By: Margie Powell – Staff Writer
The University of Dayton community is working to create a more environmentally sustainable campus, most recently with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification awarded to the GE building on River Park Drive.
The U.S. Green Building Council granted the LEED certification to the GE Aviation Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center last month, according to a Dayton Daily News article written by Dave Larsen published Feb. 28.
“We [have] had 40 percent water reduction… 13 percent energy savings [and] 90 percent of waste was diverted from the landfills,” said David Schmidt, the director of construction management at UD.
The Forestry Council also certified the wood used to build the GE center, ensuring it was harvested and grown sustainably, Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the project was challenging, but that they had a dedicated team helping to push it along.
“We have a lot of talent in Dayton, and we can feel proud of our national experience that our local firms have,” Schmidt said. These local firms include Heapy Engineering and Shook Construction.
“The major accomplishments are making sure that it serves the needs of both the office side and the lab side, and doing it in a responsible and sustainable way,” he said.
In summer of 2013, UD President Dan Curran signed the American College and University’s Presidents’ Climate Commitment that holds the university to remain carbon neutral, according to a Flyer News article published in August.
Students in the sustainability club are working toward the future as well, trying to gain awareness in the administrative department at UD to create a more eco-friendly environment.
“We do more administrative pushes on campus. It really is up to the administration to recognize the importance of [sustainable living], and they really have recently,” Jarred White, a senior civil engineering major and last year’s president of the Sustainability Club. White is also the current chair in the Sustainability Coalition.
But that has not stopped the students from getting involved, White said. Recently the Sustainability Club has worked to create more recycling on campus, for things such as aluminum cans and Solo cups. There are also plans to make an urban garden in downtown Dayton for students to become involved in, he said.
But both sides, administration and students, appear to be passionate about future plans.
“I think its not only economics, it’s tied to our Marianist values, a call to be a steward to our resources. The Earth in general we have a responsibility to,” Schmidt said.
Future construction will follow the example of the GE center, he said.
“All future construction will be LEED certified construction,” Schmidt said. “In the coming years we have three additional projects. Next year the education department will be moving from Chaminade Hall to the College Park Center and that will be LEED certified. The chapel will be renovated and will be LEED certified, and there will be an addition at Shroyer Park for the research institute and that will be LEED certified.”
The LEED certified buildings will hopefully send a powerful message to current and potential students, White said.
“There was a lot of talk about green housing facility, or a sustainability center…something that sends a message to anybody walking by or anybody on tours,” White said.
“I think higher education plays a crucial role in shaping our future, and it’s at the forefront of research and the direction industries are coming in,” White said. “The more ingrained environmental consciousness is in students, the more it will be carried on in graduates.”
For more information about campus sustainability, visit the Learn, Lead, Conserve website at www.udayton.edu/explore/sustainability.php or the Sustainability Club’s Facebook page.