Moving towards a future focused on sustainability for both the university and the world, Castleton has made technological and architectural advances to improve the university's carbon footprint through its Green Campus Initiative. Introduced in 2004, the university on the move continues to find new and advanced ways to make the campus more sustainable through the eco-friendly project.
“It’s been a progression of action directed toward reducing the carbon footprint of the university,” said President Dave Wolk, adding that the initiative has received campus wide support.
Featuring various sustainable facilities, several renewable energy sources, and water refilling stations that have saved over 260,000 water bottles from the landfill, the university’s commitment to becoming a leader in innovative alternative energy sources is visibly clear.
In 2013 the university added four micro-wind turbines, the first commercial deployment of its kind in Vermont, partnered with a 120 panel solar array, to the roof of its newest residence hall, Hoff Hall. The installation resulted in a gold rating for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), making the building Castleton’s second LEED gold status building joining the Campus Center.
The following year a ground mounted solar array and dual-vehicle electric fueling station joined the long list of the campus’s successful renewable energy projects.
In addition to facility based efforts, faculty, staff and students also play an important role in the success of the initiative, through campus-wide electricity reduction challenges, hosting various energy related events and participating in the yearly celebration of Earth Week.
Science Professor Andrew Vermilyea, who has played an integral part in leading the Green Campus efforts, recently announced two of the university’s newest sustainability policies. The first, a No Idling Policy targeted at decreasing fuel emissions, as well as revisions to the campus comfort policy to help reduce the amount of fuel campus buildings use for both air-conditioning and heating needs.
“There are so many things that students and faculty have done to become a more green campus,” explained Vermilyea who is looking forward to seeing the ongoing positive impact that can be made.
Wolk would also like to see the initiative continue to grow. He explained that each project creates a valuable and highly visible learning tool for students, providing educational opportunities and conversations centered around renewable energy.
With new projects on the horizon, the university plans to continue doing their part in the name of sustainability.
“The biggest part of saving the planet is doing the right thing when no one else is looking,” Wolk said.