues along with direct, shared experience in helping those less fortunate. For example, our curriculum includes "academic centers of excellence" that emphasize research into the mechanisms of sustainable global development and social justice. What’s more, we actively involve students in volunteering, mentoring and "service learning" programs that extend across our campuses and around the world.
The following statements affirm St. John’s commitment in building a more sustainable future through service, learning and environmental stewardship:
- We continually monitor municipal solid waste and seek ways to reduce, re-use and re-buy using the guidelines of our partnerships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York City agencies and the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling.
- We continually monitor energy and water consumption and seek ways to conserve that will engage the entire campus community.
- By working with faculty and the Sustainability Committee members, we continue to develop and expand our curriculum to provide our students with in classroom and out of classroom education and experiences that link environmental awareness to the student’s educational discipline.
- We seek to support scholarship that advances our understanding and practice of sustainability.
- We foster individual and institutional environmental responsibility across the entire campus community.
- We seek ways to partner with local communities, farmers, businesses, governments and non-profit organizations that share the interest in building a more sustainable future.
- We assist St. John’s Bread & Life and other non-governmental organizations that seek to provide basic services that feed body, mind and spirit.
- We support student government, student clubs and student worker initiatives that focus on changing the culture to build a more sustainable future.
In adopting this policy, St. John’s further acknowledges its leadership and commitment to the practical application of sustainability by:
- Integrating sustainable practices into the daily administration and operation of the University.
- Providing a voice for sustainability in the development of strategic planning and capital expenditures.
- Encouraging the University community to build upon this policy statement by identifying opportunities, formulating strategies, and implementing initiatives to further the move toward building a more sustainable future.
In September 2010, Facilities Services under the leadership of Brij Anand and the Office of Student Affairs under the leadership of Father James Maher started a standing committee for sustainable development. Co-chairs for the committee are Frank Cantelmo, Associate Professor of Biology and Thomas Goldsmith, Director Environmental and Energy Conservation.
Committee members include representatives from Student Government, Residence Life, Faculty, Academic Service Learning, Learning Communities and Student Wellness. This committee meets monthly during spring and fall academic semesters.
Memorandum of Understanding between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and St. John’s University
Click here to view the latest EPA MOU report (January 2012)
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to document St. John’s University’s commitment to partner with EPA as environmental stewards for reducing carbon footprint. This MOU is intended to be a living document. St. John’s has signed on as a partner for various voluntary EPA programs that will broaden and more fully define the University’s sustainability initiatives and further incorporate sustainability practices into the St. John’s culture. For St. John’s, these programs will always be works in progress as the University recognizes that commitment to each program will require continuous planning and activities to effect ongoing improvements.
St. John’s efforts for continuous improvement involve: using EPA’s environmental stewardship programs to develop policies, practices, and specifications for environmentally efficient standards; increasing stewardship awareness; staying current with EPA regulations and guidelines; increasing involvement and recognition of St. John’s stakeholders; partnering with local government; and addressing environmental concerns swiftly. St. John’s recognizes EPA’s program requirements of outreach and involvement, data collecting and reporting, and will strive to become a recognized leader and a candidate for EPA environmental stewardship awards.
For all environmental stewardship programs listed herein, St. John’s Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation will be the point person for program work and St. John’s Vice President of Facilities will provide the overall leadership. Under this MOU St. John’s will participate in the following voluntary EPA environmental stewardship programs.
- EnergyStar Building & Plant Partnership
- GreenScapes Partnership
- Labs 21 Partnership
- WasteWise Partnership
- Coal Combustion Products Partnership
- Combined Heat & Power Partnership
- National Clean Diesel Campaign & Clean Construction USA
- WaterSense Products
The text that follows briefly describes the voluntary EPA environmental stewardship programs as they apply to St. John’s. The text also highlights some important sustainability initiatives St. John’s has already begun, or is currently planning.
1. EnergyStar Building & Plant Partnership
St. John’s is on EPA’s registered list as an EnergyStar Partner. St. John’s will utilize EPA’s program offering within EnergyStar Building & Plants entitled “Menu of EnergyStar Offerings for Higher Education” (the Menu) as the structure for continuous improvement and to meet or exceed the goal of 10% energy reduction under the EnergyStar Program.
