E11: Sustainability

Responsibility for Maintenance: Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety

Date of most recent changes: March 28, 2016

I. Policy Statement  

Onondaga Community College (OCC) supports the integration of sustainability throughout campus operations. Members of the campus community are expected to follow the guidelines established in this policy for operating the college in a sustainable manner in order to meet the goals of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the Sustainability Action Plan. The College will work to promote (A) Sustainable Purchasing, (B) Green Cleaning, (C) Sustainable Transportation, (D) Solid Waste Management and Recycling, (E) Green Building, (F) Energy Conservation, and (G) Sustainable Landscaping. The policy applies to all facilities and grounds at OCC and College-affiliated organizations, to all employees and students, and to all campus departments. The policy will remain in effect into the future from the date of adoption.

II. Reason for Policy 

The purpose of this policy is to support sustainable practices throughout the operations of OCC. The policy will help OCC achieve goals associated with the Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the Sustainability Action Plan.

III. Applicability of the Policy 

This policy applies to all facilities and grounds at OCC and College-affiliated organizations, to all employees and students, and to all campus departments. Sections of this policy may apply to particular individuals and departments as outlined below.

IV. Related Documents 

  • Sustainability Action Plan
  • Sustainable Landscape Master Plan

V. Contacts 

Subject Office Name Title or Position Telephone Number   Email/URL
Forms and Inquiries Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety Director   (315) 498-2847 vormwals@sunyocc.edu  

VI. Definitions 

  • Construction and Demolition Debris: This includes waste and recyclables generated from construction and from the renovation, demolition, or deconstruction of preexisting structures. It does not include land-clearing debris, such as soil, vegetation, and rocks.
  • Green Building Principles: The efficient management of energy and water resources, management of material resources and waste, protection of environmental quality, protection of occupant health and indoor environmental quality, reinforcement of natural systems, and integrating the design approach.
  • Green Cleaning: Green cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have less harmful environmental and health impacts than conventional products and practices.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): A third-party green building certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
  • Presidents’ Climate Commitment: The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is a pledge made by presidents of campuses throughout the country to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use, commuting, air travel, and other sources.

VII. Procedures 

A. Sustainable Purchasing

  • This section applies to Management Services, Information Technology Services, and all departmental purchases made by OCC.
  • Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines: OCC will strive to purchase products that promote sustainability. Preference will be given for products that are reused or contain recycled content; are durable, repairable, or recyclable; have low toxicity; have minimal packaging; come from local sources; have environmentally and socially responsible production processes; and are energy efficient. Preference will be given for working with local businesses and historically underrepresented businesses whenever possible.
  • Paper: Office paper for printing and copying must contain 30% minimum recycled content paper whenever possible.
  • Electronic Equipment and Appliances: Electronic equipment and appliances must be Energy Star labeled for equipment that is eligible for an Energy Star label. Electronic equipment should also meet the standard for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Silver or Gold rating whenever possible.

B. Green Cleaning

  • This section applies to all facilities, the Assistant Director of Facilities, and all custodial staff.
  • Preference for Green Cleaning Products: OCC shall implement sustainable cleaning procedures and sustainable cleaning purchasing practices whenever possible. Preference will be given to purchasing cleaning products that meet Green Seal, EcoLogo, or the Environmental Protection Agency’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Facilities must track cleaning product purchases to indicate whether products meet these criteria.
  • Green Cleaning Training: All custodial staff will be trained on green cleaning procedures and the relevant contents of the Sustainability Policy. The training will include information on how to use cleaning products and cleaning equipment, proper cleaning procedures (including application and disposal), and the environmental and health issues associated with cleaning products and equipment.

