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Scarlet Goes Green: Rutgers and EPA Partner to Reduce University's Environmental Impacts

Release Date: 11/13/2009
Contact Information: Jennifer May, EPA (646) 369-0039, may.jennifer@epa.gov or E.J. Miranda, Rutgers (732) 932-7084, ext. 613, emiranda@ur.rutgers.edu

(New York, N.Y.) With more than 50,000 students, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is one of the most highly-attended universities in the Northeast. Thanks to myriad efforts to quantify and reduce its environmental impacts, the New Jersey school is also one of the greenest. Today, Rutgers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed an agreement to expand the school’s already strong environmental programs and commitments. The agreement outlines steps to reduce air pollution from vehicles, increase recycling, and improve water and energy use across the school’s three campuses.

“EPA is proud to partner with an institution like Rutgers that has long demonstrated a strong commitment to the environment,” said EPA Acting Deputy Regional Administrator Barbara Finazzo. “When you consider the potential reach of Rutgers’ efforts—across several campuses and to more than 50,000 students—small changes translate into big results, which is the most effective way to make a demonstrable difference for the environment.”

“Rutgers University is a national leader in education and research,” President Richard L. McCormick said. “We intend to lead by example in adopting policies and practices that conserve energy; reduce waste; and protect the environment of our university community, the State of New Jersey and our nation.”

The following are highlights of the agreement between Rutgers and EPA. The university will:

  • Increase the purchase hybrid or alternate-fuel vehicles for its fleet, and use lower-sulfur diesel fuel in and retrofit existing diesel vehicles to reduce emissions and air pollution.
  • Maintain its strong recycling practices. This year, Rutgers recycled 62 percent of its solid waste.
  • Use heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment that meets ENERGY STAR standards. Rutgers joined EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, which promotes energy efficiency through a range of programs and practices, in 2008.
  • Maintain its newly-completed 1.4 megawatt solar energy project, which will generate approximately 10 percent of the Rutgers Livingston campus’ electrical demand and reduce the university’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,200 tons per year.
  • Join EPA’s Combined Heat and Power Partnership program, which promotes the use of thermal energy to help reduce the environmental impacts of power generation. Rutgers already gets energy from an on-site, 13-megawatt thermal energy power plant.
  • Meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard for new buildings. LEED is an internationally-recognized green building certification system aimed at improving energy and water efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving indoor environmental quality, and conserving resources.
  • Cut water usage by some 250 million gallons per year, which will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 8,700 tons.
  • Consider using construction equipment that runs on diesel that contains less sulfur than conventional fuel and uses filters to capture pollution, the combination of which stands to greatly reduce vehicle emissions.
  • Explore creating a program that gives preference to students, faculty and staff that drive hybrid or alternate-fuel vehicles.
  • Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products where possible.
  • Consider the use of coal combustion products, where appropriate, in future construction projects. The use of coal combustion products in place of Portland cement significantly reduces energy use, carbon dioxide emissions and concrete costs.
  • Improve storm water and turf management practices, including reducing the use of fertilizer and weed control chemicals.

EPA has similar agreements in place with the New York Jets and New York Giants for the new Meadowlands Stadium, the New York Mets for Citi Field stadium, the Destiny USA mall project in Syracuse, N.Y., the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J., St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., and Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J, and Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y.

For more information on EPA green construction and operations agreements, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/greenteam/. For more information on Rutgers’ environmental efforts, visit http://www.rutgers.edu/about-rutgers/we-are-green.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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