Our campus community strives toward a sustainable future
Campus Grounds and Environment
Evergreen is located on the beautiful Puget Sound, surrounded by a 1,000-acre forest. The campus serves as an evolving living laboratory and natural muse. Seven hundred acres are preserved as undeveloped land areas with minimum habitat destruction for the purposes of academic study, minimization of resource expenditures, and the protection of ecological functions. (Campus Master Plan, Policy 6)
Keeping It Clean
Any proposals for chemical use in landscaping must be reviewed by the Space and Land Use Group (SLUG). Chemical applications in or on the buildings require the approval of Evergreen's Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator. The college's pest management contractor practices Integrated Pest Management.
The college's stormwater runoff infrastructure minimizes disruptive flows of water and contaminants into campus waterways and Puget Sound. The issue of surface water is particularly relevant because of Evergreen's proximity to Eld Inlet. The college set a good example in minimizing its impact on the inlet by maintaining a largely undeveloped, heavily forested campus. The campus reserve areas include an Ecoforest and Ecoagriculture Area, Old Forest Area, Geoduck Beach, and Grass Lake wetland area — which are key to the health of the campus watershed. The most heavily visited reserve is Geoduck Beach. The 3,300-foot waterfront reserve is home to a wide variety of shellfish, and is a valuable resource for education on marine ecology.
Teaching Gardens and Farm
The college has established several teaching gardens around campus to provide students with opportunities to learn about the value and care of northwestern native plants. The Organic Farm is a real, working farm that is available for students to learn sustainable farming practices, as well as encourage Evergreen's entrepreneurial spirit by selling produce in Red Square.
Campus Energy Infrastructure
The college currently consumes purchased electricity, natural gas, propane, and distillate oil for heat and power. Thanks to the student supported green fee, all of Evergreen's electricity is certified green through our purchase of Renewable Energy Credits.
Over 90 percent of campus is heated by a district steam-heat system powered by natural gas. A few small buildings are not connected to the steam system and use natural gas or propane for heat. Our Residence and Dining department have also experimented with alternative heating technologies, including composting wood chips and solar hot water, at the Modular Student Residences, which had formerly used electric baseboard heating.
Cooling in Seminar II and the CAB is primarily provided through passive cooling; the buildings are designed to allow air flow through windows that open to the exterior. Both of these buildings have been designated LEED Gold.
The college has aggressively pursued energy conservation strategies to reduce operational demands and continue to do so. Strategies have ranged from simple changes in lighting to more complex changes in our heating practices, and include:
- Low-energy internal and external lighting (both CFL and LED)
- Occupancy lighting sensors
- Stack economizers on the steam boilers for high-efficiency heat use
- Steam line upgrades and low-pressure, high-efficiency district steam operations
- Heat exchangers on lab air exhausts
- Insulated pool cover
- On-demand and low-flow bathroom fixtures
- High-efficiency, variable drive chillers
- White and green roofs to minimize summer heat gains
As a result of these and other initiatives, the college continues to reduce total energy consumption.
In addition to these academic buildings many of the residence buildings have been renovated with a goal of maximizing water and energy conservation, minimizing landfill waste, and utilizing low-impact materials and methods. In student housing, the Sustainability Community residences offer students an opportunity to experience and learn about green-built homes and more sustainable lifestyles.