HSU Tops in Efficiency Initiatives

Humboldt State University has won two awards from the Office of the Chancellor, California State University -- one for best practices in paper recycling, the other for energy conservation.

The CSU awards carry the official title of "Higher Education Energy Efficiency Partnership Best Practices in Sustainable Operations."

Humboldt State's 100% recycled paper policy was a joint effort of the Departments of Graphic Services, Plant Operations, Distribution Services, and Campus Recycling, spearheaded by Graphic Services and its director, Larry Peters. He located a paper mill in Washington state that resolved quality issues that had originally been stumbling blocks.

Plant Operations, directed by Tim Moxon, provided key support with staffers John Westmoreland of distribution services, and Alec Cooley, the campus recycling coordinator. Westmoreland tracked down a vendor who could make deliveries directly to campus departments, saving HSU paper storage and handling costs and avoiding the risks of moisture damage to the paper. The contract he negotiated was applicable to CSU's other 22 campuses as well, providing the entire system with a better price.

Cooley ensured the appropriate administration of the 100 percent content policy. He noted that purchasing only 100 percent post-consumer recycled copier paper across campus stemmed from an executive memorandum issued in November 2005 by HSU President Rollin Richmond.

Peters said, "It's great for Rollin to be recognized for taking a bold step by requiring the use of 100 percent recycled paper. On an administrative level, it was not an easy decision because of resistance to change, and we should all be proud that we're in a campus environment that allowed this to happen."

"By making this switch," added Cooley, "the university will annually conserve an estimated 1,205 trees, 348,775 gallons of water, [and] 204,280 kilowatt-hours of electricity (enough to power 23 average homes for a year).” Conversely, the policy will prevent the emission of 2,990 lbs. of air pollution and 104,485 lbs. of greenhouse gases."

"As one of the first in the nation to take this step, HSU is a real leader in reducing its environmental impact," Cooley underscored. "In addition, we help create the economic demand that supports recycling collection efforts."

Cooley will be attending a University of California/CSU Sustainability Conference in Santa Barbara later this month.

HSU's second CSU energy efficiency award for 2006 concerned a project developed by George Wright, the university's Chief Engineer and Utility Manager. Officially titled “Best Monitoring Based Commissioning,” the program consisted of repair, replacement and adjustment of heating and ventilation controls in the Engineering and Biological Sciences building.

The CSU, in partnership with utility providers PG&E and SoCal Edison, provided training to campuses in techniques for monitoring utility consumption and the “commissioning” of energy systems in buildings.

CSU then solicited campus projects to save energy, using such techniques. Moxon said, "Our project had an excellent cost payback and was easily completed."

Wright enumerated the figures: "The project is saving 27,000 kilowatt-hours per year and 9,000 therms of gas, for an annual saving of about $11,000 and a 2.3 year payback. The project took about nine months from start to finish."