Stanley J. Kabala, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for Environmental Research and Education
The Climate Initiative at Duquesne
As a member of the Higher Education Climate Consortium, Duquesne is committed to aligning its campus practices with the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. The University has a longstanding history of environmental stewardship; an overview of its efforts is outlined below.
Educational Initiatives & Outreach
Center for Environmental Research and Education (CERE).The Center currently provides technical services to two clusters of municipalities in Allegheny and Beaver counties on conducting municipal greenhouse gas inventories.
Duquesne students have been involved in promoting environmental awareness through a variety of channels, including monthly cleanups in the Greater Hill District/Uptown and South Side communities.
In 2009, Duquesne University completed its second greenhouse gas emissions inventory, becoming the first institution of higher education in western Pennsylvania and only one of a few in the state to have completed such a comprehensive analysis.
Energy: Efficiency, Conservation, and Alternative
For over a decade, Duquesne University has generated the bulk of its own electricity with a clean-burning natural gas turbine located in the heart of campus. This cogeneration plant produces approximately 85% of the power used to light, heat and cool the University’s facilities with overall efficiency greater than 65%. Additionally, it is Pennsylvania’s first approved generation system for creating Alternative Energy Credits and the first academic institution in the state to receive the EPA’s 2009 Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award.
The University purchases the remainder of its energy needs from renewable sources—this combination of energy generation and renewable energy purchase led Duquesne University’s campus to rely 100% on clean energy. The EPA recognized Duquesne University for two consecutive years as the Individual Conference Champion for purchasing more green power than any other school in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
In 2008, a highly efficient cooling system that relies on ice—the first of its kind in a Pittsburgh academic institution—has bolstered the University’s efforts in responsible energy consumption.
Recycling and Waste Management
Students, staff and faculty are committed to recycling at Duquesne University. The school has increased its education efforts to equip its constituents to recycle properly. For instance, 100% of the fryer grease used in the dining halls is recycled into biodiesel fuel. In 2008, more than 3,000 pounds of comingled recycled products were collected from campus and sent to appropriate reprocessing facilities.
Buildings and Grounds
Duquesne University is committed to sustainable design concepts in all its new construction and major renovations. The University’s newest facility, the Power Center, has earned the LEED Silver rating. Currently, over 80% of cleaning products used on campus have high environmental quality. In the residence halls, water conservation devices have reduced water consumption by approximately 20,000 gallons per year. Lush green areas filled with native plants were created to enhance the quality of life on campus.
The University has made Zipcars available on campus and has substituted outgoing operational vehicles with all-electric trucks that do not emit carbon monoxide.
Faculty and graduate students of the CERE and the SMBA program have utilized the MARKAL energy optimization software to assess energy use and supply options for Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Students from the SMBA program work each semester with local corporations and non-profit organizations to evaluate sustainability practices and recommend possibilities for improvement. Clients have included Westinghouse Nuclear, Bayer, the Pittsburgh Zoo, Carnegie Museum and Pennsylvania Environmental Council.
Other current research efforts:
-DU Professor Creates Compound to Indicate Lead in Water
-Project Provides Practical Policies to Reduce Environmental Footprint