Since joining Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s challenge in June 2007 to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent over the next decade, Fordham University has taken several significant steps toward shrinking the University’s carbon footprint.
The challenge, part of PlaNYC’s expressed goal of making New York one of the world’s leaders in combating climate change, was accepted by nine other universities in New York City. It is a comprehensive, sustainable road map for the development of the city.
Since making the pledge, Fordham commissioned a sustainable energy master plan to audit energy use on its campuses. The audit will identify opportunities to reduce energy in several areas, including updating lighting, air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems. The study will identify opportunities for sustainable energy projects: the first of these planned is a 50-kilowatt solar lighting installation on the roof of Walsh Family Library, located on the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.
Fordham has pledged to build all new facilities to a minimum standard of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver. LEED, a designation of the United States Green Building Council, certifies that a building has met stringent energy and environmental standards. Currently, two new dormitories under construction at the Rose Hill campus will meet the LEED Silver standard. The new Law School and dormitory planned for the Lincoln Center campus are on a similar design path.
Fordham University has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by converting its boiler plants at the Bronx campus from burning only oil to having the ability to burn oil and natural gas. The use of cleaner natural gas is estimated to reduce Fordham’s carbon emissions by over 12 percent annually.
Most of Fordham’s projects will be in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) incentive programs. NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation. NYSERDA’s programs and services provide a vehicle for the state to promote energy efficiency and sustainability through collaborations with businesses, academia, industry, the federal government, the environmental community, public interest groups and energy market participants.
Fordham has also undertaken many other non-energy sustainability projects. They include:
Green Space Initiatives
The 85 wooded acres of Rose Hill campus in the Bronx has one of the largest collections of mature American Elms, Ulmus Americana, the largest dated to be 270 years old. This species is endangered across the United States and provides for significant carbon sequestration.
The Lincoln Center campus has a green roof, with lawns and trees, over its Quinn Library.
Fordham maintains over 113-forested acres in a natural state at its Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station, established in 1967 for ecological research and environmental education. The Calder Center provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to gain hands-on skills in field biology and environmental studies.
In cooperation with the New York Botanical Garden, Fordham composts more than 600 cubic yards of leaf and tree debris annually from its campuses. The University also has an integrated pest management program that has been instituted to reduce the amount of inorganic fertilizer used on its campuses.
University vehicles: Security vehicles will be 100 percent hybrid, with hybrids replacing internal combustion vehicles as the latter are retired. Intercampus vans will shift to hybrid technology as it becomes available for those vehicles. The Grounds Department will be converting 50 percent of its vehicles to electric.
All appliances and computers are required to be Energy Star rated.
The University Procurement Duplicating Centers have been converted to 30 percent recycled copy paper.
The Procurement Department makes available a variety of recycled products. Staples’ average post consumer recycled content for products purchased was 27 percent of all products purchased during the last three fiscal years.
These percentages will increase as more products are converted and more departments are made aware of the University’s sustainability program.
What Fordham recycles:
- All appliances and computers
- Paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastics, glass, batteries.
- Fluorescent bulbs
- Toner cartridges at the print shop and for individual users; printers provided by cartridge
- manufactures’ envelope such as HP
- Construction debris and materials (as part of LEED projects)
- Used furniture through local charities