Major components of St. John’s plan to conserve energy that are expected to occur under this MOU include: expansion of building automation systems; maintenance and repair of mechanical system infrastructure; new construction of an1800-ton high-efficiency chilled water plant; a comprehensive third-party performance contracting study for constructing combined heat and power plant (cogeneration); and numerous energy conservation projects, i.e., lighting controls, fume-hood retrofits and heat-reclamation systems on science laboratory ventilation systems and variable speed drives and premium efficiency electric motors.
St. John’s Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation meets with individuals and teams periodically to strategize for energy conservation. Individuals and team members include: maintenance and operations personnel, building management system controls contractor, representatives from St. John’s Residential Life, project managers from in-house Design and Construction and Infrastructure Renewal/replacement manager, private consulting engineers, representative from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA), Student Sustainability Coordinators, faculty, staff and administrators.
St. John’s intends to institute by the end of 2009 a formal energy policy to provide the foundation for setting goals and integrating energy management into the University’s culture and operations. This policy will formalize senior management’s support and articulate St. John’s commitment to energy conservation for all students, faculty, staff and administrators.
St. John’s is committed to lowering the impact on the environment in new construction and renovations to existing facilities. Since 2007, every major construction and renovation project includes an energy analysis for equipment selection and consideration for filing for NYSERDA grant programs. Current construction of the new University Center & Academic Center (UCAC) building specification includes a high-efficient electric-chilled water plant, daylight harvesting, demand-control ventilation, reflective roof covering, variable speed drives, and high efficiency motors. Coal combustion products have been incorporated into the poured-in-place concrete for the new UCAC building and the new Carnesecca Plaza construction. In addition, the current renovation of St. Vincent Hall for dormitory use includes a valance-type heating and cooling system and WaterSense products.
Under this MOU, education, outreach and involvement will include the use of EPA’s program offering entitled “Outreach Campaign”. To begin, new for the 2008 fall academic semester, St. John’s has included a “Sustainable Living Tip Sheet” for students and Resident Advisor sustainability training.
2. GreenScapes Partnership
At St. John’s, our green spaces are gifts to preserve and enjoy. St. John’s commits to exceed the EPA minimum requirement of undertaking two GreenScapes program activities.
Under this MOU, St. John’s will utilize EPA’s GreenScapes program to reduce the need to replace landscaping materials and high maintenance plants, work towards reusing landscape materials where possible, recycle organic materials and make decisions to specify and purchase products that are environmentally preferable. St. John’s is also interested in composting and turf management and has visited and will continue to study composting systems similar to that of EPA’s MOU Partner, Montclair State University.
St. John’s makes the commitment to utilize EPA’s GreenScapes Tip Sheets and Rebuy Checklist to develop its own written GreenScapes program by end of May 2009. St. John’s GreenScapes Program document will be used for continuous improvement and St. John’s will keep records of Waste, Energy, Fertilizers, Pesticides and Climate Change activities related to its grounds keeping efforts.
3. Labs 21 Partnership
St. John’s University shares the vision, goals and objectives of EPA’s Labs 21 program. St. John’s will work towards minimizing energy consumption and reducing its carbon footprint while accomplishing its goals in science education and scientific research, at the same time, maintaining health and safety as its highest priority. The University’s Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation has joined the newly established code review subcommittee on labs design as part of the NYC Mayoral Challenge 30 in 10.
The science laboratories at St. John’s are located in St. Albert Hall on the Queens campus. During the fall of 2008, the Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation will inventory all fume hoods in St. Albert Hall and, with the help of private consulting engineers, will estimate annual energy consumption and carbon footprint, and explore opportunities for conservation measures, such as heat reclamation and high- performance fume hood replacement / retrofit.
Under this MOU, the Director will study the current laboratories design conditions, study the codes and consult with the Director of Environmental Health and Safety to identify programmatic constraints or issues that cause high energy usage. The Director will study EPA’s recognized Center of Excellence case studies (“Institutions of Labs for the 21st Century”), view EPA’s video “Labs 21 Approach” and study EPA’s Tool Kit (“Resources for High Efficient Design, Operations and Lab Maintenance”). With the aid of professional engineers, St. John’s will conduct a detailed energy audit of St. Albert Hall. This audit will calculate how much energy is consumed annually by lab spaces and include proposed energy conservation measures specifically designed to conserve energy and reduce carbon footprint.
