Wake Forest moved to its current home on the Reynolda Campus in 1956. The majority of existing campus buildings were constructed in the early days. These fifty-year-old facilities are due for comprehensive renewal and modernization.
Environmentally preferable construction
- Dianne Dailey Golf Education Center was the first building on campus to receive LEED certification in the Fall of 2010. The education center earned LEED Gold certification.
- South Hall, a first-year residence hall, received LEED Gold certification in May 2011.
- Porter B. Byrum Welcome Center received LEED Gold certification in July 2011.
- The Barn, an on-campus social venue, received LEED Silver certification in April 2012.
- Farrell Hall, the new home for the Wake Forest University Schools of Business, is currently under construction. Farrell Hall is designed to meet LEED certification standards.
This coming April, Wake Forest will host our inaugural Champions of Change award ceremony.
In March, we will accept nominations for awards that honor sustainability through:
- resource conservation (energy, water, or waste reduction),
- academics (teaching, research, engaged learning),
- service and social action, and
- bright ideas (innovative ideas that have been or could be implemented).
We look forward to hearing about the work of all the inspiring change agents across campus.
Refilling stations are becoming the norm at Wake Forest University, with a total of 46 water bottle refill stations across campus. What started with 2010-11 Choose to Reuse intern Frannie Speer, a grant from Brita’s Filter for Good program, and a pilot refill station outside the Office of Sustainability in Reynolda Hall, has propelled into a campus-wide initiative.
A strong show of support from students, faculty, and staff has spurred the installation of refilling stations throughout campus. The impetus to install a station in Greene Hall originated from administrative assistant Tara Ogletree, in the Department of German and Russian. “I thought that having the refilling station installed on the third floor of Greene Hall would be a small contribution to our growing eco-friendly campus.” In another show of departmental backing, the Office of Budget and Financial Planning co-sponsored the installation of the refilling station outside the Fresh Food Company in 2012. Residence Life & Housing installed stations in nearly every residence hall this year.
Each water bottle refill station located around campus has a built-in sensor that starts the flow of chilled, filtered water from an overhead port when a bottle is placed in front of it. The refill stations are “no-touch” and provide immediate feedback that tracks the number of “disposable plastic bottles” that are avoided through use of the refill station.
The amount of waste refilling stations reduce is one of many benefits to having the stations on campus. Additionally, water from the refill stations does not bear the same transportation fuel waste burden as bottled and distributed water, nor does it generate the same resultant greenhouse gas emissions. When compared to single-use plastic water bottles, that are sometimes shipped internationally, this equates to notable emissions reduction. Looking at the bigger picture, it translates to better air quality and natural resource management, all of which contribute to a healthier environment.
It is clear that refilling stations have much to offer campus — convenient, good tasting, filtered, chilled hydration. As Ogletree puts it, simply, “Hopefully, the installations will encourage others to participate in the program and promote healthier lifestyles.”
By Hannah Slodounik, Program Coordinator
Over the past fifteen years the effort to reduce solid waste on campus has expanded from its humble origins as a simple recycling program to the holistic campus-wide waste reduction initiative it is today.
Before 1998 the campus’s overall waste diversion rate was negligible; by 2010 it had jumped to 45% and in 2012 it had grown to 55%. Achievements in the waste reduction campaign have been made on diverse frontiers: waste diversion includes diversion of materials from the landfill for basic recycling, reuse, upcycling, downcycling, and composting.
One of the major contributors to the success of the waste reduction campaign is Megan Anderson, Wake Forest’s Manager of Waste Reduction and Surplus Property. Although she emphasizes the collective nature of the achievements, she has worked tirelessly on several initiatives over the past few years that have reduced the environmental footprint the campus leaves behind.
Reflecting on the diversity of waste reduction strategies made by the university, Anderson said that, “Focusing on process change, increasing efficiency, and more thoughtful purchasing are just a few examples of how we have been able to set the bar higher to reduce our waste.”
