Written by Ed Osborn
Willimantic, Conn - Eastern Connecticut State University has been named one of the nation's Green Colleges for 2011 by The Princeton Review and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This is the second year in a row that Eastern has received the designation.
"The Princeton Review's Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition" profiles 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada that demonstrate notable commitments to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation. The 220-page book -- the only free, comprehensive, annually updated guide to the nation's most environmentally responsible "green colleges" -- can be downloaded at www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx and www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.
"We are honored that Eastern was selected again as a Green College by The Princeton Review," said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. "We have a campus-wide commitment to sustainability at Eastern, evidenced by campus conservation programs, the sustainable energy studies curriculum, and our outreach across Connecticut in support of local energy efficiency efforts. This recognition tells our students, faculty and staff that their hard work continues to be noticed."
The Princeton Review, well known for its education and test-prep services, first created this one-of-a-kind resource for college-bound students in 2010 in collaboration with USGBC, which is best-known for developing the LEED green building certification program. This past fall, USGBC launched its Center for Green Schools (www.centerforgreenschools.org) to increase its efforts to drive change in how campuses and schools are designed, constructed and operated so that all educational facilities can enhance student learning experiences.
"College-bound students are increasingly interested in sustainability issues," said Robert Franek, senior vice president of publishing for The Princeton Review. "Among 8,200 college applicants who participated in our spring 2011 'College Hopes & Worries Survey,' nearly 7 out of 10 told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the school," he added. "Together with USGBC, we are pleased to make this free resource available to all students seeking to attend colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally-responsible choices. To that end, we highly recommend the terrific schools in this book."
Examples of Eastern's commitment to sustainability can be found throughout the campus. For instance, the Science Building is LEED Silver Certified for its use of gray water to irrigate and its many other green features. In addition, a geothermal system provides heat and air conditioning to a 62,973-square-foot residence hall, the largest geothermal-heated building in Connecticut.
The campus also generates 6.2 kilowatts from photovoltaic solar panels to light bus shelters, trash disposal areas and building perimeter lighting. In addition, dual fuel burning capability in Eastern's heating plants allows the University to switch from gas to oil and vice versa based on prices and/or the requirements of its gas utility agreement. Water-saving features also exist on a number of showers, toilets and urinals. Finally, an energy-monitoring system analyzes energy usage for each building, and can automatically reduce electricity usage through preprogrammed initiatives, to reduce peak demand and energy costs.
Eastern is exporting its commitment to energy conservation beyond its own campus ecosystem through the Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE). The institute is recognized and widely respected throughout New England as an invaluable resource for supporting sustainable energy conservation efforts in municipalities and public schools throughout Connecticut and the region.