National Wildlife Federation Honors FGCU for Environmental Performance Only State University in Florida Recognized
FORT MYERS, FL - The National Wildlife Federation last month hailed Florida Gulf Coast University as a national leading school in developing an environmentally sustainable campus in the NWF’s new “State of the Campus Environment: A National Report Card on Environmental Performance and Sustainability in Higher Education.” FGCU was the only state university in Florida recognized and it earned the honor in two different categories: Land and Ground Management, and Energy Efficiency and Conservation.
“The primary indicator of sustainability is the use of indigenous landscape material and environmentally friendly maintenance practices,” vice president for administrative services, Curtis Bullock, said. “The use of indigenous plant material allows for minimal, if any, use of irrigation, herbicides and pesticides.
The campus’s main impact is elimination and not enhancement. Bullock cites the University’s commitment to eradicate the exotic and invasive melaleuca tree.
“As the melaleuca is removed the area is allowed to regenerate naturally with native species. If the infestation was too great for regeneration, mitigation by planting native plants takes place.”
FGCU has always maintained one of the largest ice thermal storage plants in the state, making the campus’ Physical Plant operations among Florida’s most energy efficient. The facility, which sends chilled water through a two-mile underground loop to cool buildings and utilizes an energy management system to schedule delivery according to each structure’s cooling needs, contributes to major savings.
“In keeping with the school’s strong environmental mission, the selection of a thermal energy storage system that cools the buildings in the most energy-efficient manner, saves the Florida taxpayers in monthly energy costs. The University’s mission is to be a ‘good housekeeper of the environment’,” Bullock said.
“A surprising number of colleges and universities, of all types and sizes and in all regions of the country, are taking a lead role in striking a balance between the needs of people and the environment,” manager of NWF’s Campus Ecology Program, Julian Keniry, said. “The best campuses in this survey are providing a green compass for others to follow.”
The report is the first large-scale environmental performance survey. It is based on findings from 891 colleges and universities in the United States and provides “green grades” for over 20 categories. It consisted of three separate models designed for presidents, provosts and chief of facilities or operations.
The NWF Campus Ecology Program was established in 1989 to work with the college campus community to promote ecological stewardship on campuses and in their surrounding communities. The NWF is the nation’s largest member-supported conservation advocacy and education group.
For more information, contact Bullock at (941) 590-1120.