A new project aims to make Ohio University facilities more environmentally friendly.
The project, dubbed the Project Managers Professional Development Program, will bring together several Ohio University offices to brainstorm the best ways to keep University facilities up-to-date on modern, sustainable designs, such as sustainable stormwater runoff and green roof technologies.
“We realized that the constant development of technologies within facilities, design and construction were extreme––making it, at times, difficult to stay current in the field,” Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of the Office of Sustainability, said in an email.
The main goal of the project, which is on a one-year trial, is to focus on waste management and energy efficiency throughout the construction process, while also maintaining LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, green building certifications.
“Architects know, and contractors know, that this is the way universities want to do business,” Sam Crowl, a sustainability specialist at OU, said. “That’s refreshing. That’s made this program be successful in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.”
According to Crowl, attendance, feedback, and participation at these workshops have all been positive.
“Sustainability is big business,” Crowl said. “If we’re going to spend extra dollars doing things, we might as well make it for good reasons.”
Currently, six of OU’s project managers are certified LEED experts, meaning that they plan construction improvements with environmental impact in mind, Crowl said.
The project is looking to introduce experts in Green Globes, another green building certification program, on campus in the near future.
Green Globes would serve as a more cost-effective alternative to the LEED certification program and offer flexible, case-by-case inspection of sites, according to Crowl.
“Students, faculty, staff and community members are constantly utilizing the buildings and grounds on this campus, making these spaces the perfect canvas for sustainability education and implementation,” Cadmus said. “By working with the professionals on campus who design, plan and construct our built environment, we’re able to work together in a really exciting way.”
The program is also looking to add student and faculty engagement with proposed green roof technologies designed in part by both the Plant Biology and Civil Engineering departments.
“I’m interested in trying to figure it out as a campus; we can maybe do this together, and have it be more of a laboratory,” Crowl said. “It really becomes a community effort and hopefully cheaper.”
Some students are already working towards sustainable construction processes at OHIO.
Leah Wilson, a senior studying geography urban and regional planning, is working with OU’s Recycling Center to set up contacts with sustainable-minded contractors for current and future construction projects on campus.
“It’s a really extensive list,” Wilson said, scrolling through her spreadsheet of contacts. “I never could’ve imagined you could recycle all these things.”
Wilson’s found a home for roofing shingles, land clearings, and various metals that are often landfill byproducts of construction projects on college campuses.
Her internship assignment reflects the university’s desire to remain eco-friendly on both ends of the construction continuum.
“It’s definitely impacted the way I buy things,” Wilson said. “I think a lot has to change … Not everyone is considering what happens to their waste afterwards.”
This story also appears on The Post