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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

June 12, 2008

'Live Green!': Iowa State's conservation, sustainability efforts are moving forward

by Annette Hacker, News Service

President Gregory Geoffroy is committed to making ISU a model of energy efficiency and reducing the university's carbon footprint. Last January, he formed a 16-member advisory committee to help him pursue that vision. And now, the President's Advisory Committee on Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change has developed recommendations that Geoffroy is ready to implement on campus.

Geoffroy today announced the following new programs as part of the university's "Live Green!" initiative:

  • A new Office of Sustainability Programs at ISU. Tahira Hira, professor and executive assistant to President Geoffroy, will lead the search for a full-time director. Hira said the plan is to have a director in place this fall.
  • A $3 million Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change revolving loan fund, to be administered by the Office of Sustainability Programs with guidance from the president's advisory committee. The fund will provide interest-free capital to campus projects that incorporate sustainability and have quantifiable savings or return on investment. A portion of the savings generated will be reinvested into the fund until the loan is paid, enabling the fund to finance additional projects. Geoffroy says the fund, based on the successful Harvard Green Campus Loan Fund project, will reduce annual operating expenses, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, and engage students, staff and faculty in the effort to reduce energy use and raise environmental awareness.
  • A goal to achieve LEED gold certification on all new campus construction and major renovation projects. (LEED is a third-party certification program administered through the U.S. Green Building Council, and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings). There are now 11 LEED certified buildings in Iowa; 77 other projects in the state (in design or construction phases) are registered for LEED consideration.
    ISU's Morrill Hall, renovated and restored in 2007, is certified LEED silver -- the first and only LEED building at an Iowa Regents institution to date.
    Three new facilities being planned at Iowa State -- Hach Hall (chemistry building), the Biorenewables Research Laboratory, and the King Pavilion addition to the College of Design -- all are LEED registered. The level of certification (certified, silver, gold or platinum) is determined after project completion.

The new "Live Green!" initiatives are the latest in a number of conservation efforts that have been under way for some time at Iowa State, including the Council on Sustainability and the Energy Conservation Task Force. In February, Iowa State joined approximately 100 other universities and colleges to pilot a new campus sustainability rating system -- STARS, or the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System. The voluntary system was developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and helps institutions of higher learning assess their progress in developing programs and practices that promote social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Still, President Geoffroy says Iowa State can do more.

"I'm asking all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to join in our Live Green effort -- individually and collectively -- through their colleges and departments, in their homes, and various organizations," Geoffroy said.

For example, President Geoffroy has already made a number of changes in his office to conserve energy. More efficient light fixtures will use 35 percent less energy and result in $800 in savings per year. Printers and computers are turned off at night and on weekends -- a small step that can save energy and about $190 per workstation, per year, according to ISU's Facilities Planning & Management Department.

Learn more about the university-wide effort to turn Iowa State into a national model of energy efficiency at

Live Green


A new Office of Sustainability Programs is among several new Live Green! programs recently announced by President Geoffroy.


"I'm asking all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends to join in our Liv e Green effort -- individually and collectively -- through their colleges and d epartments, in their homes, and various organizations."

President Gregory Geoffroy