Sustainability In Physical Plant Operations at the University of St. Thomas

The St. Thomas Physical Plant endeavors to serve our campuses by utilizing sustainable operating procedures and technology wherever possible. This has been the growing practice of the department for over twenty-five years.
The UST Recycling program was made possible by Physical Plant financial support and sponsorship of a student initiative for recycling paper in 1988. Building projects in the last two decades have incorporated sustainable design both in electrical and HVAC systems as well as water usage. The University has received annual rebates from local energy providers because of innovative metering and lighting in new building projects [ See Opus Hall Sustainability]. Variable speed mechanical motors, flush sensors for toilets and urinals, water saving shower heads, light sensors in classrooms that turn down lighting on sunny days, campus water bottle filling stations, the purchase of ergonomic furniture manufactured from sustainable materials with low or no VOC resins or finishes are a few of the sustainable practices implemented by the UST Physical Plant and its divisions to provide our community a greener and more sustainable campus.

PHP sustainable projects & initiatives include

 

  • EPA recognizes UST as being a member of the Top-20 list of U.S. Colleges and Universities who purchase green power. July 13 
  • UST Recycling Team diverts over 5 tons of move-out items from the waste stream. June 13
  • UST receives Xcel recognition award for being the corporations's largest user of Windsource Energy.  Apr 13
  • City of St. Paul's Mayor Coleman awards the Sustainable Saint Paul Award for Best Institutional Green Building Design for the Anderson Student Center.  Apr 13
  • The new Anderson Student Center is awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. July 12
  • PHP purchases a second electric vehicle for department operations. June 12
  • UST Recycling's end-of-school clothing drive diverts 3,999 pounds of clothing and household goods from the waste stream. May 12
  • EPA names UST ‘Individual Conference Champ’ in Green Power Challenge. Apr 12
  • UST's first electric vehicle arrives: Columbia Mega Electric truck purchased with CSF awarded proposal. Feb 12
  • Anderson Student Center opens with application for LEED Silver certification. Jan 12
  • UST Recycling's end-of-school clothing drive diverts 5,290 pounds of clothing and household goods from the waste stream. May 11
  • UST Electricians install light motion sensors in all Residence Hall common areas. Apr 11
  • UST Recycling's end-of-school clothing drive diverts 6,900 pounds of clothing and household goods from the waste stream. May 10
  • PHP's commitment to purchasing wind power results in invitation to membership in the EPA Green Power Partnership. Apr 10
  • UST's Physical Plant receives award at the 2010 Xcel Energy Efficiency Expo for the largest gas savings in 2009 by a commercial customer: 93,433 therms. Feb 10
  • PHP Administration works with the UST Student Solar Initiative and Geography professor, Paul Lorah, to install the first solar panels at UST on the top of Brady residence. Fall 09
  • Retrofitting of light fixtures completed for all 13 residences serving over 2000 students. 15 major retrofit projects completed in classroom, academic, and library buildings. Summer 09
  • New energy-efficient burners installed in the Owens Science building. Summer 09
  • UST Recycling's end-of-school clothing drive diverts 2,600 pounds of clothing and household goods from the waste stream. May 09
  • The Anderson Parking Facility opens. New facility incorporates many LEED elements in design, construction, and operation. Feb 09
  • In 2008, UST recycled over 446 tons of various recyclable commodities diverting well over a ton a day from landfills and incineration.
  • Additional bicycle racks installed on campus. The Physical Plant helped sponsor the new UST Bike Share program by providing space and two bike racks for the program sponsored by Bicycle Enthusiasts at St. Thomas [BEAST] and the Wellness Center. Fall 08
  • The Physical Plant in cooperation with Residence Life provided 1100 small recycling containers so every residence room and suite now has its own recycling container for collection, There are now over 2000 recycling containers on our campuses. Summer 08
  • Installation of energy-efficient ventilator units in two residence halls. Summer 08
  • Physical Plant staff works with the Environmental Sustainability Work Group to gather data on energy consumption from the past three years to complete the first UST energy audit. April 08
  • PHP Administration began purchasing 5% of our electrical energy from wind power. Spring 08
  • Interior Design purchases building furniture and furnishings for University buildings from Steelcase, a LEED certified company. Our purchases of institutional furniture such as the recently furnished McNeely Hall have Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification. This means they use environmentally safe and healthy materials; design for material reutilization by recycling or composting; and are produced with efficient use of water and energy.
  • The Physical Plant office uses recycled paper for all its copying, printing, and scanning operations.
  • 28,860 Christmas lights decorating the campus were replaced with LED bulbs saving energy and over $5,000 in energy costs over the 2007 Christmas season
  • UST Building Service Workers have been using green cleaning chemicals in UST buildings since 1997. Presently, UST uses 3M green cleaning chemicals. These chemicals are dispensed in an auto-dilute system that helps eliminate chemical waste and increases environmental safety for the Service Workers. In the summer of 2010, Ecolab green chemicals began to be used in some cleaning applications. Other environmental friendly cleaning procedures practiced include low moisture carpet cleaning with water recyclers, rechargeable cell batteries in many of the automated cleaning machines, restroom cleaning without the use of disposal towels and sponges, quieter running vacuums with treated filters for cleaner air, and replacement of disposable mops and towels with washable microfiber.