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BHSU receives national APPA 2014 Sustainability Award

 
Randy Culver, director of facilities services at BHSU, accepts the 2014 APPA Sustainability Award during the APPA Conference and Exhibition in July in San Diego. The University was recognized for its excellence in sustainability initiatives. 

Black Hills State University recently earned a national recognition with the 2014 Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Sustainability Award present by the APPA Professional Affairs Committee.

The APPA Sustainability Award recognizes and advances sustainability excellence in educational facilities. BHSU was selected based on several criteria, including curriculum and research, leadership and administration, maintenance and operations, energy and utility, and planning and construction.

BHSU was honored at the APPA 2014 Conference and Exhibition July 21-23 in San Diego.

“BHSU facilities services has implemented more than $1 million in energy efficiency projects across campus, resulting in energy savings and improved utility monitoring, among other things,” said Katie Greer, BHSU sustainability coordinator.

Receiving the award provided validation, Greer said, in knowing that the school has done well in areas of sustainability.

Since 2008, BHSU has strived to reduce its carbon footprint by implementing strategies to reduce waste, monitor energy use and create a strategic plan to advance ecological and energy saving initiatives. BHSU’s goal is climate neutrality by 2050. The University is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified and enrolled in the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS) program to assess its progress in meeting sustainability goals.

In April, BHSU was awarded a STARS Silver Rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education for its commitment to sustainability. Also in April, BHSU’s dining services, The Hive and The Buzz Shack, were awarded a 2-Star Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA).

BHSU’s current sustainability initiatives include establishing a comprehensive inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions, discussing how to become climate neutral, and initiating interim actions to reduce greenhouse gases. Those actions include building LEED certified buildings, purchasing only energy-efficient appliances when available and encouraging faculty, staff and students to consider the environment when executing office tasks such printing to reduce paper waste.

Of the 852,571 square feet of building space on campus, nearly 20 percent of that square feet is LEED certified.

In addition, a sustainability education program is held each semester with celebration of Sustainability Day in the fall and Earth Day in the spring. Students can also earn educational certificates in areas such as Energy Management Technology or entire degrees with an environmental emphasis. An on campus garden, planted each summer, produces more than 1,300 pounds of produce that is used in the campus dining facilities. Recycling receptacles are located in all campus buildings, as well.

“BHSU’s recycling program has grown since its implementation in 2005,” Greer said. “More than 35 tons of materials are recycled a year at BHSU, including food waste from the cafeteria, which is composted.”

Greer said that the Facilities Services Department has several new initiatives in the works. Spearfish Local, a program that kicked off this summer, will promote Spearfish’s local food economy and provide paid internships for students. A Campus Tree Advisory Committee has been formed and will include a three-phase tree planting process for BHSU to increase species diversity and improve the campus’ tree canopy from damage. The department also is in the process of updating the Climate Action Plan, the guiding document to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. 

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