ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. (Feb. 2, 2009)—In recognition of St. Mary's College of Maryland's (SMCM) commitment to green building initiatives and environmental leadership, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) have cited the college for innovative, sustainable environmental practices and leadership in building design. SMCM is the only college in Maryland to receive the EPA Green Power Leadership Club award and the first four-year residential college in the state to be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Awards from both organizations were presented to President Jane Margaret "Maggie" O'Brien at a State House alumni reception in Annapolis on Jan. 29.
O'Brien opened her comments at the reception by thanking Secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services Alvin C. Collins for his role in supporting the state as a national leader in sustainability practices and projects. His agency's support for the funding of green projects made it possible for SMCM to construct its LEED-certified building, Goodpaster Hall. "Buildings like Goodpaster Hall show that green buildings not only provide great benefit for our environment, but are also very cost-effective," O'Brien said. She also thanked SMCM students for their "leadership in taking environmental initiatives" to reduce energy costs on campus.
In presenting O'Brien with the LEED award, Dean DiPietro ('05), assistant manager of LEED implementation at the Washington-based USGBC and a SMCM alumnus, commented on the college's "outstanding achievement" in the building of Goodpaster Hall, which was designed by SmithGroup of Washington, D.C. "St. Mary's College is a pioneer in green building initiatives and has stepped outside the box" in championing environmentally responsible building projects that set an example that "change is happening now," he said. "Goodpaster Hall is an inspiration to students and faculty."
The college's student-funded purchase of 100 percent green power earned it membership in the select Green Power Leadership Club for its initiative of "exemplary green power procurement." The Green Power Leadership Club's energy purchase requirements are ten times the purchase requirements for the EPA's Green Power Partnership program, which the college has won for several years. Matthew Fafoutis ('09), SMCM Student Government Association vice president, presented O'Brien with the EPA Green Power Leadership award. "SMCM has joined an elite group of Green Power Partners who are demonstrating exemplary environmental leadership by offsetting 100 percent of our electricity with renewable energy credits," Fafoutis said.
Goodpaster Hall on the SMCM campus earned a Silver rating from the LEED Green Building Rating System. The USGBC certified the classroom building, which opened in January 2008. It was the only green higher education state funded pilot project and is a Silver-level winner in the new construction category. Goodpaster Hall is designed and built to reduce or eliminate negative impacts on the environment through energy efficiency, the use of recycled or renewable building materials, and a reduction of the building's effect on the surrounding land and water.
The building's practical innovations in engineering and architecture are many. The water system is designed to save 300,000 gallons annually through the use of waterless urinals and other inventive designs such as dual-flush toilets. The building's rain- and gray-water systems recycle water from sinks for use in flushing the toilets. A 30 percent reduction in energy use over the average building is made possible by technology like the energy recovery wheel that draws heated air from high-performance fume hoods in the building's chemistry labs, filters it to make it safe, and feeds it back into the building to heat classrooms. Storm-water runoff from the roof of the building is routed to a courtyard fountain in an effort to further decrease the amount runoff that reaches the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Goodpaster Hall's other green credentials include highly efficient lighting and equipment, the use of building materials with recycled content and lumber from managed forests, and the use of paints and sealants with low volatile organic compounds.
The LEED certification-a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings-cites Goodpaster Hall "as a pioneering example of sustainable design that demonstrates leadership in transforming the building industry," according to USGBC President and Founding Chairman S. Richard Fedrizzi.
The LEED for new construction is a rating system designed to guide and distinguish high-performance buildings that have less of an impact on the environment, are healthier for those who work or live in them, and are more profitable than conventional designs. Building projects earn points for satisfying criteria that address specific environmental impacts inherent in building design, construction, operation and management. Certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures.
According to school officials, other green initiatives at SMCM include the following:
-- Energy conservation-As a result of the college's energy performance contract, electricity use has been reduced by 16.5 percent, oil use by 23 percent, and water and sewage use by 34 percent, for a total savings of $350,000 a year.
-- SMCM students funded a geo-thermal HVAC system in the college's new James P. Muldoon River Center which is 45 percent more efficient than a standard heat pump system.
-- Sustainable groundskeeping-The SMCM grounds crew received the Audubon International Certification in Environmental Planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, the first college in Maryland to receive this certification.
-- Trayless cafeteria-The college's cafeteria no longer offers trays, a practice that will contain the college's food expenditure, result in less water consumption, and reduce food waste by 23 percent.
-- Green cleaning products-the SMCM cleaning crew uses environmentally responsible, Green Seal-certified cleaning products.
-- Recycling and composting-The college is expanding its recycling and composting programs, with student volunteers collecting such material from campus residences.
-- Support for local agriculture-Bon Appétit, the college's food service provider, buys local meat and produce in large quantities to sustain local agriculture, reduce fuel consumption of delivery trucks, and lower the college's carbon footprint.