University Housing and Dining leads in sustainability
University Housing & Dining (UH&D) understands the value in establishing sustainable practices in its operations. Making a commitment to sustainability requires thorough research and development into what practices can be implemented to meet the needs of students today.
Residence halls are one of the areas in which UH&D has established practices to ensure sustainable practices. Catlett Residence Hall, constructed in 2017, has met and surpassed standards set by the university by incorporating various green principles and energy-saving elements. Elements such as: white pavement (to reduce the heat island effect), energy efficient windows, use of natural light, using high-efficiency HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) and lighting systems, and incorporation of ENERGY STAR-certified laundry and kitchen/dish washing equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. These changes have contributed to an estimated annual water savings of 43 percent.
Sustainability goes beyond just physical fixtures. UH&D (in partnership with the UI Office of Sustainability) encourages students to compost their waste in their residence hall room. Students are able to borrow a compost bin from any residence hall front desk and compost their items, in order to reduce their environmental impact.
University Housing & Dining’s sustainable practices have lead it to place a special focus on local foods. “Many of our students do not realize that the food that we are providing is from local sources,” said executive chef, Barry Greenberg. University Housing & Dining works with over 20 local Iowa farmers, orchardists, growers and vendors to purchase local foods when possible in an effort to provide fresher, better tasting foods and limit their environmental impact by reducing transportation distance.
Additionally, the dining team has been a leader in implementing the pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste program since 2007 and serves as a model for other institutions, including restaurants and grocery stores in Johnson County. The food pulpers reclaim, and save, 2.25 million gallons of water per year, and help to compost approximately 450,000 pounds of food scraps every year.
2019 Year In Review
This article is part of the 2019 Year in Review, which highlights some of the Division of Student Life's accomplishments from the previous academic year.