Samford University officials recently reported that the university already has saved more than four million kilowatt hours of energy in the current fiscal year due to the campus infrastructure improvement project. This is equivalent to 641 passenger cars driven for one year each. This project, launched last year in partnership with Johnson Controls Inc., will enable Samford University to enhance the campus infrastructure with little upfront cost and to repay Johnson Controls Inc., from the accumulated energy savings.
Over the course of the spring and summer the university installed 1,100 new windows, 4,682 sanitary fixtures, LED lights across campus, new HVAC systems in several buildings, weather stripping on doorways and new capacity to the chiller plant, and will continue working to install building controls through 2018. The new energy management building control system will allow Facilities Management personnel to preschedule HVAC systems in buildings based on usage rather than operating 24-hours per day. Fourteen of Samford’s buildings are now operational with this new system. University officials also are studying rain water and condensate water reclamation options to add to these energy savings.
Samford University also worked with the Homewood Environmental Commission, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and others for the 3rd annual Green Skies Tree Planting in November. With the help of 115 volunteers, nearly 200 small trees were planted along the Shades Creek Greenway. Additionally, volunteers helped plant an additional 60 trees along Lakeshore Drive in the Beeson Woods area of Samford’s campus. This helped to replant approximately one-third of the trees on campus that were lost to drought last year. Additional planning is underway for landscaping options along Lakeshore and other needed areas around campus.
Samford is also a returning member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE enables higher education institutions to meet their sustainability goals by providing specialized resources, professional development and a network of peer support. Membership covers every individual at Samford, so the entire campus community can take advantage of member benefits. Students, faculty and staff are invited to visit https://www.aashe.org/. Anyone with a Samford email address can create an AASHE account to gain access to member-only resources.
Kimberly S. Brown is associate vice president for operations and campus initiatives.