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Pomona’s Annual Sustainability Report Highlights Achievements Toward a Greener Campus

Solar photovoltaic array on Pomona Hall

Trails End Ranch

Bridges Auditorium north courtyard

Pomona College’s 2012-13 Sustainability Annual Report, completed last fall and now available online, highlights Pomona’s achievements toward becoming a more sustainable campus.

Among the success stories is a more than 80 percent increase in renewable energy production over the prior year, provided by new solar photovoltaic (PV) systems coming online atop Pomona Hall, Sontag Hall and the South Campus Parking Structure. Pomona now generates approximately 368,790 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from solar PV and 873,400 therms of energy from solar thermal, enough to power 78 homes per year, according to Michelle McFadden, Pomona’s energy manager. The energy generated by the solar PV is the equivalent of 205 metric tons of CO2 avoided, which would be the amount generated by the use of 22,982 gallons of gasoline.

Pomona’s water usage was down 4 million gallons, about four percent, in 2012-13, after an increase the prior year. Pomona’s three-year average water use per cooling degree-day was down nine percent, compared to last year’s three-year average.

Dining Services continued to make large strides toward becoming a greener operation. In 2012-13, 29 percent of all food purchases were sustainable, defined as either local (sourced within 200 miles) or organic; 44 percent of produce was local; and 39 percent of seafood purchases were sustainable. Dining also replaced disposable cups with reusable mugs and installed eCubes in all food coolers, which is expected to save approximately 27,000 kWh.

The new Grounds Facility located off of First Street was completed and awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, bringing the number of LEED-certified buildings on campus to six: two platinum (Pomona and Sontag Halls), three gold (Lincoln, Edmunds, Grounds), and one silver (Richard C. Seaver). Since 2006, Pomona’s Green Building Standards have required new buildings to meet the requirements for at least LEED gold certification.

In July 2012, Pomona purchased Trails End Ranch with plans to preserve the 50 acres of almost pristine chaparral for a new field station and buildings that could be used for meeting space and an indoor research lab. According to Pres. David Oxtoby, “Trails End is a remarkable opportunity and will provide a wonderful outdoor laboratory for Pomona students and faculty…. The purchase also fits well with Pomona's sustainability goals, since it will preserve an important piece of natural landscape from future development.”

Achievements also include:

  • An approximate 25 percent in total commuting miles to 3,008,208 miles, meeting Pomona’s 2020 objective of a five-percent reduction from 2008-09 numbers. Sixteen percent of employees carpooled to campus.
  • Diesel fuel use was down 58 percent to 749 gallons last year, surpassing the Sustainability Action Plan goal of a 30 percent reduction over 2008-09 usage.
  • More than 51,000 square feet of asphalt was removed from the former Bridges Auditorium parking lot to make room for a green, outdoor meeting space.
  • More than 21 tons of items were diverted from landfills due to Operation Cleansweep and the ReCoop sale.
  • In addition, the inaugural ReCoop Office program saved 7.5 tons of office furnishings from landfills.
  • Pomona added an Energy Manager position to staff to integrate energy management and other sustainable practices into College operations.
  • Pomona was also recognized as a Fair Trade College.

Pomona College is committed to being a leader in campus sustainability. A charter member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), Pomona’s efforts in sustainability have been recognized with inclusion in the Princeton Review’s 2013 Guide to Green Colleges, a STARS Gold rating in 2011, and the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s highest ranking of “A” in 2010, one of only seven colleges or universities to achieve this rating. Pomona College President David Oxtoby signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007.

The Pomona College Annual Sustainability Report is compiled by the Sustainability Integration Office (SIO), which develops, administers, coordinates and assesses sustainability efforts throughout campus. Part of the Office of Facilities and Campus Service, the SIO also advises on college building and development programs and conducts off-campus outreach about college sustainability projects. 

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