Duquesne implements environmentally friendly strategies

Megan Klinefelter / Staff Photographer


Kellen Stepler | Staff Writer

Kermit the frog said, “It’s not easy being green.”

But for Duquesne University, it is.

According to the Princeton Review, Duquesne is “one of the country’s most environmentally responsible colleges.” The review does not rank schools overall from 1-399, however of 648 schools receiving green ratings, Duquesne is among the 399 schools classified in the 80th percentile or higher.

Neighboring school University of Pittsburgh also made the list.

Like Duquesne, Pitt has installed water bottle refilling stations on campus. Differing from Duquesne, they also offers a bring your own bag program, which, according to Pitt’s website, has reduced single-use plastic bags by 95%.

Overall, Duquesne received an 82 out of 99 total “green rating” from The Princeton Review for its commitment to sustainability.

A press release from Duquesne said that the “report [ranks] on everything from the schools’ use of renewable energy, recycling and conservation programs, to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.”

A building that models Duquesne’s sustainability efforts is Des Places Residence Hall.

Des Places earned a Gold LEED certification. The building was designed and constructed with energy conservation in mind.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. The program focuses primarily on new, commercial-building projects based on a points system.

LEED rates a building on nine criteria: an integrative process, its location and transportation, sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and regional priority.

Des Places, built in 2012, boasts many features to earn this rating. Carpeting, flooring and ceiling tiles are made from recycled materials. A light-colored roof covering slows heat buildup, and rooftop solar cells generate electricity. Water saving toilets are in each room, and high capacity washers that use half the waster per load as a normal washer are on each floor.

The Genesius Theater, Duquesne’s newest building on campus, has energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water devices and an efficient heating and cooling system.

Additionally, the Power Center earned a silver LEED rating. The building houses event rooms and exercise facilities. An interior renovation of the Student Union also achieved a silver LEED rating.

Duquesne’s Department of Facilities Management takes the main role in the university’s efforts to maintain, enhance and expand the campus using green methods and technologies. The Energy Center on campus makes it possible to produce and consume clean power on campus.

David Chismar, supervisor of energy management and forecasting, facilities management, said, “All electricity on Duquesne’s campus is either produced in the University’s efficient, natural gas-burning Cogeneration Plant or it is purchased from renewable energy providers.”

“The Cogeneration Plant is a more efficient energy source than a standard electrical generating plant because the ‘waste heat’ produced by the electric generator’s gas-fired turbine is used to produce steam required year-round by the campus,” said Chismar.

Other campus buildings are implementing procedures to stay environmentally friendly.

“The university is also replacing lighting across campus with LEDs for more efficiency and better lighting. Significant or whole-building HVAC replacements include the School of Music, College Hall, the Union, Canevin Hall, A.J. Palumbo Center, Libermann Hall and Assumption Hall,” said Chismar.

The sustainability report notes that Duquesne uses LED fixtures, which can reduce energy consumption by as much as 90%. More than 80% of Duquesne’s cleaning products are environmentally friendly, and has recycling receptacles all over campus for paper, plastic, glass and metal.

Duquesne also offers programs for students passionate about learning and researching energy conservation.

The School of Law created an energy and environmental law concentration, and joined with the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences to begin a joint J.D./M.S. in environmental science and management.

The Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences supports sustainability initiatives on campus, in Pittsburgh and worldwide. They partner with 3Rivers Quest, Allegheny Land Trust, Animal Rescue League and Pittsburgh Project’s Urban Farming. Also, the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business created a Master in Business Administration Sustainability program.

Chismar also noted other things the Duquesne community can do to improve sustainability, like making sure that lights are turned off when areas are not being used, keeping thermostat temperatures in a range of 66 to 74, minimizing water use and following appropriate disposal guidelines.

“More people at the university are aware of and supportive of sustainability than ever before. Increasing that campus buy-in and participation would improve our efforts,” Chismar said.