C. Sustainable Transportation

  • This section applies to Management Services and all employees and departments at OCC.
  • Idling Reduction: No vehicle on campus may idle for more than 5 consecutive minutes. Each driver will be responsible for ensuring that the vehicle he or she is operating does not idle unnecessarily. Vehicles should be turned off when parked and should not be restarted until loading or unloading is complete and the vehicle is ready to depart.
  • Vehicle Operation: College employees should drive College-owned vehicles in a manner that maximizes fuel efficiency by observing speed limits, minimizing idling, and minimizing rapid acceleration and braking.
  • Minimize Vehicle Miles Traveled: Alternate meeting methods, such as conference calls, or other technology, should be used when feasible to reduce the number of driving trips. Meetings should be held at centralized locations, when possible, to reduce distances traveled. Where applicable and reasonable, employees should use alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit, walking, biking, and carpooling. In general, travel routes should be planned to optimize efficiency. When feasible, trips should be chained together to reduce required travel time and distance.
  • Maximize Efficiency Through Maintenance: Regularly scheduled preventive and other maintenance shall be performed promptly on all fleet items to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions.
  • Optimize Fleet Size: Vehicles that are used infrequently should be considered for removal from the fleet. Vehicle share agreements among departments, community car-share programs, or vehicle lease contracts should be explored to reduce the number of fleet vehicles needed.
  • Vehicle Purchasing:
    • Departments should identify the most fuel-efficient vehicles with maximum emission reduction available that meet the department’s operational needs whenever possible.
    • Vehicles of a smaller class size and vehicles such as NEVs (neighborhood electric vehicles) and bicycles should be considered to achieve increased miles per gallon and lower emissions.
    • Preference will be given to purchasing electric, hybrid or alternative/renewable-fueled vehicles and equipment when (A) they meet the operational needs of the department, (B) their fuels and relevant parts are available or could easily be made available, and (C) they show a reduction in or equivalent emissions or life-cycle per-mile costs (including maintenance), when compared with similar gas or diesel vehicles.
    • “Clean” fuels (such as electricity, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, ethanol, and others) shall be used when feasible.
    • All passenger vehicles acquired will be selected based on minimum GHG emissions and maximum fuel efficiency. Vehicles that achieve a combined 30 mpg or greater will be given preference.
    • Work trucks, cargo vans, special purpose and emergency response vehicles and equipment shall be purchased or leased to comply with the requirements of this policy whenever possible.
    • Management Services shall incorporate the above criteria into vehicle bid specifications and include the criteria when purchasing vehicles from state contract. In consultation with the Director of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety, Management Services will review proposed vehicles for compliance with the policy. The most fuel efficient vehicles that will meet departmental needs will be purchased whenever possible.
  • Sustainable Campus Transportation: OCC will encourage employees, students, and visitors to utilize alternative transportation options in order to reduce commuting emissions. Educational programs, incentives, and infrastructure improvements will be explored in order to promote alternative transportation such as walking, biking, public transportation, carpooling, and alternative fueled vehicles.

D. Solid Waste Management and Recycling

  • This section applies to all campus facilities and all students and employees at OCC.
  • The entire campus community is expected to actively participate in OCC's recycling program and waste reduction efforts through source reduction, reuse of materials, and recycling. This includes following the provisions of Onondaga County’s mandatory recycling law.
  • Source Reduction: All members of the college community are responsible for implementing operational practices that prevent waste from being produced whenever possible. Examples include printing reports and documents on both sides of paper; reducing the number of documents printed when possible; using email rather than printed correspondence; and using products that are reusable, refillable, repairable, non-toxic, and recyclable. Items requiring the least possible packaging should be purchased when practical. Every effort should be made to prevent excess or unneeded materials from being purchased. All members of the campus community should identify additional waste reduction opportunities within their units.
  • Reuse of Materials: All members of the college community are responsible for reusing products whenever possible. Examples include obtaining office furniture from the College department of central stores; sharing office supplies when feasible; and using mugs, dishes, glasses, and reusable flatware rather than disposable paper and plastic ware. All members of the campus community should identify additional reuse opportunities within their units.
  • Recycling: All members of the college community are responsible for separating identified recyclable materials and placing them in appropriate recycling containers. Recyclable materials include all items listed by the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency such as office paper, mixed paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, kraft paper, corrugated cardboard, paperboard, glass, metal, plastics, and beverage cartons. Additional ongoing consumables, such as toner cartridges, will be recycled to the maximum extent possible. Batteries and mercury containing light bulbs will be recycled to the maximum extent possible. Durable goods will be recycled, donated, or otherwise diverted from disposal to the maximum extent possible.
  • Composting Food Waste: Pre-consumer food waste from dining services will be collected for composting using the appropriate containers. Dining services staff is responsible for separating food waste and placing it into the appropriate containers. Additional opportunities for composting will be explored in order to further reduce food waste entering the waste stream.
  • Implementation: Facilities is responsible for providing recycling bins throughout campus to facilitate recycling; managing the collection of recyclables including training custodial and grounds staff regarding proper recycling collection; and tracking recycling and trash volume. Facilities is also responsible for identifying additional opportunities to reduce waste and implementing programs and practices to reduce waste. Facilities is responsible for educating campus community members about recycling and waste reduction through signage, events, and other methods. Facilities, with guidance from the Director of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety, is responsible for coordinating periodic waste stream audits to determine waste diversion rates.

E. Green Building

  • This section applies to all facilities at OCC and College-affiliated organizations, Facilities, and Management Services.
  • Achieve LEED Silver Certification for Building Construction and Renovations: All new construction of buildings must meet LEED silver standards. All major renovations of buildings over 5,000 square feet must meet LEED silver standards when reasonably practicable.
  • Utilize Energy Efficient Equipment: For new construction and building renovations, all appliances, heating and/or air conditioning equipment, or other systems that use energy shall be Energy Star qualified, if Energy Star equipment is available. When equipment needs to be replaced in existing buildings due to maintenance, Energy Star qualified equipment shall be used, if Energy Star equipment is available. Facilities will identify and implement additional energy efficiency improvements and other sustainability measures throughout campus facilities.
  • Monitor Building Energy Consumption: All new and existing buildings shall monitor ongoing energy use with the EPA Building Portfolio Manager or equivalent energy monitoring software. This will allow the College to monitor energy usage, identify potential energy saving opportunities, and benchmark buildings against similar buildings throughout the country.
  • Divert Construction and Demolition Debris from Disposal: At least 50% of waste tonnage from construction, demolition, and renovation projects shall be diverted from disposal whenever possible. Facilities should work with contractors and waste haulers to ensure construction and demolition debris is recycled whenever possible.
  • Implementation: Project managers will ensure that the strategies specified in the Sustainability Policy are communicated to design and construction firms in the bidding process. Project managers will consider the green building competency of the firms in determining the contractors to hire. Project managers will ensure that the project specifications incorporate the strategies outlined in the Sustainability Policy and that the strategies are implemented throughout each project. Project managers and building maintenance personnel will ensure that energy efficient equipment, such as Energy Star qualified products, is utilized for new construction, renovations, and routine equipment replacement. Project managers will utilize equipment eligible for energy efficiency rebates through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority whenever possible.

F. Energy Conservation

This section applies to all facilities at OCC, Facilities, and all employees.

  • Temperature Set Points:
    • Indoor temperature settings in all spaces during occupied periods will be:
      • heated to a target temperature of 68° F during the winter; and
      • cooled to a target temperature of 74° F in centrally air conditioned spaces during the summer.
    • These will be set by Facilities in centrally controlled systems. Occupants who control their own thermostats are required to adhere to these settings.
    • Temperatures may fluctuate within the building around these set points and every effort will be made to stay within 2° F of this range.
    • Supplemental electric heaters shall only be issued in the case of long-term system malfunctions and as authorized and provided by Facilities. Building occupants utilizing approved electric heaters must follow safety guidelines provided by Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety.
    • No other use of electric heaters is allowed and unauthorized heaters will be removed.
  • Building Occupant Responsibilities: Individuals are expected to conserve energy wherever possible in their departments in order to save college resources and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Individuals should:
    • Turn off lights when exiting rooms that are no longer occupied.
    • Turn off office equipment (including monitors, task lights, personal computers, and other equipment where possible) when leaving a work space for more than 30 minutes and at the end of the day.
    • Set computer power management settings so that computer monitors turn off and CPU enters hibernate or standby mode after extended periods of time.
    • Enable power management features on laser printers and copiers and power them down whenever possible, particularly on evenings and weekends.
    • Utilize Energy Star equipment whenever possible.
  • Facilities shall identify and implement additional energy conservation opportunities throughout campus facilities.

G. Sustainable Landscaping

  • This section applies to all campus grounds and Facilities.
  • Sustainable Landscaping Guidelines: OCC shall manage campus grounds and landscaping in a sustainable manner, shall implement the Sustainable Landscape Master Plan to the fullest extent possible, shall utilize the Environmental Protection Agency’s four tiered approached to Integrated Pest Management for all campus grounds whenever possible, and shall utilize native plants for landscaping on campus whenever possible.

Approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 19, 2012

Updated and approved by the President March 28, 2016