Drexel Green

A Commitment Towards a More Sustainable Community

Moss Dragon Earth Day Block Party Farmer's Market Spring Blossoms on Korman Center Walk Tulips outside of the Law Building Students in front of Handschumacher Dining Center The Biowall in the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building Drexel Park Flowers at Drexel Earth Day Celebrations Fitness Quad at the Drexel Recreation Center, Recycling Rainwater Race Street Walkway and Northside Dining Terrace Green Roof at the Millennium Residence Hall Rush Building Alumni Garden Autumn Leaves on Arch Street

News & Interests 2011 Archive

 
Drexel Zipcar Prius

Drexel Partners With Zipcar to Offer Car Sharing on Campus
November 2011

Drexel University has partnered with Zipcar, Inc., the world’s leading car-sharing network, to offer a Zipcar car-sharing program on campus. The cost-effective and convenient transportation option is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all students ages 18 and older, as well as faculty and professional staff members. Drexel University members pay a $35 annual fee, and rates on campus Zipcar vehicles start as low as $7 per hour and $69 per day. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day, and roadside assistance are included in the hourly and daily Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for multiple days. Drexel students, faculty and staff can join at zipcar.com/drexel.

The University will initially offer eight Zipcars, including Ford Focus, Honda Insight (hybrid), Mazda 3, Scion xB, and Kia Soul models, which will be located in several campus lots. Zipcars are self-service and can be easily reserved and accessed 24 hours a day. Participating members with smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices, may download the Zipcar mobile applications to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles as well as honk the horn to help locate the vehicle. Reservations can also be made over the phone or by using the Zipcar website.

 
Rita LaRue Gollotti

Drexel’s Rita LaRue Gollotti Named Chair of UC Green
October 2011

Rita LaRue Gollotti, Senior Associate Vice President of Drexel Business Services has been named chair of UC Green, an organization dedicated to improving our neighborhoods in University City. Through partnerships and education, UC Green empowers volunteer-based, environmental stewardship. Since 2003, UC Green has planted over 3,800 new street trees in University City, including those on streets and triangles in Powelton Village and has engaged 11,000 volunteers in over 34,000 hours of community service.

Drexel Smart House

DREXEL SMART HOUSE RECEIVES NOVA AWARD FOR GREEN INNOVATION
October 2011

The Drexel Smart House has been selected by the World Green Energy Symposium (WGES) to receive a 2011 NOVA Award during the third annual symposium from October 19-21, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. The Smart House was nominated in the Educational Case Study category for its student-led, multidisciplinary approach to developing a sustainable model for urban residential living and entrepreneurial innovation.

The WGES NOVA Award is presented annually to those who have made outstanding contributions in the area of new and green energy alternatives and/or sustainable innovations in existing energy technologies. The City of Philadelphia also will be recognized with a NOVA Award for its Greenworks program, as will the country of Brazil for its sustainable strategic plan in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The Drexel Smart House (DSH) project will transform a late 19th century Powelton Village residence just blocks from Drexel's University City Main Campus into a "living laboratory" for exploring cutting-edge design and technology. Two student-developed technologies, which will be implemented in the house, have already received provisional patent protection, and two spin-off companies were created from DSH research projects. DSH has raised more than $300,000 in research funding through grants and awards for student proposed research, including a recent $75,000 Federal EPA P3 Grant (Fourth Year). The project has also been awarded a $25,000 NCIIA grant to establish a seed fund in order to disperse micro-grants to students in the prototyping phase.

State Treasurer Rob McCord

DREXEL FIRST UNIVERSITY TO PARTICIPATE IN CAMPUS ENERGY EFFICIENCY FUND
October 2011

Drexel is the first university to participate in Pennsylvania’s new Campus Energy Efficiency Fund, an innovative financing opportunity that will help Pennsylvania colleges and universities cut utility costs through job-creating energy efficiency improvements that will also contribute to a cleaner environment.

State Treasurer Rob McCord visited Drexel on Wednesday, October 5, 2011, to unveil the fund, which Treasury developed in partnership with Philadelphia-based Blue Hill Partners.

The Campus Energy Efficiency Fund is a first-of-its-kind investment that can generate as much as $45 million in improvements at as many as 12 schools through projects creating more than 700 new jobs. Over the 20-year useful life of these projects, schools are expected to save $150 million in utility costs and reduce their carbon dioxide footprint by 1.4 million tons – or the equivalent annual emissions of 250,000 cars. Blue Hill Partners will manage the innovative fund.

