MSU employees are doing their part
April 30, 2010
All departments at the Physical Plant* focus their jobs and projects into more energy-efficient, environmentally friendly processes.
With motivation from the “Be Spartan Green” environmental stewardship campaign, changes such as use of new recycling techniques, better cleaning measures and the implementation of energy-saving techniques have made a huge difference.
The Physical Plant is trying to reduce energy consumption by minimizing vehicle use altogether. One way this is accomplished is through the use of the telephone system features provided by the Telecommunication Systems Department. These features allow Physical Plant employees to replace meetings with telephone calls between individuals and/or conference calls between groups of people, all from their desks and without the need for a vehicle.
Transportation Services has acquired 64 hybrid vehicles. Each vehicle reduces fuel consumption by approximately 225 gallons annually.
By being key players in MSU’s recycling initiative, the Waste Management Department is able to keep campus clean and green.
Now with the opening of the new MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center, the waste management team will help to process three times the amount of materials collected at the old facility.
Although it stays eco-friendly every year by planting new trees, Landscape Services worked extra hard in 2009 to plant more than 1,000 new trees on campus. Staffers also make an effort to preserve existing trees on campus during times of construction. “We often put up fencing around existing trees when construction is occurring to protect the roots from soil compaction,” said John Jonckheere, Landscape Services equipment operator.
Custodial Services has developed a greener game plan as well. New cleaning procedures are being executed to reduce electricity consumption in buildings. Now only one floor at a time is cleaned instead of crews cleaning multiple floors simultaneously. Turning off all of the lights in a building for one hour each day reduces energy use by 3 percent, according to the Be Spartan Green website.
Business and Personnel
The Business and Personnel Office at the Physical Plant took the initiative to implement electronic billing in order to reduce paper usage in the office. Customer statements are now available online for individuals to view the charges made on their account.
Power and Water
MSU’s T.B. Simon Power Plant — with help from Landscape Services and the Surplus Store and Recycling Center — is working to burn recycled wood chips for fuel.
“We are burning the wood chips to decrease our dependency on coal and to reduce CO2 from burning as a part of Michigan State University’s environmental stewardship campaign,” said Bob Ellerhorst, director of utilities. “This has been a great way for different departments to come together in order to combat an environmental problem as well as creating a cleaner community for our MSU residents.”
Commissioning Services has developed a five-year plan to systematically evaluate 113 main campus buildings to improve energy efficiency and optimize overall building performance. The department plans to reduce energy consumption by a minimum of 5 percent in each building through its retro-commissioning process. Staffers will evaluate and address heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and identify energy conservation measures (ECMs) using a comprehensive building-wide approach.
Green Issue 2010
*Prior to the creation of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities in January 2013, several IPF departments were a part of the now-dissolved MSU Physical Plant. Some historical articles on this website reference that former unit.