Accomplishments in the waste campaign have been made on assorted fronts. So far this year, the surplus property program allowed the university to repurpose 319 pieces of furniture, resulting in 8.44 tons of material being diverted from the landfill. In the 2011-2012 school year, the same program allowed over 1000 individual items to be repurposed and reused within WFU departments. Also, for more than two years now, Aramark has been composting pre-consumer food waste in the Fresh Food Co., Starbucks, and catering and continues to investigate options to expand the program to post-consumer food scraps.
“As the Wake Forest University community continues to grow: with more programs, more buildings, and more students living on campus,” Anderson said, “we need to continue this forward momentum.” Collective effort, she stresses, is also the way forward: “All of us have to be cognizant of how we can work together to reduce our waste.”
Read some of our stories about successful waste reduction efforts over the past few years:
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
WFU was the host site for the Piedmont Triad Green Roof & Wall Market Development Symposium in mid-September. The conference, which was organized by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities in partnership with the Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability (CEES), brought experts from around the state and across the country together to display the newest green roof and wall technologies as well as to discuss the benefits of living architecture and how to advance the field.
Learn more about the symposium from the Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability website.
Behind every green building, there is a team of designers and builders who imagined and built it. For several buildings at Wake Forest, Paul Borick is an important member of that team. Borick is a Registered Architect and Senior Project Manager for WFU Facilities & Campus Services. He manages design and construction projects anywhere from $1,000 to over $50 million.
This Senior Project Manager incorporates sustainability into both his work and daily life. The majority of the larger capital projects that he manages are designed to meet at least LEED Silver certification. With this standard, design and construction of facilities must consider all facets of sustainability in buildings and site selection.
The new residence halls and dining hall on the North campus are no exception to this standard. As one of his favorite LEED projects thus far, he believes that the new residence halls feature many important sustainable design features. In particular, an air driven mechanical system, will help alleviate bad-smelling fan coils and satisfy residents climatic requirements while saving energy. He is also excited to show off the new glass solar canopy trellis at the new North Dining Hall. Ultimately, he hopes that “the solar trellis will make people think: ‘I could do that. That would look great on my back patio or maybe on the facade of a building I may commission or design in the future.’ Seeing technology like this displayed prominently may inspire people to think of other ways to use technology, such as tidal power or the moons gravitational forces to generate power.”
Mr. Borick is a strong supporter of photovoltaic technology. He is currently lobbying for for the installation of a solar canopy on our facilities building. “What better place to show off this technology than right next to our power plant?” he asks. The project could help power our campus, while inspiring others to be more sustainable. Borick says, “I really do feel it is the future solution to all of our energy needs. I have this vision of producing power all day with solar energy and then turning it into hydrogen and then using hydrogen to fuel our cars, homes and factories. When hydrogen is burned, all it produces is water — kind of a win-win.”
In addition to his work on campus, Paul Borick has grown up to incorporate sustainable decisions in his everyday life. “I think I have always thought of myself as kind of an ‘earth man.’ I feel we have been put on this planet to be good stewards for all of God’s creations,” Borick says. “I think this mindset comes from early hiking and Boy Scout experience. I always strive to leave things better than I found them. That goes for something as little as picking up a piece of trash to making sure we leave things in good order for generations to come.” As a promoter of being a good steward to the Earth, Borick is also a bit of a recycling junkie. While the north campus project has recycled about 85% of its construction and demolition waste, he also prides himself on his recycling bin always being fuller than the trash bin.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, Mr. Borick encourages everyone to think through their decisions more completely: “I always like to remind people to think about the final outcome. Did I do the most good using as few resources as I could? I think that is why I am such a big solar technology fan because other than the production of the PV itself the impact to the environment is somewhat minimal.” His final words of encouragement for living a sustainable life are to “never forget the little things like turning off a light when no one is around or turning off a dripping faucet. Use one paper towel instead of two. If everyone does that just think how big the impact can be.
Written by Kiana Courtney, Communications and Outreach Intern
It only seems appropriate to mark the anniversary of the Reynolda Gardens’ greenhouses and conservatory with a modern addition. Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds set out over a hundred years ago to use Reynolda Gardens as a model of self-sufficiency for local gardeners and, even more,for the community.
