College one of first in nation to submit ‘green’ plan
Sept. 25, 2009

The College had a good, “green” reason to celebrate when it began its new academic year in September.

On Sept. 4, LaGrange became the ninth school out of 650 participating institutions nationwide to submit its Climate Action Plan to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment reporting site – a week ahead of its deadline.  The College came in ahead of such schools as Arizona State University, Oberlin College, Duke University and other sustainability leaders.

The Presidents Climate Commitment encourages schools to become climate neutral, and LaGrange College leader Dan McAlexander said he is proud of the work put into the College’s plan.

“LaGrange College is committed to serving our community and our world,” he said. “By being good stewards of our resources, we can lead the way in educating our students, faculty and staff about ways to care for our planet – and they can educate others.”

The five-year climate action strategy has been dubbed “Knowledge is Power Saved.”  The specific measures are designed to inform and educate building management and occupants about energy usage.  These low-cost measures have the capacity to save the College thousands of dollars each month in utility bills, according to the report.

The plan provides a road map for how LaGrange College will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, aiming for a 10 percent cut by 2014. It focuses on the near term and takes a pragmatic approach, seeking to lower emissions in the most cost-effective manner while reducing utility costs.

Tiffany Mixon, who chaired the project, said reaching that goal should not be difficult.

“When we were working on this, we realized that we were already doing a lot of these energy-saving things,” she said. “This plan reinforces those efforts.”

Recent sustainability efforts at LaGrange have centered on reducing energy usage through extensive retrofits of existing buildings, she said. These retrofits, conducted by a performance contract with an energy service company, began in July 2006 and were completed in August 2007. In late 2008, the LaGrange campus saw the addition of a 45,000-square-foot library that is designed to be LEED- Silver-certified.

When Banks Hall was being renovated after the new library opened, materials and equipment such as energy-efficient windows, motion-activated and low usage lighting and a state-of-the-art heating and air-conditioning system were used.
“We’re continuing our efforts to keep sustainability as a focus on our campus,” she said.

To complete the action plan, the College worked with the consulting firm MarionEco of Atlanta.

"I'm very pleased with the way this project came together," said MarionEco principal Oliver Ferrari.  "LaGrange College’s plan takes a common sense, pragmatic approach to sustainability and energy efficiency.  Simple and sensible changes to operations, like limiting the use of certain buildings in the heat of the summer, can save the college thousands of dollars while reducing pollution.”

The committee included Martin Pirrman, James Blackwood, Karen Clark, Mary Lou Dabbs, Dr. Melinda Pomeroy-Black, Joe Wiegand (student), Bob Vitale (National), Ben Podbielski (National), Susan Lancaster (National), Ben Mason (Linc Mechanical) and John Bradford and Matthew Carter of Interface.

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