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The New and Improved Colgate Community Garden

By Sustainability Office on March 24, 2014

rsz_greenhouse_snow_removalSpring is officially here and the Colgate Community Garden is getting a major face lift! Flooding at the current Newell apartment site last year proved to be too much to fully overcome. Over the winter the garden team and Green Thumbs members worked hard to put together a proposal to move the garden to a new location.

We are pleased to announce that, with the support of the University, the Colgate Community Garden will be relocating to a new (and flood-free) location for 2014! The new garden will be located just past the townhouses on Broad Street as you head south from campus. There is currently a greenhouse that was utilized in part by the garden team last year and plenty of land that does not flood on a regular basis, which could not be said for the Newell location!

Over the next few months, the garden team will be hard at work setting into action all of the plans that were made over the winter. First up is a major overhaul of the current greenhouse. The greenhouse will get a new covering and several new raised garden beds installed inside of it. Re-covering a greenhouse of this size (30 feet wide by 60 feet long) is much easier to do with lots of helping hands. Stay tuned for our announcements about how YOU can help with this project!


Once the snow melts (thank you Upstate New York for yet another long winter…), there will be plenty more happening at the new garden site. Tasks will include tilling the grass, moving the garden fence from the old location, moving the shed, forming garden rows, moving plants, and of course planting seeds. Anyone who is interested can come down and lend a helping hand. The more help we get, the quicker we can be on our way to a successful garden this year!

Thanks to all who have helped with the garden so far, and we look forward to many more exciting times to come!

Colgate experiences dramatic reduction in water usage

By Stephen Dickinson on March 12, 2014

Between fiscal year (FY) 2012 and 2013, Colgate’s water usage plummeted by about 8 million gallons of water, saving the university over $100,000 in operating costs (not including the energy savings due to a reduction in hot water usage!). To put that in perspective, 8 million gallons is approximately enough water to fill more than 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools!

How did Colgate manage to drop its consumption so dramatically in the course of a year? During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Colgate installed a total of 562 Moen low-flow shower heads around campus (107 in 2011 and 455 in 2012). These showerheads use only a third of the water some of the old showerheads used, which results in several gallons of water being saved every time a student showers. The total cost for the showerhead project over the two years, including labor, was approximately $17,400.

While not all of the water reductions might be attributed to the change of showerheads, such a significant drop in just one year is certainly due in large part to this project. In fact, since the showerheads were installed, Colgate’s water usage is down more than 11 million gallons from FY 2011. The use of the low-flow showerheads, coupled with the strong outreach of the Green Raiders (Sustainability Office Interns) has lead to a dramatic reduction in water use; proving once again that investments in sustainable practices can have dramatically positive payoffs.

The Sustainability Office would like to thank Colgate’s entire plumbing shop including Jim Albertina, Mike Bonsi, Jerry Bugbee, Steve Degroat, Chuck Haurik, and especially Tom Kane for making this project possible.

The Hurwitz Admission Center opens. Is it green?

By Sustainability Office on March 10, 2014

Will the newly opened Hurwitz Admission Center save energy?  None of the monitors are Energy Star stamped and the renovation was too small to pursue LEED EB green building certification.  However, the renovation should result in significant energy savings for the university.  The reworking of the entrance way will cut the cross winds that used to penetrate the building from the old side doors.  Also, the building has new energy efficient windows with plans to complete window upgrades for the rest of the building this summer (2014).  The old windows were old and caused a lot of draft and lost heat (as any of the occupants will tell you!).


The Hurwitz Admission Center is now open for visitors. (Photo by Erica Hasenjager)


Also, the building has been connected to our main chiller plant.  So, after this summer (once the window replacement and other work is done), we will not install window air conditioning units anymore.  That will be a big savings of time and energy.  Also, the building incorporated LED lighting in the entrance way, other rooms, and in the exit signs.  This coupled with more natural day-lighting and motion sensor technologies should cut back on overall electricity consumption.  Finally, the renovation replaced all full-voltage motor controls with variable frequency drives (VFDs).  This will also save on heating/cooling and electricity.

In the months ahead, we will be watching the energy performance of the building in order to document any energy savings.

The results of this project are exciting.  The Hurwitz Admission Center is a beautiful space that is welcoming and fresh!  This is a great new home for our Admission staff and all visitors.