These values are similarly shared with the larger community of Wake Forest University, whose motto is “Pro Humanitate,” which is translated as “for the betterment of humanity.” Ravish Paul, Energy Manager for the university, says his office is “always on the lookout for opportunities that benefit all.” Therefore, the decision to put solar panels on the education wing at Reynolda Gardens was not just a small demonstration of solar energy potential for the university, but also an opportunity to “educate and encourage the community to invest in a living which is in harmony with nature,” according to Paul.
During the spring 2011 semester, students in Physics and Chemistry of the Environment (PHY/ CHM 120) researched and reported on a variety of energy efficiency and alternative energy proposals for the greenhouse education wing. Among the recommendations was a report on the feasibility of a solar photovoltaic installation. Based in part on this hands-on learning exercise, Professor Richard Williams secured a donation of a solar photovoltaic array for the gardens. Though the donation did not match up with the specific requirements of the historic structure, the university’s energy manager was able to find a unit that was a good fit.
In February 2013, we installed the array on the south-facing roof of the education wing. Photovoltaics use solar cells to convert sunlight into energy. When several cells are connected in a panel or array, the power generation capacity is increased. Once the energy is generated, it is sent to the inverter, which converts it into a usable form. The usable energy is then supplied to the utility company’s electric meter to either slow it down or spin it in reverse. It is projected that these panels will offset ten percent of the greenhouses’ energy usage each year.
Why solar? The Environment North Carolina Research and Policy Center found that our state has the potential to collect twice as much sunlight as Germany, the world’s leader in solar energy production. Photovoltaics are a common sustainable energy source and, in terms of global importance, rank third, behind wind and hydropower, in providing renewable energy. At the end of 2012, one hundred countries worldwide were using photovoltaics.
In many international cases, photovoltaic usage has become more economically viable than traditional energy sources. For example, citizens in Cambodia can purchase a solar lantern at the equivalent of twenty-five U.S. dollars and use it for years without any additional cost, while fuel for a kerosene lantern runs around thirty U.S. dollars per year.
One of the most influential thinkers of our time, Lester Brown, founder of the World Watch Institute, had this to say about solar power, “The growth in the use of solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity can only be described as explosive, expanding by seventy-four percent in 2011. The world’s current 70,000 megawatts of photovoltaic installations can, when operating at peak power, match the output of seventy nuclear power plants.” Photovoltaics are not the only way to use the sun’s energy. The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these “solar thermal collectors” use the sun’s energy to heat water, space, or both.
With issues of poor air quality, the destruction of natural areas, and the possible degradation of our groundwater arising from the use of fossil fuels, it is our privilege and responsibility to explore energy production in renewable and healthy ways. I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Edison, “I’d put my money on the Sun, what a source of Power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out, before we tackle that.” We hope that the installation at Reynolda Gardens is a step towards a better understanding of solar power’s place in the energy spectrum and a cleaner environment.
Since its inception, Reynolda has served as a model of natural innovation and education. Just as Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds used the Gardens to show others what could be done if given the means, we invite that same spirit in the work we do today. The greenhouses and conservatory, even after one hundred years, are an integral part of our mission. It is our vision that through our educational endeavors and our example we will inspire awareness and an improved understanding of our natural world.
By Amanda Lanier, Curator of Education, Reynolda Gardens of Wake Forest University
Throughout the planning and construction of Farrell Hall, the two new north campus residence halls, and the new dining facility the architects have kept an eye on the incorporation of principles of sustainable design.
In an interview with Paul Borick, a senior project manager with Facilities and Campus Services, he defined the sustainable vision for the projects and identified several of the differences between the new projects and existing campus buildings. Each building, from its foundation, to the landscape that surrounds it, will feature new measures of sustainability that meet the criteria for LEED certification. These features include uniquely designed ventilation systems, recycled material used in the buildings’ structure, the preservation of parts of the original landscape, communal and open spaces that benefit from outside light, and more.
