You are here

Articles: Sustainability

Mark Edlen, a Portland developer and businessman with Gerding Edlen, sees the commitment to sustainability as both a political movement and a business strategy, as noted in an April 14, 2010 article in The Oregonian. In explaining his new business approach, Edlen said, "The big thing for my generation was Vietnam and civil rights. For the young people of today, it's their environmental footprint." He is convinced the green economy is one of the country's primary economic engines. In his case, this means sustainable building has arrived as a viable business strategy.

When colleges and universities start assessing their carbon footprint, the IT department is likely to come under fire by virtue of having oversight of much of the energy consumption on campus. Just how much energy do IT functions account for? At Harvard, for example, Sustainability Office Director Heather Henriksen says that IT functions--from data centers to network equipment to desktops and laptops--make up between 13 and 25 percent of the institution’s peak electrical load. “Research computing needs are set to double in five to six years under business as usual,” she adds.

With just a tiny chapel located within its student center and main academic building, it was time for a standalone chapel at Sacred Heart.

Reputation management is of utmost importance to colleges and universities in their constant pursuit of students and research dollars. It envelops all aspects of the institution, including the business of maintaining environmental compliance. One notice of violation from a regulatory entity can be highly publicized, result in fines, and have widespread negative impacts both within and outside the institution.

In the fallout of significant budget cuts at public universities, it's difficult to see a bright spot. Programs are being eliminated, salaries are frozen, faculty furloughed, and institutions with a strong history of serving their communities are forced to make bone-deep cuts. There is, however, a solution that can help us navigate through this crisis and we're seeing it at work: private, market-driven institutions of higher education.

 

SOMETIMES WORDS AND PHRASES CAN trigger images that we use to define things. For example, when I hear the word “sustainable” it often brings to mind a trip I took some years ago. I was among a group of people touring one of the largest working dairy farms in western Connecticut.

 

SINCE WORLD WAR I, FORT ORD IN SALINAS, CALIF., HAD BEEN AN ARMY training facility and artillery target range. Today, 15 years after the army left, the property’s main feature is a growing regional university—California State University, Monterey Bay.

 

IN THE LATE 1990s, WE WORKED WITH A YOUNG woman who had a very strong focus on environmental action. At the time, it was the rare student who placed her own environmentalism and that of prospective colleges so squarely in the forefront of her admissions process.

 

Pages