EPA will continue developing its Labs for the 21st Century Program, continue to develop outreach and educational materials, provide referrals for technical support and information and continue to encourage colleges and universities to join as partners, creating a network of knowledge and experience for our mutual benefit.
4. WasteWise Partnership and Solid Waste Recycling
Listed as a WasteWise partner since 2003, St. John’s has recently updated it partnership and signed on as a WasteWise Endorser. During the first quarter of 2008, St. John’s made significant enhancements to reduce waste by investing $100,000 in additional recycling containers, created the new position of Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation, hired seventeen part-time student workers as Sustainability Coordinators, started the second year of a two-year contract with a waste management consultant and provided training to building service workers. St. John’s also set up monthly reporting and meetings on waste management and started reaching out to students, faculty and staff on recycling through messages on electronic bulletin boards, student news paper articles, scheduled training sessions, and web pages. On Earth Day 2008, St. John’s launched sustainability and recycling web pages which are updated periodically. The current routine recycling program includes standard materials of cardboard, paper, plastic, metal, glass, toner cartridges, computers & monitors, batteries and light bulbs.
Re-use, and re-buy are also a part of St. John’s planning process for new construction and renovation projects. St. John’s current Library renovation project includes: purchasing of used metal library book shelving and metal ceiling materials; specification of construction materials with recycle material content, i.e. carpet and acoustic ceiling materials; specification of environmentally conscious acoustic wall-panel system; reuse of high-density metal compact book shelving; refurbishing existing mechanical air handling equipment; specification of construction materials manufactured locally within 500 mile radius; and specification of construction materials with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) off-gassing, i.e. adhesives and wall, ceiling and floor finishes. When possible, St. John’s will contract with construction and debris haulers/recyclers to recycle waste that is generated from new construction and renovation projects.
Partnering with the New York City government for recycling is also a resource for St. John’s. In May 2008, St. John’s hosted a day for Queens’ residents to drop off unwanted electronic equipment that was recycled and partnered with NYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education (CENYC) for a food and clothing drive for resident students move-out. In August of 2008, CENYC helped the Office of Residence Life train student resident advisors on recycling required by law and St. John’s recycling program. In November 2008, S. John’s student workers helped usurer in 1,100 cars for NYC Department of Sanitation Queens electronic waste drop off weekend.
St. John’s will set up a waste-reduction team comprised of students, faculty and representatives from central administration, including the Athletics Department and the Office of Residential Life. The Director of Energy and Environmental Conservation will lead the team, which will meet periodically to assess the waste program, identify ways to reduce waste, expand recycling, work to create specifications for purchasing materials with recycled content, and establish a baseline for measuring progress and meeting goals.
Under this MOU, St. John’s will incorporate many of EPA’s programs within WasteWise, including the Resource Conservation Challenge to manage materials more efficiently; WARM (an Excel spreadsheet) to estimate greenhouse gas reductions from its recycling practices; Electronics Challenge to recycle and avoid hazardous materials from entering landfills; Building Challenge to recycle, reuse and reduce construction and demolition materials; and Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines to specify and purchase standard materials containing recycled content. Lastly, St. John’s has registered for RecycleMania 2009 competition and organized all its student government and student organizations to adopt and embrace RecycleMania 2009.
In summary, as an EPA WasteWise Partner and Endorser, St. John’s will record and improve waste reduction, recycling and re-buy practices and encourage other universities to join as partners.
5. Coal Combustion Products Partnership (C2P2)
As stated previously, St. John’s is currently using coal combustion products in the construction of the UCAC building and Carnesecca Plaza. Under this MOU, St. John’s is committing to utilize and increase the percentage of coal combustion products in all appropriate future construction projects. St. John’s will apply for partnership in the Coal Combustion Products Partnership Program (C2P2) with the goal to increase coal combustion product usage to 50% by 2011.
6. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership
St. John’s and EPA both recognize CHP potential benefits for improving energy infrastructure and economic operations and, most importantly, lowering the impact on the environment while meeting the demands for energy. As St. John’s investigates and develops its plan for new construction of a CHP plant on the Queens campus, the University will partner with EPA for networking and knowledge-sharing of technical information and to acquire economic and air emissions information for regulatory compliance and carbon footprint reduction.
For all CHP project planning phases, EPA will recognize St. John’s need for confidentiality and will work with St. John’s to determine the specific needs for information management. St. John’s intends to utilize some of EPA’s tools and services provided free of charge for direct project assistance including third-party review of the feasibility/design study. St. John’s intends to review the current listing of New York State and federal incentives, and information on regulatory treatment of utility rates favorable to distributed generation projects.
Once the new CHP plant is constructed and running, St. John’s will record and share greenhouse gas emission information with EPA and the New York City Mayoral Challenge “30 in 10”. St. John’s will take advantage of EPA’s communication link to network with other universities operating CHP plants, and apply for an EPA EnergyStar CHP Award.
7. National Clean Diesel Campaign & Clean Construction USA
New for 2008, St. John’s intends to purchase hybrid vehicles for campus patrol through its Office of Public Safety and in addition, renew its contract with a private shuttle bus service that only uses ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and has an engine idling policy.
Under this MOU, St. John’s will join EPA’s Clean Construction USA Program to cooperatively promote and implement measures to effectively reduce emissions from vehicles and other internal combustion engines used in construction and operation of its facilities, with a focus on diesel engine emission reductions. These activities will lead to a measurable decrease in diesel emissions through the following strategies:
Clean Construction Equipment and Clean Fuel Use
Clean construction equipment reduces pollution from conventional diesel fuel-powered construction vehicles and equipment by requiring the use of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD) fuel and best available pollution control retrofit technologies. St. John’s will include the use of clean construction equipment and clean fuel use in its specifications for contractors working on future facility construction and operation. Clean construction equipment includes retrofit technologies for construction vehicles such as Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs). In combination with the use of cleaner ULSD fuel, this practice will greatly reduce construction vehicle emissions during construction.
Enhanced Idling Reduction
Enhanced idling reduction measures reduce fuel consumption and pollution by setting a reasonable time limit for idling and actively encouraging this limit. St. John’s will implement idling reduction measures in its own fleet, and encourage its service vendors, contractors, students, faculty and staff to do the same.
8. WaterSense Products
Both St. John’s and EPA recognize the importance of using water efficiently. Water-efficient behaviors and the use of quality products that minimize water use can result in: less water drawn from NYC reservoirs; potential improvements to NYC water quality; reduced energy use and CO2 emissions related to water treatment and pumping; reduced NYC wastewater treatment; and reduced water utility costs.
In 2009, St. John’s will: track water consumption across all of its NYC water meters and water/sewer invoices on a quarterly basis through a computerized database system; survey all water using devices to record the current status of water efficiency devices; develop recommendations for reducing water usage; and conduct a pilot program by installing waterless urinals at a select location on the Queens campus.
Under this MOU, St. John’s will utilize WaterSense Products, where appropriate. St. John’s also commits to following the WaterSense Guidelines to: encourage students, faculty, staff and administrators to conserve water; provide EPA with annual water consumption data and; feature WaterSense products on St. John’s sustainability web page.
EPA commits to provide St. John’s with WaterSense program news and product information, provide support to St. John’s requests for information on WaterSense, and provide materials to assist St. John’s in outreach and education, e.g., dormitory WaterSense for student residents.
MOU Status Reporting
In addition to the reporting items associated with EPA Partnership Programs, St. John’s will submit an MOU status report to EPA twice per year starting six months after the official signing of the MOU. The report will include an update on the various activities identified in this MOU. EPA will use this data to determine the environmental benefits associated with St. John’s “green” activities and will communicate it’s finding to St. John’s in a prompt matter.
Terms and Conditions
This MOU is not a contractual or a financial obligation instrument. Nothing in this MOU shall obligate EPA or St. John’s to expend appropriations or to enter into any contract or other obligations or be cited as the basis for the promise or transfers of funds. Collaboration under this MOU shall be in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations.