Borick, who is a LEED-accredited professional, stated that the goal of these projects is to “do the right thing,” by creating a focus on sustainable features. Students can breathe a little bit easier knowing that the new Residence Halls will utilize a centralized air distribution system using a sophisticated energy control system, meaning the quality increases because there are no fan coil units in each room. Fan coils tend to be problematic, do not allow for as much control over the heating and cooling and can be damaged by spills into the unit, therefore reducing air quality. Fan coil units also tend to have a limited lifespan so a centralized air distribution system will lead to reduced building life cycle cost and maintenance. In addition, the controlled system allows outside air to be brought in and used to further increase efficiency and air quality. On clear, cool days the system will almost be able to operate on 100% outside air so that minimal conditioning of the air is required.
The structure of the building itself will also be more environmentally friendly, using post-consumer recycled materials. It will consist of a steel stud system made of recycled content that allows for better insulation than traditional concrete block construction. Other benefits of this system include more rigid floors and flexibility in the wall placement, which can allow for ease of future suite modifications.
Inside the buildings, the furniture will be made of recycled content and wood from sustainably managed forests, and the paint will be low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). During construction, all construction waste is being collected and sorted for recycling. The quantity of drywall, steel, glass, copper and other miscellaneous metals being recycled is currently approaching 90%.
There will also be carbon dioxide sensors in the new dining facility and Farrell Hall to further improve control of building ventilation. All four buildings will be supplied with steam and chilled water from a campus central plant through underground pipes as opposed to having an air conditioning system or boiler located in each building. Touch-screen panels will connect to the campus building dashboard in order to educate occupants and visitors about how the buildings are performing.
Although, these buildings have been constructed over existing roads and parts of parking lot Q, the grove of trees on the site still stands. The willow oaks, which will be transformed into a park-like setting, are part of the original farmland on which the Reynolda campus was built. The entrance to Farrell Hall will showcase and honor the grove by creating a symbiotic relationship with the indoor atrium and grove of trees, allowing views and natural light to dominate the area. A major portion of the landscaping will feature plants that are indigenous to North Carolina. Additional caution will be taken in the creek bed area on the site. In the first year, plants will be hand-watered allowing the native plants to take root and to stabilize the banks of the creek. In the following years, the water-efficient natives will require only a minimal amount of irrigation.
Each building will also offer more open spaces for students, faculty, and staff to create a greater sense of community. As you walk into Farrell Hall, you will enter a lobby (or living room), with your back oriented to the glass and columns and towards the trees and Wait Chapel. This is a space where people can convene, work, and connect with the natural setting.
Like Farrell Hall, the new dining hall will offer that same sense of openness and community, as well as several other sustainable features. Rather than the all-you-care-to-eat style of the Fresh Food Company (affectionately known as the Pit) where patrons are separated from other dining venues, the new dining hall will feature areas similar to the Pit, Shorty’s, the P.O.D. and Starbucks. These four beloved concepts on campus will all exist under one roof, creating an all-you-can-carry dining area, so students who want to order from different places can still share a meal. Diners might choose to eat inside or outside on the terrace, under the solar-paneled pergola looking out onto Wait Chapel or the trees.
The new dining hall will also incorporate more measures of efficiency. The dishwasher will use recirculated water for its pre-rinse and the lowest water consumption in its class, with less than .43 gallons per rack, for its main cycle. Almost all appliances will be Energy Star-rated.
Through these sustainable measures and features, the university is, as Borick says, “doing the right things because this is the way building should be built.”
By Kiana Courtney, Communications and Outreach Intern
This November, Wake Forest and Notre Dame will be competing not only on the gridiron but on the grid in an energy-reduction competition. The Energy Bowl competition between Notre Dame and Wake Forest will be held in conjunction with the football game on November 17. The competition is sponsored by the Office of Energy Management.
Each campus will monitor the electrical energy usage of their residence halls for the two weeks preceding the game from November 1 to November 14. The goal of both universities is to achieve at least a 6% reduction in electrical energy usage over the two week span.
So, while the energy bowl is a competition, both teams can win.
On November 1, there will be a kickoff event with games and drinks from 5:00-6:30 on Reynolda Patio (on the Magnolia Quad). While there, students can sign up to have an Energy Intern from the Office of Sustainability or an EcoRep visit their residence hall rooms to give a free assessment and tips about energy efficiency.
