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Olivet College doing its part to "go green"
Jan 13, 2010

When it comes to environmental responsibility, Olivet College is doing its part to go green. From constructing new L.E.E.D.-certified buildings on campus to installing an energy-efficient heating system, the college has taken major steps to improve environmental conditions for its students, employees and members of the community.

Although Olivet College has always placed a high priority on environmental responsibility, some of the most significant improvements to campus have been implemented in the past two years. The college has undergone several green building and renovation projects, including:

M. Gorton Riethmiller Art Building In October, Olivet broke ground on the M. Gorton Riethmiller Art Building, a $3.5 million facility that will be used primarily by the colleges Visual Arts Department. The building is being constructed in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) Green Building rating system. When completed, the facility is intended to earn silver L.E.E.D. status. Some of the Green Building principles of the project include using recycled and locally manufactured construction material, reducing solid waste from construction, increasing indoor ventilation, and installing plumbing fixtures that improve water efficiency as well as an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system.

The Cutler Event Center Considered a sustainable building, Olivet Colleges Cutler Event Center was designed to include many energy saving features. The buildings lobby and several offices utilize radiant heat through concrete, which insulates the rooms naturally. The facility also uses an air-to-air heat exchanger in the locker rooms, as well as Demand Control Ventilation, which ventilates a room according to the number of people occupying that space. Additional energy and water saving methods include an automated light system, low-flow toilets and urinals, and sensor-controlled faucets. Built in 2008, almost 80 tons of construction waste left over from the project, including drywall, concrete and steel, was recycled.

Campus-wide heating system The college-wide heating system was recently changed from a centralized boiler plant to a decentralized system. Each building on campus now uses energy efficient boilers. The college will save approximately $225,000 in natural gas and electricity costs as well as an additional $75,000 in repair costs with the new units.

Olivet College strives to teach its students the importance of environmental responsibility. In fact, the Olivet College Compact, which serves as the colleges governing set of principles, states in part, I am responsible for contributing to the quality of the physical environment.

In addition to its green building and renovation projects, the college has relied on several ongoing initiatives to promote environmental awareness. These projects include a campus-wide recycling program, college garden, trayless cafeteria program, environmental awareness student organization, advancing an environmental science major in the Natural and Physical Sciences Department and much more. For more information about any of Olivet Colleges green initiatives, call (269) 749-7141.


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