CU/Green on building upkeep, construction

CU/Green: Things Cedarville University should consider doing in order to be good stewards of the Earth.

A prefab modular home. Flickr photo from Heather Lucille. CC.

A prefab modular home. Flickr photo from Heather Lucille. CC.

Regular building maintenance

  • Get ideas from LEED and other certification standards when purchasing new parts for buildings. (Read on for alternatives to LEED)
  • Commission the engineering department to do a study on “green roofs.” Can our roof strctures support a few inches of soil and a bunch of plant life? It does wonders for water filtration and insulation.
  • Mandate that all new paints be free of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). That stuff is nasty — with high enough exposure to the right VOC’s (particularly for the painters), it can give you cancer and make your liver stop working.

Heating/cooling/insulation

  • install geothermal heating and cooling systems. If they pay off in 15 years or less, they’re a good investment because they last much, much longer.
  • have a weatherization inventory taken of all existing buildings. Supposedly this cost and the cost of actual weatherization is recouped very soon, as it tends to produce savings of about 30 percent on annual heating/cooling bills thereafter. Maybe this could be done before geothermal wells are installed, since their number could be lessened.
  • Commission the engineering department to do a study: If we removed the tint from the windows on campus, how much more thermal intake would the buildings have in winter? What could we do to increase thermal mass that could be heated by the sun during the day and keep buildings warm at night?

Future building projects

  • make a very serious effort on the next building project to engineer a building that is, if not LEED-certified, at least comes with lots of features of those that are. Now, you can be green without having LEED (as our newest building, to a certain extent, testifies to). But you can also have LEED while not truly doing well for the environment, as this article will tell you. So beware! (If you want additional resources on alternatives to LEED, the article there links to a few good ones.)
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