Montclair State Signs on for Green Tech, Practices

Montclair (N.J.) State University became the first educational institution to enter into a comprehensive green construction and operation Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 17. The memorandum spells out management and operational principles ensuring that Montclair meets high environmental standards and reduces its carbon footprint.

The agreement was signed at Montclair State University Hall, the largest and newest academic building on campus, which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified.

"Montclair State University gets an A plus for its efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and the waste stream from its operations," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA regional administrator. "This important agreement underscores innovation and a comprehensive commitment toward sustainable development. From its use of solar power and sophisticated compost program to its commitment to joining the Energy Star and WasteWise partnership programs, Montclair is looking greener every day."

The agreement details the development and management of systems to ensure that green activities and sustainability will be integrated into all facility operations. This includes the use of solar and recycled steam energy; large-scale recycling of paper, plastic, and food residue; water and land conservation, as well as incorporation of green building technology and materials for new construction.

The university will continue to use a photovoltaic array that is generating an electric power supply for Finley Hall. The array produces approximately 3,450 kilowatt hours of electricity per year to the MSU grid with no pollution. The university also runs a cogeneration plant that produces steam and electricity. Steam expended in the generation of electricity is cycled to campus buildings for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. The Plant provides much of the electricity and all of the steam requirements to light, heat, and cool campus buildings. Approximately 8 percent of the electricity produced is sold back to PSE&G. Total steam production from the cogenerator is more than 160 million pounds per year. It does so, in part, by recycling its own waste exhaust and turning it back into useful energy.

The university will join the Energy Star program and will calculate energy consumption, reduce energy usage by 10 percent, and educate students and employees on energy conservation techniques. The university will also research the feasibility of renewable energy sources such as wind power, fuel cells, and additional photovoltaic technology. MSU also will join EPA's WasteWise program, which assists members in auditing and reducing solid waste generation.

MSU recycles its food waste from two kitchens by mixing it with wood chips and processing it in an in-vessel aerobic digester. In 2007, more than 25,000 pounds of food scraps were turned into high-quality compost. This project will now be expanded.

The university will use WaterSense products, where appropriate, in the renovation or upgrade of existing buildings as well as in new buildings. The university says 80 percent of its cleaning products are green, and with the agreement, more green products will be added.

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