NJCU’s Sustainability Efforts and Initiatives

May 27, 2021
Solar panel on dramatic sunset sky background
NJCU is continuously working towards reducing its ecological footprint and is committed to environmental sustainability. Through the institution’s initiatives and efforts, many accomplishments and successes have taken place to make the campus greener. Some accomplishments include:
  • Reducing water usage on campus by 10.4% from 2011 to 2019, even as the square footage of the campus footprint increased by 12.6% during that same timeframe. Installing low flow/motion-activated fixtures and rain sensors are part of the ongoing water conservation initiatives.
  • Installing 16 water refill/hydration stations throughout the campus, including all residence halls, Gilligan Student Union Building, and the John J. Moore Athletic Center.
  • Natural gas and electricity usage decreased by over 357 BTUs per square foot from 2011 to 2019. Energy-saving initiatives include an LED lighting implementation, motion-activated occupancy sensors for classrooms and offices, and dusk to dawn lighting fixtures.
  • A Building Management System was implemented for controlling HVAC equipment on campus, and upgrades to the combined heating, cooling, and power plant, and energy distribution systems.
  • Over the last decade, NJCU has reduced its total fleet size by 13% and has been replacing older vehicles with more energy-efficient models. In the last two years, the fuel consumption used by the NJCU vehicle fleet was reduced by 18%.
  • NJCU strives to reduce waste going to the landfill by practicing campus-wide recycling and sustainable activities management. Since 2011, NJCU has reduced trash waste by 13%.
  • A rain garden was installed outside the Visual Arts Building in 2017 and is monitored through undergraduate research projects. Rain gardens help to reduce stormwater runoff which is a major cause of water pollution in urban areas.
  • NJCU’s West Campus Student Residence Hall received LEED Certification approval.
  • NJCU is offering a growing number of courses across seven departments that include sustainability-related topics. An interdisciplinary B.A. program in Sustainability Studies was launched in Fall 2020 with the Earth and Environmental Sciences department.
  • A Sustainability Dashboard has been created to keep the University and external communities engaged and informed about its efforts and initiatives. 
  • In 2019 NJCU participated in the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings. The survey measures each participating university’s commitment to developing an environmentally friendly university. Our score, No. 21 in the United States, reflects the efforts being made to implement environmentally friendly and sustainable policies and programs in the following areas:
  • Setting and Infrastructure
  • Energy and Climate ChangeWaste Recycling
  • Water Conservation
  • Transportation
  • Education and Research
Wind Farm

A Campus-Wide Sustainable Upgrade

NJCU is investing in combined heating, cooling, and power plant, and energy distribution systems upgrades. The Tri-Generation Plant has been identified as a system that potentially can address technical and financial issues associated with cooling and heating on campus. The project will include a combined heating, cooling, and electricity generation plant and upgrades to the energy distribution systems. This system will allow for better indoor air quality, energy efficiencies, a reduced carbon footprint, and an enhanced teaching and learning environment.

The scope of the project will include:

  • The installation of electricity, hot water, and chilled water equipment.
  • The installation of new underground hot water and chilled water piping throughout the campus with possible expansion to the Visual Arts Building and the John J. Moore Athletic Center.
  • Upgrades to each of the buildings’ heating and cooling systems to accept the new utilities being delivered.

The project will consist of the following four (4) phases:

  • Investment grade audit of NJCU’s existing systems
  • Design and construction of the new Tri-Generation Plant
  • Replacement and expansion of the underground utilities
  • Modifications to the existing buildings to accept the new utilities

NJCU Sustainability Council (SC)

On April 22, 2021 – Earth Day – Dr. Henderson charged the Sustainability Council. The NJCU Sustainability Council (SC) is an interdisciplinary workgroup that will guide the University towards a more sustainable campus community in our operations, education, research, and outreach initiatives. 

The council:

  • Will develop and implement the University’s Sustainability Program that will facilitate the integration of sustainability topics and practices across the university system. 
  • Will serve as an advisory group to provide input to strategic planning while fulfilling our mission of continuous improvement of the educational, intellectual, cultural, socioeconomic, and physical environment of the surrounding urban region and beyond. 

Sustainability Council (SC) Goals: 

The goals are based on the past work done by the Sustainability Task Force:
  • Continue to integrate sustainability into the educational experience;
  • Create a Sustainability Resource Center;
  • Guide the University to become more sustainable by reducing our impact on the environment through educational campaigns;
  • Publish annually a sustainability report to communicate with stakeholders; to increase legitimacy, credibility, and reputation; and to motivate students, faculty, and staff to deal with sustainability issues and benchmarking.

The SC has broad representation from faculty, staff, and students and will meet four times a year to update on the progress of sustainability matters. Most recently the sustainability council met with representatives from the Senate to discuss ways in which to collaborate on achieving some shared goals.

Interested in Serving on the Sustainability Council?

Anyone interested in working with the Sustainability Council should contact the co-chairs, Dr. Aaron Aska, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at aaska@dolcatelier.com, or Dr. Scott Mittman, Associate Dean of Sciences at smittman@dolcatelier.com.

Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@dolcatelier.com | 201-200-3301

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