Sustainability on an Urban Campus
By Bethany Walrad, SPU Sustainability Coordinator
What is Seattle Pacific University doing to conserve our resources and practice stewardship of God’s creation? Here are a few highlights:
Building: New campus buildings are required to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standard. We make as priorities LEED credits that are particularly relevant for our urban Seattle location, including energy efficiency, stormwater management, and habitat restoration.
Transportation: Fifty-two percent of SPU’s employees regularly use an alternate form of transportation. They may commute via bicycle, bus, light rail, or carpool — or they telecommute. We also play host to two Zipcars. Any member of the car-sharing program citywide can use the Zipcars, but the cars are available for free to SPU’s sustainable commuters.
Walkability: Walkable urban communities can reduce the need for individually owned vehicles, with a resulting decrease in the pollu- tion they cause. Seattle Pacific works to maintain a campus that can be crossed via foot in less than 10 minutes. Nearby amenities (shopping, banks, coffee) earn the SPU campus a “Very Walkable” rating from Walkscore.com.
Urban Tree Canopy: Trees improve city air quality and can even help buildings be more energy efficient. The Seattle Pacific physical campus plan and climate action plan include commitments to preserving the University’s tree canopy.
Reducing Waste: Recycling and composting are especially important in cities, which often do not have space for the trash they produce. A recent remodel of the Cremona Apartments at SPU recycled all construction waste except for furniture foam and fiberglass. We also compost at Gwinn Commons dining hall and offer recycling and donation opportunities when students move out.