Philadelphia University Wins National Award for Sustainable Campus

The DEC Center, completed in 2012, is one of two new buildings on campus built to LEED Gold standards.

Philadelphia University has been selected to receive the APPA – Leadership in Educational Facilities 2013 Sustainability Award, given annually to the educational institution that best integrates sustainable practices into its physical plant operations.

PhilaU is just the fourth college or university in the U.S. to receive this prestigious award, which was introduced in 2012. In 2009, PhilaU became the first four-year college or university in Pennsylvania to win the APPA Award for Excellence in Facilities Management, the highest honor awarded by the APPA.

“The Sustainability Award recognizes that the best management practices concerning sustainability have been embedded into the PhilaU campus culture,” said Tom Becker, associate vice president for operations. “I could not be prouder of all the people and the effort that contributed to this accomplishment.”

Philadelphia University has long been a national leader in sustainability. President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D., is a signatory of the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment, and PhilaU partnered with Honeywell in 2011 to create the first Act! Earth campaign at the higher-education level. The campaign educates the public about modernizing school facilities with more energy-efficient equipment and processes.

The Philadelphia University/Honeywell partnership has placed the University ahead of the curve on peak energy management issues.  Rick Waligora, Director of Physical Plant oversees the automation related to our peak shaving process. The Building Automated System (BAS), which controls more than 85 percent of nearly 1.25 million square feet of campus buildings, enables facilities staff to monitor and measure electrical usage in real time and thus establish trends, track data and manage peak power consumption.

As part of the PhilaU strategic plan, the University committed to constructing all new buildings at the LEED Silver level or better. The SEED Center, a gray-to-green renovated space on campus, was awarded LEED Gold certification in 2012. The DEC Center, completed in 2012, was built to LEED Gold standards and is currently in the certification process.

PhilaU sources a minimum of 15% of its power from green energy alternatives and invests in energy-efficient equipment and supplies. The University also hosts an annual Sustainability Forum and recently competed in Campus Conservation Nationals.

With its B.S. in Environmental Sustainability and M.S. in Sustainable Design programs, PhilaU is an academic leader in sustainability as well. Professor Rob Fleming, director of the sustainable design program, co-wrote the chapter on sustainability in the APPA Operational Guidelines for Educational Facilities Maintenance book, and is the author of the recently published book, Design Education for a Sustainable Future.

“This award recognizes Philadelphia University’s comprehensive approach – from curriculum to facilities management – to sustainability,” said Jeff Cromarty, the University’s vice president for administration and chief operating officer. “It is a great tribute to PhilaU’s leadership in this area.”

Philadelphia University will be recognized for its achievement at the APPA’s annual conference in Minneapolis Aug. 3.

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