Sustainability Made Simpler

It really couldn’t be easier. New recycling stations have been positioned throughout UW-1 and will soon be placed in every building on campus. The stations (made of 100 percent recycled materials) have three openings for waste in three categories:  landfill, compostable, and recycle.  If you are unsure which category your item is in, there are handy visual guides to assist.

"We have been working to increase our recycling for a long time,” says Tony Guerrero, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services. "Thanks to Sabrina Combs with the City of Bothell, we received a grant to install a pilot recycling station in the Commons, which we observed for three months. We found that students didn’t like to open the lid on a big container. So we cut holes in them.  But then we found that people didn’t know which container to put items in. We would see people looking back and forth at the holes trying to decide what item to put where.”

Thus far, the new recycle stations have been placed in the Commons and throughout UW-1. Eventually, they will be in every building on campus. Aside from reducing its carbon footprint, UW Bothell can benefit financially from reducing the amount of waste it sends to the landfill.  UW Bothell has a contract with Waste Management, which charges the college only for the landfill waste it collects. Waste Management also picks up recycled matter from the college, but does not charge a fee. 

The bottom line:  The more the college recycles, the more it saves.

A Mighty Wind in the Bathrooms

The new air hand dryers in campus bathrooms save money and labor, Guerrero says. About 80 percent of the waste the college was sending to landfills was paper towels, which cannot be recycled.

"Including the cost of installation, and the savings we achieve by not buying paper towels, these machines will pay for themselves within five years.” Guerrero says.
He estimates more than 848,000 paper towels per year will be saved in UW-1 and UW-2 once the paper towel dispensers are replaced by the air hand dryers.

As any custodian knows, paper towel dispensers are a common target of vandalism and theft in any public bathroom.  Fewer dispensers allow custodial staff more time to focus on cleaning.

Towels will remain in some areas, including staff lounges, kitchens and laboratories.

Please Don't Water the Grass

Guerrero and his team have been working for years to reduce the amount of water used on irrigation. UW Bothell uses a smart watering system which uses sensors to determine if watering is needed. "Most systems run on timers that turn on whether it needs to or not, Guerrero says. Our system won’t come on if it’s raining or already wet.”

As summer progresses, the college will save water and nurture the grass by deliberately not watering certain sections of grassy campus areas. “We are letting some sections of the grass go dormant over the summer. It’s not that we don’t care … it’s that we DO care,” Guerrero says.  Last year, the college saved more than 700,000 gallons of water by not watering the grass.   

UW Bothell Efforts Contribute to Sierra Magazine “Coolest Schools” Ranking   

UW Bothell

From worm composting to saving water, the University of Washington Bothell’s sustainable practices helped the University of Washington rank fourth in Sierra magazine’s annual ranking of green colleges.

Sustainability efforts from each of the University of Washington’s three campuses (Bothell, Tacoma and Seattle) were considered in the university’s ranking.

Schools were ranked on a variety of factors provided through an in-depth survey, which includes questions regarding energy consumption, transportation, waste, investments and student engagement.

“As a university, we’re committed to the principle of sustainability,” says Tony Guererro, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services. “UW Bothell has a long list of demonstrable practices that protect the environment.”

A commitment to environmental and human sustainability is one of seven campus priorities identified in the 21st Century Campus Initiative, which serves as a roadmap for the university.

The campus of UW Bothell and Cascadia Community College includes a 58-acre wetland that ranks among the largest floodplain restorations in the Pacific Northwest. UW Bothell plants more than 3,000 trees each year in the wetland and other areas around campus.

Other green practices on the UW Bothell campus include:
Pesticide-free methods are used to fertilize grass, plants and for weed control

  • Since October 25, 2004, the campus has used Red Wrigglers worms to compost the garbage. 
  • Variable output building heating and cooling system is used to regulate building temperatures. This allows fine-tuned control of energy use in maintaining interior climate. Our buildings also have computerized HVAC and lighting systems.
  • Lighting retrofit in our garages saves more than $40,000 per year
  •  From October 2007-October 2008 the UWB/CCC campus diverted over one-half of its waste to be recycled; 2600 Cubic Yards to landfill vs. 2678 Cubic Yards recycled.
  • Campus Grounds: Funding was secured and is being implemented to expand recycling services and availability across campus.
  • Water reduction methods have saved more than 700,000 of gallons of water this year.

Read the Sierra magazine "Coolest Schools" issue"

Green Runs Deep on UW Bothell/Cascadia Campus

"When we hear the phrase 'Go Green,'we usually think of the little things such as planting a tree, composting or using “green certified” products. But what if each of us had the power to embrace environmental friendliness on an even larger scale?"...
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