This MOU does not restrict EPA or St. John’s from participating in similar activities or arrangements with other entities or Federal agencies.
Either party may unilaterally withdraw at any time from this MOU by transmitting a signed writing to that effect to the other party. By mutual agreement, which may be either formal or informal, each parties may modify the list of its intended activities set forth above, and/or determine the practical manner by which its goals, purposes and activities set forth in this MOU will be accomplished. Modification to other written parts of this MOU must be made in writing and signed by both Parties.
Nothing in this MOU shall be construed to authorize or permit any violation of any Federal, State or local law, including, but not limited to, any environmental law administered and/or enforced by EPA.
St. John’s understands and acknowledges that, as an institution of the Federal government, EPA has a duty to refrain from providing any commercial entity an exclusive privilege without receiving payment therefor and, as a consequence, that EPA's relationship with St. John’s in no way affects, alters or otherwise constrains EPA's right to provide similar (or identical) services to, or establish similar (or identical) relationships with, any other entity.
St. John’s understands that EPA's participation in this MOU does not constitute an endorsement, express or implied of (a) any policy advocated by St. John’s or (b) any goods or services purchased, offered or sold by St. John’s or any member.
St. John’s shall maintain full right, title and interest in any intellectual property right, including a copyright, in any work product developed solely by St. John’s in furtherance of the objectives of this MOU. Any intellectual property developed collaboratively by the Parties will be governed by the Federal Copyright Statute at Title 17 of the United States Code and/or by the Federal Patent Statute at Title 35 of the United States Code.
This MOU does not authorize St. John’s to use any EPA logo, trademark or other intellectual property without prior consultation with EPA. This MOU does not authorize EPA to use any St. John’s logo, trademark or other intellectual property without the prior approval of St. John’s. This MOU does not in any way bypass or alter the obligation of St. John’s, in any, to meet any of the specified requirements and/or procedures associated with the individual partnership programs listed in the MOU.
The EPA enters into this MOU under the authority of Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7403, Section 104 of the Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. §1254, and Section 8001 of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, 42 U.S.C. §6981, Section 6604 of the Pollution Prevention Act, and Section 324A of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which provide EPA with authority to undertake cooperative efforts with private organizations to promote the coordination and acceleration of research, studies, training, and other efforts to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution.
This MOU does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable by law or equity against St. John’s or EPA, their officers or employees, or any other person. This MOU does not direct or apply to any person outside of EPA and St. John’s.
V. Effective Date and Administration
This MOU will become effective upon signature by the Regional Administrator of EPA Region 2 and the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of St. John’s University. It may be modified or amended by written agreement signed by both parties. Unless otherwise terminated by one of the parties this MOU will terminate at the end of five (5) years from the date of signature unless revised or extended at that time by written agreement of the parties. This MOU may be terminated at any time by either party upon the issuance of a written notice to the other party. The Parties will review annually the provisions of this MOU and its implementation.
GrowNYC is a non-profit organization that helps St. John's secure a clean and healthy environment for our students.
NYC Compost Project assists St. John's in compost education outreach to our students through our composting systems and our compost tea brewing.
Million Trees NYC is an organization that promotes St. John's participates in the program of planting and maintaining trees on the Queens and Staten Island campuses. To date Million Trees has provided St. John's with 800 trees.
City Harvest- All food collected during St. John's Residence Life - "Chuck It For Charity" is donated to City Harvest.
Energy Star- St. John's is Challenge Participant member that finds local solutions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings on campus.
Environmental Protection Agency- St. John's is an Environmental Protection Agency waste-wise partner and endorser.We strive to alter our behavior on campus, and track the amount of waste we produce. We promote the significance of reducing solid waste to all members of St. John's community. St. John's also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help reduce our carbon footprint.
Wearable Collections- Clothing that is donated during St. John's Residence Life - "Chuck It For Charity" is donated to Wearable Collections where it is either sold second hand or recycled.
University Challenge, PlaNYC- St. John's has pledged to reduce their Greenhouse Gas Emissions bye 30% by 2017.
