What We’re Doing

We at Houghton are actively looking for ways to be more responsible in our stewardship of the earth.  Many of these changes save us money in the long run.  Others may cost a little bit extra but will help us implement more environmentally sustainable practices.  Here is a partial listing of some of the things that we have planned for the 2013 - 2014 year, as well as some of our recent accomplishments.

Current Projects (2013 - 2014)

  • Houghton will oversee the construction of an 11-acre, 2.5 MW solar panel facility in the northern section of the cornfield adjacent to the Field of Dreams.  This solar array will provide more than 50% of Houghton’s electricity needs and is set to go online in February 2014.
  • Fall 2013 will see the launch of Creation Care House, a residential living learning community focused on sustainability issues.
  • In conjunction with Residence Life, we will begin incorporating volunteer eco-rep leadership positions in the dorms.
  • With consultation from various departments across campus, the Creation Care Committee aims to develop a long-term sustainability plan.
  • We are currently exploring options for installing energy monitoring capabilities that will allow us to track the electricity usage in individual dorm buildings.
  • We are researching options that will allow the college to switch to a higher recycled content copy paper.
  • We hope to lay the groundwork for a “green dorm certification” to be implemented during the 2014 – 2015 academic year.
  • We aim to research the feasibility of creating an academic program focused on sustainability.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Signed a contract to install an 11-acre, 2.5 MW solar panel array.
  • Overhauled our recycling bins—placing hundreds of blue recycling bins in every office, classroom, and public location with a trash container.
  • Created a “heat map” of the dorms showing the relative temperature differentials between rooms, thus allowing students to self-select a room based on their personal temperature preference.
  • Instituted a deposit-recycling program in the dorms to collect deposit cans and bottles.
  • Completed the 2011 greenhouse gas emission report.
  • Created a sustainability internship position.
  • Adopted a new policy requiring all student mini-fridges to be ENERGY STAR certified.
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