Monday, January 16, 2017

Spelman College

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Spelman College

Sustainability Leader

School details:
Full-time enrollment: 2,121
Part-time enrollment: 108
Location: Atlanta, Georgia


  • Spelman signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2010.
  • The administration plans to complete a climate action plan by 2012.
  • The Sustainable Spelman Committee has expanded the recycling program and written a campus energy policy.
  • The college collaborates with the Environmental Protection Agency to raise awareness about environmental issues and to integrate sustainability themes into the curriculum.
  • In 2008, the college hosted the Collegiate Environmental Sustainability Conference to encourage colleges and universities to implement environmental projects on their campuses.
  • The college was the United Negro College Fund’s first Building Green Learning Institution, and was the first HBCU to become a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Green Building

  • All new construction and major renovations must be built to LEED Silver specifications.
  • The Suites is the first LEED-certified residence hall at an HBCU in the United States. The building is certified at the Silver level, and it includes energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, waterless urinals and other water conservation technologies. It also features preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles, ten recycling stations, and a covered bicycle storage area. The building’s construction had a 75 percent waste diversion rate.
  • Six buildings on campus will be renovated according to LEED Silver standards. They will be connected to the central plant and will feature energy management systems and insulated windows.
  • After conducting an audit of the Science Center‘s carbon footprint, the college is reducing the building’s energy use by installing energy-efficient lighting, retrocommissioning HVAC systems and controls, enabling power-saving settings on computers, installing electrical meters, and weatherproofing the building.
  • To save energy, motion sensors for lighting are installed in all new construction, building automation systems exist in half of campus buildings, the Science Center and the Suites feature variable speed drives. The parking deck has been outfitted with energy-efficient lighting and daylight sensors.
  • To save water, the college has installed efficient laundry machines, is replacing older fixtures with low-flow faucets and showerheads, and monitors water use in the Suites and the Science Center.
  • Spelman uses the condensation collected from the HVAC system to water seasonal flowerbeds.
  • The campus grounds feature native plant species which require less water, and Spelman is planning to install a well on campus to supply its irrigation system.

Climate Change & Energy

  • The college committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions five percent between 2008 and 2009, and it is completing its first greenhouse gas inventory.
  • A dashboard display is being installed in the Science Center to show real-time energy use.
  • The institution’s strategic plan includes an energy management policy that discusses the importance of using energy-efficient appliances and equipment and of raising community awareness about saving energy.
  • Building automation systems have helped the college implement temperature setbacks.
  • Fume hood usage in the Science Center is scheduled to coincide with class time.


  • The campus recycles all traditional materials: aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper, and all plastics.
  • The college also recycles its used batteries, cell phones, computers, light bulbs, paper, and printer cartridges, as well as metal from older HVAC systems, carpet, and construction waste.
  • Double-sided printing is encouraged.
  • Landscape waste is composted.
  • During move-out, a student-led program allows people to donate their unwanted items rather than throwing them out.


  • Dining halls serve local foods, including vegetables and chicken, as well as organic foods.
  • Trays have been removed from all dining halls, saving more than 1,000 gallons of water per week.
  • Campaigns emphasize the local foods served and encourage students to reduce food waste.
  • Dining services is working to implement composting in the kitchens.
  • Spelman is discussing plans to donate surplus food to nursing homes and battered women’s shelters.

Student Involvement

  • A living and learning community in the Suites promotes eco-friendly lifestyles.
  • The Environmental Task Force student group raises awareness about environmental issues and hosts sustainability-themed events for Spelman students, including the African American Earth Day Summit and the Green Jobs Now Initiative.
  • The Earth Week Educational Fair, run by the Environmental Task Force, included speakers from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Wildlife Foundation, screenings of environmentally-themed movies, and a Green Market day.
  • Environmental projects that students have participated in include working in the campus garden, conducting campus cleanups, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs throughout households in the community.
  • The Environmental Science and Studies program and the National Wildlife Foundation offer on-campus sustainability internships for students. The Facilities department also hires two student interns to assist with recycling and promote the expansion of the program.
  • Spelman offers an academic major and minor in environmental science.


  • Of the 21 vehicles in the campus fleet, four are electric, and one is a hybrid. Maintenance and Public Safety staff use bicycles and electric scooters for transportation around campus.
  • A free shuttle service transports students around the campus, to neighboring colleges, and to off-campus destinations around Atlanta.
  • Discounted monthly passes on the local public transit are available for students, faculty, and staff.
  • The college partners with a nonprofit organization to educate faculty, staff, and students about incentives for carpooling and using public transit.
  • written by admin

Copyright 2011 UNCF ICB Building Green Initiative