Clinton Global Initiative- St. John's participated in the 2011 Clinton Global Intitiative conference. St. John's is currently formalizing a commitment to incorperate our academic service learning to conduct energy audits and greenhouse gas inventories for local NYC Catholic parishes.
NYSAR3- St. John's is a College Council member of New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling which is an organization that allows universities to discuss issues with recycling, waste reduction, and environmental issues.
AASHE- The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education is an organization that provides resources such as workshops and webinars to it's members.As a member of AASHE, every student of St. John's can log into the AASHE website and get involved.
NYSERDA- Is a New York government organization that helps fund energy conservation projects.
DOT Clean Air Campus helps NYC improve air quality through reducing the amount of cars on the road.
Lower Hudson Valley Catholic Colleges and University Consortium- St. John's is a participant on their Sustainability Committee.
In 2007, St. John's became a 2030 Challenge partner in New York City's PlaNYC 2030. We pledged to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2017. In 2008 we were honored with a "Gold Star" due to the fact that we accelerated our pledge to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2017.
In order to uphold our agreement St. John's updates their Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory every year to measure the amount of pollution on campus, and this helps us develop carbon reduction plans. We have undergone and continue to implement many different energy projects which will help us reach our goal of 30% carbon emissions reduction.
Many of the energy projects include retrocomissioning, which is a process that seeks to improve how already existing building equipment and systems function together. Some projects include measurement verification, which is when we determine the potential amount of energy saved by a project and how much money actually will be saved.
Similar to most other higher education institutions, St John’s University faces the challenge of continued growth within the confines of existing aging facilities. New and remodeled facilities have been integrated into existing infrastructure systems, many of which are at the end of their useful life. Addressing increasing energy prices, commitment to reduce carbon emission, and providing students with a safe, comfortable living/learning environment are goals of the University. Significant opportunities exist; facility infrastructure can be improved so that energy is used more efficiently and systems are more reliable. The avoidance of wasted energy dollars can pay for improvements that provide long term benefit.
A major portion of the campus carbon footprint comes from energy used within campus buildings. As energy use decreases, so does the campus carbon footprint. New technology can be applied seamlessly to existing systems so that the overall plant operates more efficiently and effectively. St John’s University has made some progress toward energy reduction through the implementation of master plan projects. The energy projects listed below will be completed in the next three years and will continue this trend and build upon the direction that has been set for major energy savings and carbon reduction.
By installing a cogeneration plant, St. John’s University can take advantage of the significant difference in utility cost between natural gas (low cost) and electricity (high cost) along with obtaining a grant from NYSERDA. Cogeneration is accomplished by using natural gas to generate both electricity and steam. We will have a 1.8 MW cogeneration system installed that will reduce the annual cost of electricity, reduce the amount of steam consumed (natural gas) at the St Albert Hall boiler plant, and lower carbon emissions. This project provides St. John’s University the economic advantage of producing two types of usable energy at a lower utility cost.
Steam System Improvement
Efficient delivery of steam is crucial on a campus that has a central steam distribution system. At St. John’s University, the steam distribution system on campus is in overall good condition with the exception of a few devices that have become outdated. This project will provide new devises to assure that the steam is distributed in the most efficient manner. The present steam radiator controls will also be replaced so that overheating of occupied spaces will be eliminated. Piping connections will be improved so that the St Albert Hall boiler plant can also operate more efficiently, requiring much less energy to produce the steam required. This project will also improve the insulation of the existing distribution system to accomplish this task.
Central Chiller Plants
Similar to the opportunities that exist by way of a central steam distribution system, St John’s University also utilizes central distribution of chilled water to provide cooling to many buildings. The existing equipment that produces that chilled water is nearing the end of its useful life and newer technology provides the ability to produce the same amount of cooling with significantly less energy. This project will replace these older units and will provide the required piping connections from building to building to provide cooling in the most cost efficient manner possible. The new electric chillers at the D’Angelo Center will take the place of older units that now serve St Augustine Hall, St Albert Hall, Newman Hall, Council Hall, Lourdes Hall, and Sullivan Hall. The new electric chillers to be installed as part of the North Chiller Plant will cool the following buildings: Carnesecca Arena, Bent Hall, University Center, Belson Hall/ Finley Hall and St Johns Hall.
