Center for Sustainability

Celebrating and caring for creation is a natural part of Houghton’s identity and character. We share with all Christians the responsibility of stewarding and nurturing the marvelous gift of God’s creation.

What is the Center for Sustainability?

The mission of the Center for Sustainability is to transform Houghton College into a global leader in Christ-centered environmental stewardship by:

  • Educating about local and global sustainability issues
  • Inspiring our community to love and care for God’s creation
  • Implementing long-term, sustainable solutions to environmental challenges

We believe that sustainability, stewardship, and creation care go hand-in-hand.  To care for God’s creation involves exercising good stewardship principles and requires that we approach complex challenges and new ideas through a lens of environmental sustainability.

Scripture tells us that God created the world, called it “good,” and then gave humans responsibility as stewards of God’s creation (Gen. 1:28-30).  We desire to honor God by employing good stewardship of the earth and by making wise decisions about how our actions affect our neighbors, both locally and globally.  At its core, creation care is a spiritual issue that directly relates to our views on consumption, materialism, stewardship, thankfulness, simplicity, and love for our neighbor.  Taking care of creation is our response to the awesome God who created it.

Sun Shining Through Trees

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord.” Psalm 96: 11-13

Sustainability Initiatives

Here are some ways Houghton College is committed to sustainability.

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Solar Array

Our Solar Array is a practical example of creation care in action.

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What We’re Doing

We’re always looking for ways to be more responsible in our stewardship of the earth.  Here is a partial listing of some of the things that we have planned for the 2019 – 2020 year, as well as some of our recent accomplishments.

Current Projects (2019 – 2020)

  • Opening a new Center for Sustainability, located on the 3rd floor of Chamberlain on the atrium
  • Working on creating a “tree map” to show the locations and species of all trees on campus
  • Working on completing certification for the AASHE Stars Program–a campus sustainability index for higher education
  • Creating Houghton College reusable shopping bags
  • Developing a long-term Energy and Climate Plan to chart our path toward carbon neutrality

Recent Accomplishments

  • Completed a campus-wide LED lighting retrofit, which will reduce energy usage by 750,000 kWh and (after a 10-year payback period) save $90,000 per year
  • Installed two new electric vehicle charging stations
  • Installed a campus garden that is providing food for the dining hall
  • Began composting food waste from the dining hall kitchen
  • Published new trail signs and maps for the Houghton trail system
  • Installed energy monitoring devices in all major buildings
  • Added new apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees to the Highlander Orchard
  • Overhauled the campus fleet to replace existing vehicles with fuel-efficient Toyota Priuses, saving the college $3,000 per year in fuel costs
  • Re-certified by the Arbor Day Foundation under their “Tree Campus USA” program