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Gordon is committed to conserving energy on multiple levels.

Energy Conservation Program

Our energy conservation program policy is in full implementation. This is our formalized effort in encouraging the campus community to reduce energy use. Here is some of what we’ve done:

  • Gordon College has converted 98% 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 possible heating oil tank leaks.
  • A new generation of energy management systems have been installed to some of our larger buildings: Chase, Bennett, Jenks, Ferrin, Barrington and Lane Student Center. These transformations increase comfort, reduce greenhouse gases, and save funds in our energy budgets.
  • Gordon College has entered into a contract with Direct Energy to purchase “Renewable Resource” energy as provided in the Green-e Renewable National Standard for a portion on our purchased electricity. This will provide approximately 293MWs of our electricity per year.
  • Gordon College installed a 5.6 KW photovoltaic system on the roof of Roosevelt Hall to provide electricity on campus. We are currently forgoing our RECs to count the electricity produced as green. This will produce about 8MWs per year.
  • Gordon College has natural gas use meters on all of our buildings. Electric meters or sub meters are on 75% of our buildings. All of Gordon's energy use and costs are tracked each month.
  • Gordon is participating in a load demand response program, the Demand Response Program, where we will shed electrical load during peak times of increased demand.
  • In the past six years, we have completed 46 lighting retrofit projects across campus. 1,315 light fixtures have been replaced or retrofitted, including:
    • T5 Lighting Fixtures
    • LED Light Fixtures
    • Occupancy Sensors
    • Daylighting Systems
    • Energy Efficient Lighting Ballasts
  • We have also implemented:
    • Energy Efficient Boilers
    • Energy Efficient Air Conditioning Units
    • Variable Speed Drives for Large Motors
  • Variable Speed Drives for Large Motors Energy conservation measures include:
    • 262,925 KWH of electricity
    • 571,676 pounds (271.7 metric tons) of carbon dioxide
    • 16,834 therms of natural gas
    • $86,916 in energy expenses
    • Over $100,000 in rebates from National Grid

New Temperature Policy

This will be a framework that sets seasonal indoor temperature ranges. Temperature policies assist operations and building occupants by setting guidelines for temperature ranges during the winter heating season and summer cooling season to ensure efficient energy use. Spaces operating within the guidelines provide increased comfort for occupants and savings to the institution.

During the winter heating season (October 16 through May 14), occupied spaces will be heated to 68°F. Naturally, temperatures will fluctuate a bit from building to building and floor to floor. During the summer cooling season (May 15 through October 15), occupied spaces will be cooled to 76°F (where air conditioning equipment currently exists); buildings with stringent humidity requirements may operate below this range.

These space temperature ranges are based on established standards for human comfort, productivity and safety. Occupants are encouraged to work with the Physical Plant to achieve acceptable temperature, humidity and ventilation levels. Maximum comfort and efficiency can be achieved when occupants adapt to building conditions through modification of airflow, sunlight and clothing appropriate to the conditions. Please remember that personal space heaters or other heating or cooling devices may present a safety risk and are prohibited from use unless approved and provided by the Physical Plant.

Policy to Reduce Paper and Plastic Use on Campus

Gordon is committed to reducing paper and plastic use on campus. Here are a few things the College has done to enforce this commitment:

  • In 2016 Loyalty Card began in the Bistro to encourage students to use their own mugs instead of paper cups. Chesters Place was added to the loyality card in 2020.
  • In 2018, Bon Appetit starting the “Green Box” Initiative and cut all use of plastic straws in main dining center.
  • The Dining Services Department has made a dedicated effort to drastically reduce the amount of plastic bottle use by installing filtered water stations at key points throughout its service areas.
  • The College has worked with HT Berry Paper to convert to a compostable and disposable product line to replace past non-compostable products.
  • Gordon has collaborated with vendors to reduce the amount of packaging required per case of product ordered and received.
  • Dining Services purchases from two companies that have warehouses that are completely solar-driving. Both HT Berry, our paper supplier, and Performance Food Group North Center, broad line food supplier, run their entire warehouses by solar energy at no cost and even sell off the excess energy for a profit.
  • Physical Plant has a policy regarding waste disposal for the entire campus called “Single Stream – Recycling Made Simple.” Within this program, Dining Services disposes of flattened cardboard, magazines, office paper, brown paper bags, newspapers, junk mail, phone books, paper board, glass bottles and jars, all kinds of aluminum, steel cans, and aerosol cans all into one container that is picked up by the disposal contractor.

While Gordon does these things now, it has also done a lot in the past to reduce paper and plastic use on campus and be environmentally conscious. Here is some of what we’ve done:

1988: Programs for recycling and trash reduction began.

1989: "Paper Only" bins were placed next to the Bromley trash shed and the HUD dorms. The recycling program saved Gordon about $20,000 in 1989.

1990: Deposit areas for aluminum cans and glass were constructed. Dining Services made an effort to decrease waste and increase recycling.

1991: "Plastic Only" barrels were added on campus. Receptacles for the collection of high-quality paper were added to offices. Gordon recycled 52 tons of paper in 1991 alone.

1992: Dining Services agreed to purchase more recycled products if economically reasonable. The Bookstore planned to purchase more recycled paper products and removed environmentally unsound products from the shelves. T mailroom contacted catalog companies and advertisers in an effort to cut down junk mail. The print shop began looking for ways to use recycled paper.