Throughout the two weeks there will be kiosks located around campus where iPads will display the most current results of our energy reduction and measure how well we’re stacking up against Notre Dame. Students, faculty, and staff can also check out a range of statistics in energy usage for all buildings on campus with Building Dashboard® energy monitoring and display software.
At the end of the competition, the residence hall with the greatest reduction in energy usage will receive a football signed by the Wake Forest football team to commemorate their achievement.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
In May 2011, agriculturalist-entrepreneurs Pete Gallins and cousin Rucker Sewell began an innovative program in Winston-Salem. The pair began collecting food waste from local businesses and restaurants to compost at the nearby Gallins Family Farm. In the fall of 2011, the university got on board by diverting the Pit’s pre-consumer food waste (food scraps that never leave the kitchen, like potato peels) from local landfills and redirecting them into the Gallins composting facility.
According to Megan Anderson, the manager of Waste Reduction, Recycling, & Surplus at the university, “We have reduced our waste pick-ups by one-third at the Reynolda trash compactor that services the Pit.” This reduction in pick-ups equates to economic savings by way of lowered waste-handling costs and reduced “tipping fees,” levied on trash processed at the landfill.
The reduction in landfill pick-ups has also lessened social and environmental costs associated with waste management. Ms. Anderson told us that rerouting the, “wet, heavy, smelly, messy food waste,” from the Reynolda trash compactor helped eliminate the all-too-familiar odor that attracted pests while repelling passersby.
The program also reduces landfill impacts, including the generation of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. Reduced hauls to the landfill also equate to fuel savings and reduced vehicle exhaust. Through the composting process, Gallins is able to accelerate the conversion of the food scraps to a valuable nutrient-rich soil amendment, the final product of the composting process.
The university’s nascent composting program came full circle this summer when we returned several bags of the compost, marketed as “Carolina Dynamite,” to our Wake Forest campus garden. The compost is produced with the area’s iron-rich soil in mind.
The current boundaries of the composting program are under evaluation for expansion by Ms. Anderson and the countless others involved with the project. She shared plans to begin, collecting from Starbucks and other dining venues on campus. “We would also like to eventually [incorporate] post-consumer food waste collection.” Although we hope that those who eat on campus take only what they intend to eat, there are bound to be scraps and peels that are not consumed. A post-consumer collection program would even allow us to compost paper napkins, creating possibilities for zero-landfill meals at the Fresh Food Company.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
New hydration stations will greet students returning to Reynolda campus. Facilities and Campus Services installed three new stations in high traffic areas: outside the Fresh Food Company, on the ground floor of Benson near Pugh Auditorium, and in the atrium of the Z. Smith Reynolds library. Hydration stations provide chilled, filtered water and are designed to encourage the use of refillable water bottles. A built-in sensor starts the flow of water when a thirsty Deacon places a refillable bottle under the tap, and stops the flow when the bottle is removed. Each unit keeps a running count of how many disposable water bottles we have avoided by choosing to refill.
The success of the first three hydration stations installed last year, outside the Office of Sustainability on the first floor of Reynolda Hall, in Winston Hall, and in the Worrell Professional Center, has demonstrated the demand for hydration stations across campus. This July the original station outside of the Office of Sustainability broke the 20,000 mark for the number of disposable water bottles avoided. Plastic water bottle disposal is an increasing environmental hazard, adding 2 million tons of waste to landfills in the US each year, according to National Geographic. And disposal is not the only problem; plastic water bottles require an incredible amount of energy to produce and transport (if you filled a plastic water bottle up with all the oil required for its production, that water bottle would be about a quarter of the way full). By installing six hydration stations and using refillable water bottles to stay hydrated, our campus community is participating in an important global transition away from disposable water bottles.
As older water fountains fail, Facilities and Campus Services will replace them with new hydration stations. Departments can also co-sponsor the installation of a hydration station near their offices. The Office of Budget and Financial Planning sponsored the installation of the new hydration station outside the Fresh Food Company. For information on how to co-sponsor a hydration station, contact Tiffany White . If your department would like to jump to the front of the line and install a station in your area, contact Donnie Adams at . Also look out for The Office of Sustainability’s reusable water bottle give away at Think Green Thursdays. For dates and times, check our office calendar.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow