Environmental Progress

Gordon College is in many ways at the leading edge of environmental leadership in the way it uses energy and natural resources. We at Physical Plant take very seriously our role in overseeing how Gordon College impacts our local and global environment. We strive to make decisions every day to limit our use of fossil fuels, water and sewage. With a daytime population of approximately 1900 people, we have the impact of a small town, so we must be careful to manage our resources in a manner which would be pleasing to  our Creator.

-Paul A. Helgesen, director of Physical Plant


  • Used to eliminate the use of sand for winter ice control
  • Coats road to make salt less corrosive
  • Sand does not end up in the wetlands
  • Sand does not collect in the deep sump manholes to reduce effectiveness
  • Saves campus carpets and countless vacuum bags

Gordon College has converted 95% of its buildings from oil and electricity to natural gas heating. As a result, this has greatly reduced our emission of greenhouse gases and keeps the groundwater safe from heating oil tank leaks.

Current installations of new energy management systems will bring increased comfort, reduce greenhouse gases, and save funds in our energy budgets.

Buildings installed with new energy management systems:

  • Chase Hall
  • Bennett Center
  • Ken Olsen Science Center

Buildings currently being retrofitted with new systems:

  • Lane
  • Barrington
  • Phillips
  • A. J. Chapel
  • Jenks Library


Participation with MA Electric and Keyspan have assisted us in the installation of:

  • T5 Lighting
  • Super T8 lighting
  • Occupancy sensors
  • Low energy lighting ballasts
  • Energy efficient boilers
  • Day lighting controls
  • Boiler replacements
  • Variable speed drives for large motors

Recently completed lighting projects and yearly savings:

  •   Bennett pool lighting --  $1,236 per year
  •   Bennett gym lighting --  $5,392 per year
  •   Bennett hall lighting --  $1,974 per year
  •   A. J. Chapel lobby lighting --  $3,888 per year
  •   Frost Hall chandler -- $ 534 per year
  •   Tavilla Hall lighting -- $4,720 per year
  •   Ferrin Hall lighting -- $3,200 per year
  •   Bromley Hall lighting -- $1,261 per year
  •   Jenks lighting -- $5,518 per year
  •   Estimated Total -- $27,723 per year

*This is not a complete listing of all the lighting projects completed, but gives a general idea of current savings. For a ten year period these projects alone, would generate a $277,230 savings for Gordon College. This estimate would go up as energy prices increase, but we save money through less lamp changes. The cost of the new light fixtures are offset through our electric company's rebates and energy savings generated. The lights usually pay for themselves in approximately one year.


  • Battery collection stations in dorms and buildings to keep mercury from entering the air or ground water
  • CRT/TV collection
  • Freon system collection and decommissioning
  • Mercury containing light bulb collection and proper disposal
  • Waste oil recycling

Chemistry department teaches and uses "Green Chemistry" procedures in the classroom, reducing the amount of hazardous wastes produced.

EPA self audit and disclosure was done in 2002 by URS Corporation to look at all of our potentially hazardous activities on campus. This gave us the opportunity to look at our strengths and put in places measures to correct our weaknesses.

In conjunction with the Wenham Conservation Commission and input from State Agencies, $250,000 was invested in a wetland restoration project in 2003. This project reclaimed a wetland that had been paved over behind Frost Hall, 25 much needed parking spaces were given up, a drainage system was installed to improve water quality and the wetlands were planted with different wetland species.

Gordon College also:

  • Recycles approximately 35% of its daily trash
  • Purchases B20 diesel fuel in appropriate seasons
  • Uses Frialator oil by turning it into bio-diesel for campus use and teaching opportunities

Back to Recycling