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Sustainability and Our Department

Programatic Efforts

Recycle Mania

  • Recycling Pilot – During a 4 week period in November and December 2008, UHDS partnered with WIU’s Physical plant to develop and run a “Pre-Recycle Mania” pilot program. During this event, Physical Plant personnel collected and measured recycled materials in each building. This program proved to be successful in educating several departments on campus of the amounts of recyclables we generate, as well as allowed us to make accurate projections of the results of the RecycleMania competition held annually January through March.  This program has continued successfully every-year to date.
  • We increased our education of students regarding recycling, energy conservation and sustainability by participating in the National Recycling completion –RecycleMania.
  • Increased signage and other materials have been administered throughout residence halls to increase sustainable education. Several committees throughout residence life are investigating different programs and initiatives that involve students and sustainability.
  • During the fall semester of 2008, UHDS, purchased over $20,000 worth of exterior recycling containers. These containers were placed near Residence Hall entrances to encourage students to recycle and dispose of trash properly.
  • UHDS collaborated with the Green Energy Team, a WIU student organization that takes Recycled aluminum cans and uses them to create solar panels for low income housing. In 2009 over 3,000 cans were collected in a 4 week span allowing the group to build close to 30 solar panels.

Facility Improvement Efforts

  • We have installed a new electric meter in Thompson Residence Hall. This is the first meter that gives us real-time feedback and allows us better monitoring of our usage. It is also a way for us to check the harmonics loads in the building. We will continue to evaluate data from this meter and look at the feasibility of installing meters in other buildings.
  • We are now installing low flow shower heads as we replace heads in the Residence Halls, this is reducing flow saving water use.
  • In collaboration with UHDS’s carpet vendor, at the conclusion of the summer 2009 all carpet that was replaced in residence halls was recycled. As a result 8,840 lbs of carpet product was diverted from the local landfill.
  • UHDS began working with a vendor to recycle mattresses. These mattresses are taken and given to homeless shelters, half-way houses, and other non-for-profits across the U.S. Last summer, UHDS was able to recycle 300 mattresses in this manner.
  • In working closely with the Building Services Department of Physical Plant, all residence hall paper towel dispensers have now been converted to a new roll towel that is composed of recycled materials.
  •  We continue to work with the Building Services Department of Physical Plant to evaluate the products we use for cleaning, as well as investigate more eco-friendly alternatives.
  • UHDS worked with WIU Physical Plant to install 3 tank-less water heaters in the International House. This will provide Energy Savings as well as Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Rankings.
  • In 2008, we had planned to install CFL bulbs in all of our Residence Halls; however, due to some concern with the increased level of harmonics on the neutral electric load of Thompson Hall, we postponed that project until we have better information. This increased level of harmonics may have negative effects on the transformers in the halls. We hope to continue the process of looking at new lighting technology that is emerging including LED. We will continue to evaluate the feasibility of installing more energy efficient light bulbs (CFLs) into the Residence Halls in common & community spaces.
  • We will continue to evaluate the feasibility of installing more occupancy sensors in Residence Hall bathrooms and lounge spaces. Currently, we have one floor in Thompson Hall with sensors in the bathroom and lounge areas.