1994: Dining Services eliminated all plastic except silverware. Gordon adopted a section of highway in the Adopt-A-Highway program.

1996: Effort was made to increase student and staff awareness of the recycling program. Dining Services began to use recycled napkins.

1997: Recycled paper was made available in the Print Shop. Steps were taken to reinstate former policies in the Mail Room, Bookstore, and Print Shop in regards to recycled paper use. Grapevine was put on VAX to reduce paper waste by 1500 sheets a week.

1999: Recycling containers purchased and placed in every student's dorm room for bottles, cans, and paper. Continual re-labeling of trash containers for awareness. A cardboard compactor was purchased to improve the collection and recycling process of cardboard.

2007: Design Center started buying 100% post-consumer waste copy paper which is the supply for printers and copiers around campus.

2008: Single Stream Recycling - our new recycling program combined recycling into one bin.

2009: Instituted a total "Green Cleaning" program, including chemicals, toilet paper, paper towels, and vacuum cleaners (new HEPA filters).

2010:  Added composting to the Dining hall.  The kitchen now does Pre-Consumer composting.  The composted products go to Brick End Farm in Hamilton.  The director of Physical Plant added Sustainability to his job title.

2011: Introduced a more extensive composting program throughout the campus. Students in apartments are able to compost.

2012: Work with Advocates for a Sustainable Future has increased to produce comprehensive Restore Creation (Earth Week) programs.

2013: Gordon was recognized for sustainability achievements by MassDEP. Administrators presented on our practices at the MassDEP annual conference. Energy Management systems in Philips were recommissioned.

2014: Gordon began composting on property and measured 18 tons composted this year!

2015: Gordon has introduced two Zip Cars into it's community. The usage of these cars encourages carpooling, and reduces the amount of students bringing their own cars to campus. Gordon has also put in 10 new purified water-bottle fill stations in popular locations to reduce the amount plastic water bottles on campus.

2016: Gordon has introduced two new initiatives for students this year! The first is getting reusable mugs in Chester's place for students that choose to stay and study. The mugs are returned to a bucket and picked up and washed by a Lane staff member. The second initiative is a Loyalty Card for Bistro 255. This Loyalty Card is stamped whenever a student brings their own mug or reusable cup. After the student completes the amount of stamps on the card they can receive a free cup of coffee.

2017: In the summer of 2017 Gordon began a partnership with Bon Appetit Management Company who ensure delicious and cooked-from-scratch meals for students, faculty, and staff. Through their "Farm to Fork" program they guarantee at least 20% of their ingredients are sourced from local farms in the North Shore. They also only serve seafood that meets the Seafood Watch sustainability guidelines and ground beef that has been humanely raised. As our community is fueled by more sustainable meals we can continue to search for the most sustainable options in all other areas of our lives.

 2018: As of Fall 2018 Gordon and Bon Appetit no longer use plastic straws in the main Dining Hall. They also have implemented reusable to-go containers called "green boxes" cutting back on the amount of paper containers that were wasted every day.

2019: In the fall of 2019, Gordon had 6 electric vehicle charging stations installed in three parking lots on campus. The college is also currently using 100% recycled paper. In addition to those two achievements in sustainability, we have implemented post-consumer composting in the dining center.

Water Conservation Program

Our systematic, formalized water conservation program is in full implementation mode. Here is some of what we’ve done:

Water Filtration in Lane

In 2009, all of the drinking water stations in the Lane Food Court were fitted with "Aqua Pure" filtration systems. This upgrade provided the Gordon community with pure drinking water and the opportunity to reuse water bottles, preventing more plastic from going into landfills. In 2015,10 new purified water bottle fill stations were added around campus in high-traffic foot areas to further reduce the use of plastic bottles.

Low Flow Shower Heads and Toilets

In the past three years, all 318 campus shower heads have been changed from 2.5 gal/minute heads to 1.6 gal/minute heads. This has led to an annual savings of:

  • 3,348,000 gallons of water
  • $64,616 in water/sewage costs
  • $21,092 in water heating costs

Energy Efficient Appliance Usage

Gordon’s plan for energy-efficient appliances usage, which includes more energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures replacing conventional appliances is fully employed. This policy has been in place for several years. Two years ago, all washers and dryers were replaced with high-efficiency units. All new appliances, including microwaves, ovens, refrigerators, etc. must be energy efficient. Gordon will remain committed to this practice.

Additional Conservation Efforts

  • In conjunction with the Wenham Conservation Commission and with 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. Twenty-five much-needed parking spaces were given up, a drainage system was installed to improve water quality and the wetlands were planted with native wetland species.
  • At one time, sand and salt were used on Gordon access roads and lots in the winter to manage snow and ice. However, this method had unnecessary ecological consequences. Sand ended up in residence halls, deep sump manholes and in the nearby wetlands. Gordon switched to using Magic Salt, mixed with road salt, to eliminate the need for sand while lessening the corrosive effects of the road salt on the wetland ecosystem. The benefits include:
    • Magic Salt use eliminated the use of sand for winter ice control
    • It coats roads to make salt less corrosive
    • Sand does not end up in the wetlands
    • Sand does not collect in the deep sump manholes (which reduces their effectiveness)
    • This method saves campus carpets and countless vacuum bags

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