This will provide significant improvement in reliability. These system improvements, while carrying a slightly higher payback, provide the basis for efficient cooling across campus. Theseimprovements will continue to provide benefit well beyond the payback for these installations and will providethe capacity to upgrade St. John Hall master plan project.
Kitchen Hood Renovations
Kitchen exhaust systems have not changed much since the 1960’s, until recently. This project will install controls on the existing kitchen hood systems to assure that they are running at the speed and the times required by actual work being performed in the kitchen. The ramification of allowing kitchen exhaust air systems to run during times of minimal kitchen activity is significant in that large quantities of air are being removed from the building space that has already been heated or cooled.
Controls Planning / Improvements
One of the most significant improvements in building technology available today is computerized building automation controls or ATC systems. The University has implemented this technology with 35% of the campus completed. In order for the mechanical heating and cooling systems to operate most efficiently, we will be expanding the same technology and integrate the communication between two digital control systems across campus. Equipment operations can be accomplished through one computer software program that allows maintenance staff to remotely control heating and air conditioning including scheduling the operation of equipment and temperature, as well as to remotely troubleshoot complaints. Through the implementation of the proper sensors and controls, the St John’s University buildings will be able to adjust to the actual number of people in a building or to the outside weather conditions without manual adjustment of schedules and set points. This level of automation provides substantial energy and carbon reduction.
Lighting System Improvements
Ten years ago, the University made significant strides in converting to more energy efficient lighting across campus. This new project focuses on installing lighting occupancy controls to reduce the number hours that the light systems will operate. This new generation of occupancy sensors will provide light when and where it is needed. These same sensors will provide information to the ATC system described previously to begin to accomplish “smart” building technology.
A conservation measure often overlooked is the savings that can be achieved through domestic water conservation in fixtures such as toilets, urinals, faucets and showerheads. Across 23 buildings on St John’s University’s campus there are over 2500 opportunities to conserve water. Older fixtures can consume 2 to 4 times the water used per flush than the 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) flush valves manufactured since 1994. By installing restrictors on faucets and new showerheads, the water flow rate will be reduced thus cutting down on water consumption without compromising the function. Water savings in sink and shower fixtures will also yield a savings in domestic hot water heating reducing the money spent on natural gas. While water use in itself does not have direct impact on the university carbon footprint, the elimination of over 100,000 gallons annually of water use provides significant environmental impact directly to the local water and sewer system.
HPS System Improvement
St John’s University provides a number of programs which include work in laboratory space. This will convert a steam system used for autoclaves and cage washing in St Albert Hall from one where steam is constantly generated for intermittent use to an “on demand” system. Fuel oil savings and carbon reduction will come from eliminating the present high pressure boiler system. Autoclaves will be serviced by a new electric instantaneous boiler and the cage wash system will be attached to the existing central low pressure boiler heating system.
Lab Hood Improvements
Laboratory hoods provide safety for the lab users by exhausting potentially harmful vapors from the area inside the hood itself. Similar to the previous discussion regarding kitchen exhaust systems, laboratory hoods provide a significant energy savings opportunity in that full exhaust is only required when work is being performed. As always laboratory occupancy safety is a primary concern. This will modify the process used to draw air from the laboratory space, through the hood, and out to the proper dilution level above the roof of the building. Infrastructure modifications to the central supply and exhaust air systems will be part of the University’s master plan. This project will provide the required air movement through the working space while eliminating the removal too much heated or cooled air from the laboratory room itself.
St. John's has achieved a 21% carbon reduction from base year 2007 and is on target for 30% reduction by 2017.
Since December 2009, the Sustainability Committee adopted and has focused on Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS®) which is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability. STARS was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) with broad participation from our nation’s higher education community. More STARS information can be found on the web site www.aashe.org
STARS is designed to:
- Provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education.
- Enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from our nation’s higher education sustainability community.
- Create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability.
- Facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.
- Build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
St. John’s along with 240 other colleges and universities have signed up to participate in STARS 1.2, which was launched on February 8th, 2012.
Download the 2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventory.