West Chester University


West Chester University - Green Report 2008

Student Population: Full-time equivalent - 11,284

Staff Population:  Full-time equivalent - 790, FTE Faculty is 696

Education and General Space: Gross - 1,531,775; Net - 935,215

Campus Real Property Footprint: 403 acres

1.  Green Management

 General - Purchasing and Contract Services submitted a grant entitled

“Green Purchasing Initiative” and received a $2,500 grant from the V.P. of Administration and Finance.  A new Green Purchasing Policy will be developed along with a new website.

Purchasing and Contract Services (Marianne Peffall) is a new member of WCU’s Environmental Council.

Energy Management Reduction

Geothermal HVAC Initiative – West Chester University currently heats most of its North Campus buildings with steam supplied by a coal/oil-fired central plant. While still reasonably efficient and cost effective, is becoming increasingly dated in terms of the cost to maintain the plant, its distribution system and its environmental impact.  Our studies indicate that WCU can reduce its heating cost by 50% and cooling costs by 20%.  This equates to more than one million dollars per year. The University has launched a program to phase-out steam heat and conventional chilling systems by replacing them with a centrally-operated geothermal system. We are exploring this transformation in several ways.

First, a geothermal HVAC system has been installed as part of the renovation of our academic/administrative building located at 25 University Avenue.  This 53,000 square foot building will be our first geothermal classroom and office building, saving the University approximately $645,000 over twenty years in reduced maintenance and energy costs, as well as avoid emitting 350 tons of CO2 into the local air.

Second, the University has begun the replacement of our old North Campus residence hall buildings with new buildings that are based on geothermal HVAC and will be tied to the North Campus Geothermal Loop.  The first two of 6 new residence halls are under construction and are expected to be operational by the fall of 2009.    

Third, the University has completed the conceptual design for the geothermal conversion of most North Campus Educational and General buildings, and detailed design is under way for the initial phase of the North Campus geothermal well field to support the first two of the new residence halls, with drilling expected to begin in early summer 2008.  Design of the rest of the well field, a central pumping station to serve the North Campus, and tie-in to the Francis Harvey Green Library, the next building to be added, is expected to begin in June.  The goal is to have the initial phase operational by June of 2009.  The overall plan anticipates extending the North Campus Geothermal Loop and converting/tying-in additional buildings over a period of 10 years, eventually reducing the heating plant load to near zero.  This will yield substantial energy savings.  In addition, as the rest of the campus goes to geothermal energy and we eliminate the use of coal,

West Chester University would no longer pollute the air with ~50 tons of NOx, ~80 tons of SOx, and ~20 tons of particulates on an annual basis and would become “greener.”   


Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement (GESA) – West Chester University (WCU) is at the 50% point in the construction phase of its $20+ million GESA.   This work has affected virtually all buildings on campus.  Energy conservation measures completed include:  water conservation improvements (in most buildings), installation of solar film on windows in four buildings, weatherization (and/or replacement) of many exterior doors covering most buildings, insulation of steam piping in all the buildings served by the Heating Plant, and the upgrade/replacement of more than 20,000 light fixtures and installation of ~1500 light switch occupancy sensors in virtually all buildings.  Substantial improvements are being installed to the HVAC systems in 7 buildings. This work will be completed by the end of summer 2008.  Natatorium improvements include: newly installed and operating UV water purification systems and dehumidification systems to be completed in the summer of 2008.  One of the most significant measures is the installation of a campus-wide Energy Management and Control System which is ~50% complete.  When finished in the spring of 2009, this system will provide remote monitoring and control of the HVAC in all of the major buildings, and should substantially improve the ability to monitor and control the comfort level in these buildings, as well as generate savings by more accurately controlling equipment operation.  Other improvements which have been completed include: new cooling towers at Main Hall and Lawrence Dining Center, installation of electronic cooling tower water treatment systems (that are more effective, efficient and eliminate the use of chemicals) on all of the cooling towers, and installing Spirovent units in the hot water systems of most buildings.  These will more effectively remove dirt and impurities and improve the system efficiency.  Major work remaining includes: the geothermal conversion of Francis Harvey Green Library which will begin in the summer of 2008 and be completed in the spring of 2009.  The program’s goals include overall savings in electricity of 30% (12 mKwh), in natural gas of 50% (266,389 therms); in coal of 15% (500 tons) and of No. 2 fuel oil of 45% (115,000 gallons).  This will result in a reduction of pollutants of approximately 80 tons of CO2, 800 tons of SOx, and 500 tons of NOx over the ten years prior to shutting down the heating plant.

West Chester University Environmental Council - In the past year, the West Chester University Environmental Council worked to have the University’s Plan for Excellence updated with the following new Responsiveness Transformation sub-goal 7: 

Encourage environmental awareness through training, curricula, and co-curricula programming, assess and reduce the ecological impact of the University, and promote research and service that foster regional and global sustainability.

The student environmental group, EARTH, organized a meeting in cooperation with the Environmental Council about Recycling on the WCU Campus.  Students voiced great support for working towards improving recycling on campus.  The University has since revised and updated their recycling program. 

Two members of the Environmental Council, Drs. Paul Morgan and Joan Welch, submitted a proposal that was accepted to attend the Association for the Advancement of Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Across the Curriculum Leadership Workshop January 10-11, 2008 in Atlanta.   The workshop provided them with tools to use in the West Chester University Faculty Curriculum Workshop scheduled for January 28 and 29. 

The EC is proposing to become involved in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s pilot assessment program.

Several members of the EC are involved in monitoring several campus metrics, such as carbon emissions and recycling rates. Tim Lutz of the Geology and Astronomy Department is involved with the Borough of West Chester as a member of Borough Leaders United for Emissions Reduction (BLUER).

The Environmental Council sponsored a high impact two-day event entitled: “Environmental Sustainability across West Chester University.”   The conference featured Dr. Debra Rowe, a Senior Fellow at the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future.  Dr. Rowe consults with colleges and universities on a national basis to integrate sustainable literacy into curricula, student life, operations, and community partnerships.  The meetings, which took place January 28th-29th, 2008, addressed all campus constituents concerning ways to achieve the sustainability campus goal.  During the two-day conference the following meetings were held:

Monday, January 28th

  • Meeting with Administrators and Student Leaders of West Chester University
  • Meeting with Student Life and Operations Directors
  • Keynote Address by Dr. Rowe:  “Sustainability Education: Creating a Healthier Planet, Communities & Economies
  • Faculty Workshop to Integrate Sustainability into the Curriculum; 20 faculty participants. (This event was also supported by a WCU Pedagogy for Engagement Grant.)   
  • Public Address by Dr. Rowe: “Addressing Climate Change for Sustainability: What Everyone Needs to Know

Tuesday, January 29th

  • Faculty Workshop to Integrate Sustainability into the Curriculum; 20 faculty participants
  • Green Festival – WCU Students Getting Organized!                              
  • Kick-off talk by Dr. Rowe:  “Creating a Sustainable & Better Future: Volunteer & Career Possibilities for Students
  • “Good Morning Global Warming:  A Discussion among Concerned Citizens & WCU Students” 
Joy Bergey (Interfaith Climate Change Campaign and PennFuture)  
Richard Whiteford (Author and Global Warming Activist)  
Dianne Herrin (Moms for the Future)  

Kristy Deischer-Eddy (Borough Leader – United for Emission Reduction in Chester County)


Dennis Maq Crook (Businessman in Energy Audits and Energy Savings Efficiency)


The Civility Day theme held on February 20, 2008, was ‘Go Green’. Dr. Joan Welch, Biology Professor and chairperson of the University Environmental Council, delivered the keynote address “Civility for Planetary Sustainability.”  Numerous panel discussions and presentations addressed sustainability issues and efforts, and the Ballrooms were full of displays from environmental and sustainability groups and courses.  The Invited guest speaker was Richard Louv, nationally-known author of Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder who spoke to approximately 500 guests on the impacts of children spending less time out-of-doors.

Green Curriculum - Paul Morgan of the Professional and Secondary Education Department is developing a new certificate program that combines environmental, outdoor, and sustainability education.

2. Green Buildings

New Swope School of Music and Adler Performing Arts Center - The project entailed the new construction of a School of Music Building with an adjacent Performing Arts Center. Completed in January, 2007, the building featured numerous LEED and sustainable features.  Now awaiting confirmation of its Silver LEED accomplishment from the US Green Building Council, the project continues to undergo minor adjustments to be more responsive to the environment.  In particular, in conjunction with West Goshen Township, the local governing municipality, the primary storm water retention basin was modified to increase the retention and optimize the outflow devices.

Renovation to 25 University Avenue (former Swope Hall) - The project entails the renovation to an existing academic building to accommodate the Mathematics and Computer Sciences Departments on the first floor, and Student Services (Bursar, Registrar and Financial Aid) on the ground floor.  Now under construction and targeted for completion in July, 2008 in time for our fall 2008 semester:

·        The recipient of over $260,000 from a PA Harvest Grant, the HVAC design is based on water-source heat pumps, fueled by a stand-alone geothermal system, making this the first academic building on campus to be so heated/cooled.

·        Optimized Daylight features via appropriate window configurations and shadings.  In addition, the design includes a light well located in the center of the building will brings light through the first floor to the areas below.

·        Other LEED features which are targeted to be included in the design include: rapidly renewable and recycled-content materials; recycled carpeting products; FSC certification of all wood; construction waste management; low water usage; high percentage of recycled and rapidly renewable materials.

·        Replacement of entire existing roof with a white roof design.


Renovation to E. O Bull Center - The project entails the renovation to an existing academic building to accommodate the Art, Theatre and Dance programs.  The project is currently under design and targeted for construction in spring, 2009.  Intended to become a ‘sister’ building to our recently completed Swope School of Music and Adler Performing Arts Center, the project will include several sustainable features including:

·        LEED Silver targeted based on initial LEED workshop with the consultant team

·        LEED performance is required in the design professional’s contract, as is documentation for LEED certification

·        Rain water gardens and groundwater recharge systems are planned for site storm water management program

·        The HVAC design will be based on water-source heat pumps, for future conversion to a geothermal system

·        Other LEED features which are targeted to be included in the design include: optimized day lighting via appropriate window configuration and shading; rapidly renewable and recycled-content materials; FSC certification of all wood;  construction waste management; low water usage; high percentage of recycled and rapidly renewable materials; high performance envelope; reduction of heat island and light pollution effects.

·        Alternates design features include consideration for green roofing

Housing Renewal Initiative - The Housing Renewal Initiative entails the replacement of all existing high rise “traditional type” dormitories on campus. Planned over three phases and estimated to require approximately 6 years to complete, the project includes the sequential demolition of existing 1969 vintage buildings and the subsequent replacement with new state-of-the-art facilities which will house an equal number of students.   Phase I of the project - the construction of Buildings A and B which will house over 1200 students - began construction in March, 2008 and is targeted for completion in August, 2009. Working closely with both the University and the local governing municipality, the project will include several sustainable features including:

·        Rain water gardens and groundwater recharge systems designed to accommodate both the current phase as well as the planned contiguous Phase III

·        The HVAC design is a water source heat pump system fueled by a centralized campus wide geothermal system

·        Basic sustainable and LEED features including optimized day lighting via appropriate window configuration and shading; FSC certification of all wood;  construction waste management; low water usage; high percentage of recycled and rapidly renewable materials; high performance envelope; reduction of heat island and light pollution effects.

·        White roof design; Phases II and III will have green roofs

·        Energy Star appliances throughout

823 South High Street - Sustainable Landscape Plan to be implemented by the Environmental Council during summer, 2008.

Undergraduate Business Center - The design of a new academic building focused on Undergraduate Business studies.  Although currently in the conceptual plan stages; the project is targeted to provide optimal solar orientation; optimized day lighting via appropriate window configuration and shading; green roofing features and potential geothermal heating/cooling system.

Green Roof -The University has begun the process to determine the feasibility of converting select existing roofs across campus to intensive and extensive vegetated “green” roofs.  A recently issued RFP received wide response from the design community.  Proposal reviews are under way with the anticipation of selecting a consultant team to begin studies no later than fall, 2008.

3. Land Use

The University is currently participating in a strategic planning program on the Plum Run Creek and surrounds.  Part of a group composed of several municipalities (West Chester Borough; West Goshen Township; East Bradford Township; West Bradford Township); local environmental and housing groups; the county conservation district and the local DEP offices; the team is attempting to identify individual and collective actions which can be taken to improve the Plum Run tributaries.  As part of the effort, members of the team are participating in a joint request to the “Growing Greener II” grant process now under way.

Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies - The Robert B. Gordon area for Environmental Studies (GNA), located on West Chester University’s South Campus, is an ecological treasure island in a sea of development, is dedicated to education, research and the protection of biodiversity, and is the last public land link to Penn’s Woods.  It stands as a monument to West Chester University's stewardship of the environment and our commitment to a sustainable future.  The University community and interested publics will come to cherish this treasure even more in the years to come.

The GNA has served and will continue to serve hundreds of West Chester University students each year as an outdoor teaching laboratory.  Research activities in the GNA include a long-term (35 years) plant succession study, several Masters’ theses, studies on forest health (funded by the USDA Forest Service), deer and impacts on vegetation (in cooperation with Henderson High School & funded by the Chester County Conservation District & the Audubon Society), a deer/non-native invasive plan demonstration area (funded by the PA DCNR, Wild Resources Program), a forest restoration project (funded by Tree Vitalize) and biodiversity of birds (West Chester Bird Club), reptiles and amphibians projects.  GNA also provides students, faculty, staff and local residents (and international residents-the Kenyan running team located in West

Chester) abundant opportunities for recreation and the enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Ecosystem services provided by the GNA include: gas regulation (e.g. oxygen/carbon dioxide), uptake of air pollutants, disturbance prevention, storm water regulation/supply, flood abatement, soil retention/formation, nutrient regulation and living space for plants and animals. The GNA is an important piece of landscape in Chester County, a county that has lost 25% of its tree cover in the last 15 years. The GNA supports 346 plant species, 52 birds (three area sensitive-wood thrush, oven bird, scarlet tanager),  11 reptiles and amphibians (one in decline-four toed salamander),14 orders and 55 species of macro-invertebrates that call this area home. It is projected that 75 years from now (once all the large native trees are gone) the area will be made up of maybe 20 plant species.  Fifteen to 17 will be non-native plants!   See Web site:


Cookout after a workday in the Gordon Natural Area


Smokey the Bear, Tara Speck (GNA Events Coordinator) & Woodsy Owl at the GNA

4. Green Power

15KV Electrical Upgrade – During the period 2005 through mid-2007 West Chester University completed a major improvement to its campus electrical distribution system, upgrading 15KV electrical upgrade including extending the campus high voltage supply to  East Campus buildings so that all major buildings are now supplied by the university’s substation.  This offers much-improved electrical reliability as well as lower rates for these buildings.

5.  Green Procurement

 WCU is using Johnson Diversity “green” cleaning products to clean all of our buildings.

 A new Green Purchasing Policy will be developed along with a new


6. Green Cleaning  

Custodial Services at West Chester University has for over two years used exclusively Green Seal recognized products.  Custodians are trained on the High Healthy Performance Cleaning concepts.  WCU is now “green” cleaning two high-profile buildings, School of Music and Performing Arts Center, and Sykes Student Union, using U. S. Green Building Council and Johnson-Diversey recommendations. Custodial Staff in those buildings are specially-trained in the use of micro-fiber and air pollutant containment equipment with HEPA filters.  During this year the Science Center will be added to the “green” list, thus doubling to 400,000 sq. ft. the space being “green” cleaned.   

Purchasing is working with vendors (Office Max, Enterprise Car Rental, Deer Park   Water) to partner with their on-going green efforts.

WCU purchased over $40,000 in recycled/environmentally friendly office supplies

last year.

6. Recycling

 WCU is offering 30% recycled paper for purchase via the WB Mason contract.

 WCU will have a contract for a company to purchase our used paper

 to recycle.

Recycling Program Revitalized

WCU’s Recycling Program underwent a major revitalization in January 2008.  Features of the new program include: the combining of aluminum cans, food cans, bottles, and plastic into one collection container, and a renewed effort to collect mixed office paper in large quantities.  To avoid waste contamination in the recycled paper, 96-gallon Toters were placed in each building on campus to collect the mixed office paper.  From there the paper is transported to a compactor used exclusively for mixed office paper.  At the same time, containers for commingled items (aluminum, food cans, glass, and plastic) were cleaned, re-labeled, and re-positioned in the hallways of each campus building and classroom.  Reaction to the new program has been very positive, and the amount of recycled paper has increased significantly.

7. Green Transportation

Police Bike Patrol - The Police Bike Patrols continue to operate during spring, summer, and fall as weather permits.  The program includes the security division for patrols in the area of the residential apartments at South Campus.

Shuttle Bus System - West Chester University has been operating a shuttle bus system for 35 years.  It is operated seven days per week during the fall and spring semesters with buses running until 1:00 am.  On a typical class day 3,700 students are transported via the shuttle bus, thus creating a substantial savings in emissions and parking demands.

Compressed Natural Gas Fueling Capabilities Enhanced – WCU’s fast-fill Compressed Natural Gas fueling station, originally placed in operation ten years ago, was successfully relocated this spring to another site on campus.  In addition, WCU’s fleet of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered vehicles has grown to the point where the University has added a second CNG dispensing unit.  This provides an on-campus backup for CNG fuel. The station was acquired with the aid of grant money from the Department of Environmental Protection.  The new system, made by FuelMaker, is a slow-fill unit that has dual fuel capabilities so two vehicles may fill up simultaneously.  The slow-fill system requires less infrastructure and costs much less to install then the existing fast-fill station.  The trade off is that filling time for vehicles is increased.  Since the FuelMaker fills our older CNG vehicles to a lower pressure, it has allowed for a 20% increase in the fuel capacity to which the majority of the fleet can be fueled by the original fast-fill station.  This will increase efficiency and miles driven between refueling.

Biodiesel – Beginning in June 2008, all diesel vehicles in the WCU fleet will begin using Biodiesel fuel (B20) which is comprised of 20% vegetable oil and 80% diesel.