Living Green

Students sporting reusable water bottles at an R.U. Green Earth Day event.

Students, Faculty & Staff can take small steps towards changing the big picture by following these few steps:

• Where public transit is unavailable, encourage carpools between students, faculty, & staff members.

• If you haven’t already, switch to paperless systems.

• Provide faculty, staff & students with mugs or reusable water bottles with the University logo for their first day, a holiday or any occasion.

• Begin purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper for printing.

• Purchase office supplies and equipment from local vendors; buy in bulk to reduce shipping pollution and packaging waste.

• Reuse shipping boxes whenever possible.

• When replacing appliances around the office, look to replacements with Energy Star ratings.

• When purchasing university vehicles, equipment or a car service, consider electrics or hybrids.

• Evaluate HVAC systems and upgrade for greater efficiency if necessary.

• Inquire with your energy provider about buying into an energy portfolio consisting of energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro.

• Consider investing in high quality alternative energy carbon offsets.

• Set thermostats to turn down (or off) when the office is closed.

• Utilize video conferencing systems instead of traveling to a meeting.

• Mandate that all computers and printers be turned off at the end of the work day.

• The average treadmill produces about 2 pounds of CO2 over the course of a 30-minute workout. Shrink your fitness footprint by adding an outdoor run, walk, or bike ride to your routine. In urban areas, choose side streets to decrease your exposure to car exhaust.

• Riding your bike to work is a great way to stay fit while you go green. As an added bonus, bicycle commuters are eligible to receive a monthly $20 reimbursement from their employers under the new economic stimulus. Companies can deduct the expense from their federal taxes. The Bicycle Commuter Act went into effect on January 1, 2009, so let your employer know that you'd like to participate.

• Toilets are responsible for about 40 percent of total indoor water use. If you have an older toilet, use a water-displacement device to reduce the amount of flow per flush. A plastic bottle filled with sand makes an easy DIY toilet modification. If you're upgrading a bathroom, invest in a high-efficiency toilet.

• When you're gardening, consider options for collecting or reusing water that would normally be "wasted." Set up a rainwater collection system or reuse bathwater with a graywater recycling system.