Green Initiatives

Green Initiatives

As caretakers of the campus's buildings, grounds, and energy usage, Facilities Operations strives to be good stewards of our environment.

We buy motor oil in bulk, thus saving money, time, and materials. Bulk purchasing also avoids landfill waste and potential groundwater pollution related to dumping "empty" quart containers. Click here to learn more.

Landscape Services works with Campus Dining to recover food waste, which we compost into a soil amendment for use across campus and at the University's Blackburn-Vannoy Farm, thus reducing our purchase of fertilizers. By collecting dining hall scraps, we are able to compost 275 tons a year. Learn more about composting at Appalachian State.

Shredded paper that enters the mixed recycling stream becomes a contaminant and ends up in the landfill. Landscape Services Recycling team offers a Confidential shredding service, in which a locked bin is provided to collect confidential/sensitive paper material and swapped out as needed. A third party contractor destroys/shreds the material and then markets the recyclable product, ensuring it can be reused. (Note: there is a small cost associated with this service, and the vendor charge is passed along to the department using the service.)

The Controls department works to keep our buildings' climate comfortable through automated controls. Temperatures in most of our newer buildings can be adjusted by a central control center located in Holmes Convocation Center. We are working to retrofit many of our older buildings with automated controls as well. Why automation? It's more responsive, more accurate, and more energy efficient. The Controls department reviews control system designs and implements solutions to improve performance and energy conservation.

There are five EV charging stations on campus, four of which are solar powered (grid tied). One is located in the Rivers Street parking deck, and four are located in the Legends parking lot.

Both our Energy Manager and Energy Analyst work with various other shops—including Electrical , HVAC / Computer-Controlled Heating & Air Conditioning, and Planning, Design, & Construction—to reduce energy use across campus. Facilities Operations funds two full-time positions dedicated to identifying and implementing energy-saving methods and technologies.

We strive to use as many Green Seal, EcoLogo, and EPA Design for Environment (DfE) certified products as possible. Products bearing these logos are certified by independent non-profit organizations to have met rigorous performance, health, and environmental criteria. To learn more, read our green cleaning policy.

Appalachian State has two Green Roofs on campus, at Katherine Harper Hall and at the Reich College of Education. Green Roofs enhance sustainability by creating natural insulation, reducing air pollutants caused by air conditioning. In Urban settings Green Roofs provide an effective way to reduce stormwater runoff through absorption and retention.

Our Landscaping crews use a system of integrated pest management to maintain the beautiful campus landscapes with the most sustainable (non-chemical) methods possible. Typical IPM strategies include biological, cultural, mechanical, and finally chemical methods to control pests. Our particular IPM plan emphasizes preventive controls through cultural modifications as well as physical/mechanical controls. Examples include avoiding turfgrass disease by adjusting mowing heights, aerating, not over-watering, providing drainage, appropriate levels of fertilization, mulching to reduce weeds, physically pulling weeds, eliminating food sources of pests/animals, etc. Pesticides including herbicides/fungicides/insecticides are used as a last resort and we choose products that are proven to have less environmental impact.

We've switching to LED lights--which are brighter and make our campus safer at night. As of December 2015, we've converted approximately 85% of all outdoor lights to LED's. LED's, where installed, have reduced our lighting cost by 70%.

Appalachian's Landscaping department prioritizes planting native species. Native trees and plants naturally thrive in our regional climate, requiring less fertilizer, less pesticide, and overall less maintenance. Additionally, native species support a diverse array of wildlife and insects, including pollinators.

There are currently 10 photovoltaic systems at Appalachian, both on campus and at satellite sites. These systems are demonstrating the viability of PV as a renewable energy source and providing research and analysis opportunities that will help define our energy future. Aside from generating clean, carbon-free electricity, education is a key element in the value of these systems. Appalachian places a high priority on producing students versed in the knowledge of what a sustainable energy future looks like.

In 2018, Appalachian State was awarded the title of "Bee Campus USA". This certification highlights the importance to our students, staff, and faculty of providing safe habitats for pollinators and
education about the pivotal role they play in ecosystems. Learn more about pollinator gardens at Appalachian State.

To extend the life of both mechanical and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, Preventive Maintenance (PM) regularly lubricates bearings in motors, fans, and pumps and changes air filters on an ongoing basis. PM crews also use thermal imaging to identify heat loss in buildings so that repairs can be made and use thermal imaging to identify whether motors are operating within recommended ranges. Our roofing crew regularly blows debris from roofs to prevent clogged drains; cleans downspouts and gutters; and repairs damaged roofs. Extending the life of existing buildings is key to a sustainable campus.

In 2013, Appalachian State switched to single stream recycling. Almost all recyclables–paper, glass, plastics, and metals–go in one recycling bin together. The main exceptions are cardboard boxes, confidential (shredded) paper, plastic bags, and techno-trash. Learn more about recycling at Appalachian State.

We are conservative with salt in the event of snow and ice. To preserve creeks, flora and fauna, as well as facilities, we do not pre-treat or brine with harsh chemicals. Learn more about our snow removal procedures.

Heating and cooling campus buildings takes more energy than lighting and computer usage combined, so we have concentrated our efforts on thoughtful thermostatic scheduling. When buildings are mostly unoccupied--including at night, on weekends, and on breaks--we "turn back" the thermostats. It is working! We have reduced campus energy usage by 34% since the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

Appalachian State earned its first "Tree Campus USA" designation from the Arbor Day Foundation in 2014 and continues to earn this recognition by planting and monitoring trees, budgeting for tree care, and working with faculty and student committees to promote urban forests on our campus. Learn more about trees at Appalachian State.

In 2017, Appalachian State switched to a paper towel dispenser designed to use 100% of the roll and then automatically replace the empty roll with a new one. We estimate that switching to these new dispensers saves 957,495 feet of paper towels each year. Our paper towels are unbleached to reduce chlorine derivatives from being introduced in the ecosystem, and they're made from 50% recycled material. This yields two benefits:

  1. material was diverted from a landfill to make these towels, and
  2. only half of the amount of living trees were harvested to make these towels.