Facilities Management becomes stewards of sustainability
During the past several years, the University of
Houston has undertaken an array of efforts to become a more
sustainable and eco-friendly campus. As a campus community, we
have heightened our sensitivities to make efficient use of our
natural resources and are undergoing many changes in our habits
In support of the university’s efforts, Facilities Management is
demonstrating progressive leadership in support of the
university’s initiative with the development of a Five-Year
Sustainability Program and Plan. The plan’s first-year goals
include design of utility meters and planning for software to
track usage by building, energy audit and conservation programs,
development of a comprehensive waste management program, and
support of A&F and the university Office of Sustainability in
community outreach and education. Facilities Management’s
specific programmatic initiatives include:
• Increase the university’s diversion rate from the current 23%
to 40% by 2014. Diversion rate refers to the percentage of waste
materials diverted from traditional disposal such as landfilling
or incineration to other means such as recycling, composting, or
re-using/re-purposing. FM continues progress on the 2020 goal of
40% waste diversion utilizing FY2011 metrics as the baseline.
• Continue installation of additional Big Belly® solar trash
compactors and recycling containers throughout campus. The
current thirteen (13) Big Belly® units located across campus
have been so successful that an additional eighty (80) bins will
be added to the campus over the next five years. These
“intelligent” waste collection systems hold ten times as much
waste material as a standard bin. Utilizing solar power and
information WIFI technology, each unit reports its current
fullness status and this information can be used to dispatch
collection crews or re-route staff in the field based on actual
need to avoid wasting fuel and time on unnecessary trips and
• Continue the annual Campus Cleanup Day which takes place in
late July. This one day event focuses on helping beautify and
prepare the campus before the students return in the fall.
Campus volunteers in partnership with Facilities Management
staff collect trash and recyclables. Both waste collection and
volunteer participation have increased for this program since
its debut in 2011.
• Rollout Adopt-A-Spot, an extension of the Campus Cleanup Day.
Adopt-A-Spot is a new year-round university partnership program
designed to encourage stewardship of the campus physical
environment as students, student organizations, staff and
faculty select a location and then commit to “adopt” it.
Volunteer participants can help clean up litter, remove trash,
weed, rake, and plant flowerbeds, remove outdated flyers, etc.
Program kickoff is scheduled for January 2013 with volunteer
signups located at the campus Kiosk locations. Monthly
Adopt-A-Spot events (February, March, and April) will focus on
sustainability initiatives and partnerships.
• Explore, test and utilize sustainable cleaning supplies and
equipment as well as renewable and recyclable office supplies to
increase efficiencies that are environmentally and financially
sound and effective.
• Partner with Athletics, University Services and Facilities
Planning and Construction to develop a “Zero Waste” plan for the
new football stadium by recycling and composting so that
discarded materials become resources for others to use and are
thereby diverted from the landfill.
• Continue to explore alternative energy initiatives similar to
the Central Plant’s solar array system.