Drexel – working with the project engineering team from Transcend Equity Development Corporation – will undertake upgrades at six buildings on campus. The improvements are expected to reduce Drexel’s annual energy consumption more than 7 percent, which will save between $500,000 and $600,000 annually – all with no negative impact to the institution’s balance sheet.

Biowall

PAPADAKIS INTEGRATED SCIENCES BUILDING FEATURES NORTH AMERICA’S LARGEST LIVING BIOWALL
September 2011

Drexel University opened the doors to the Constantine N. Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, Pennsylvania's newest landmark for scientific research and the future of integrated science, on Sept. 20, 2011. The $69-million building serves as the new home of Drexel's biology department and includes North America's largest living biowall, the only such structure at a U.S. university. The biowall, a 75-ft. high wall of plants, serves as a biological air filter, demonstrating Drexel's longstanding commitment to sustainability and progressive research.

The 150,000 square-foot building, located at 33rd and Chestnut Streets, was designed by world-renowned architects Diamond & Schmitt. It is expected to become Drexel's first building to achieve LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and is also anticipated to receive at least a 3 Green Globes rating from the Green Building Initiative.

The biowall, designed and installed by NEDLAW Living Walls and located in the atrium of the Papadakis Building, measures 75 ft. tall and 22 ft. wide and is five stories high. The plant installation was conducted by Parker Plants, who will also maintain the wall. Biowalls of this type were first introduced in Canada by Diamond & Schmitt Architects. The wall uses plants' natural respiratory properties to cool the indoor air in the summer and function like a humidifier in the winter. Contaminated air is drawn through the roots of the plants where microbes help to remove particulates and volatile compounds. At Drexel, professors and students will use the wall to examine its effect on the interior atmosphere and its potential health benefits for commercial and academic applications.

Hydration Stations

Dual Hydration Stations Installed at Buckley Field and Buckley Green
August 2011

Two new outdoor Hydration Stations have been installed at Buckley Recreational Field and Buckley Green to encourage members of the Drexel community to fill reusable containers instead of using bottled water. The dual stations include both a traditional drinking fountain and a push button Hydration Station that dispenses water into a bottle, glass, or other container. By making it easier to fill reusable containers, these Hydration Stations reduce the need for disposable plastic water bottles.

The new Buckley Recreational Field Hydration Station is located closer to the 33rd and Arch Street side, inside the fenced area on the sidewalk between the grass and Astroturf. The Buckley Green station is located in front of the volleyball courts and approximately 15 feet from the grill location.

New Hydration Stations are also planned for:

  • the 1st floor lobby of the new Papadakis Integrated Science Building
  • the main gym floor and the pool area of the Daskalakis Athletic Center
  • Handschumacher Dining Center, where two new stations will be installed by Sept. 1, 2011.
Drexel Green Grants

2011 Drexel Green Grants Winners
June 10, 2011

The Drexel Green Grants 2011 theme "It's Electric!" brought in various ways that our students, faculty, professional staff and alumni incorporate the sustainable use of electricity into everyday life and in the communities in which we live, work and recreate. Drexel Business Services in support of Drexel Green awarded (24) $1000 grants to current full-time and part-time students and $3000 in Barnes & Noble gift cards to six faculty, staff and alumni.

Brian Acquaviva, College of Engineering; Yvette Bell, College of Nursing and Health Professions; Aparna Bhatia, School of Education; Nicholas Coleman, College of Engineering; Simone Denny, LeBow College of Business; Corinne Dillon-Johns, College of Arts and Sciences; Joseph Ferreri, LeBow College of Business; Jessica Granacher, College of Arts and Sciences; Megan Gribb, College of Engineering; Michelle Heppner, School of Education; Daniel Hwang, LeBow College of Business; Melanie Jeske, LeBow College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences; Stephanie Joerger, Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design; Megan Jones, LeBow College of Business; Jodi Kraus, College of Arts and Sciences; Eduardo Larranaga, LeBow College of Business; Niraj Maniar, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Kyle Mathews, College of Engineering; Raisa Ochola, College of Information Science and Technology; Palakiyem Pagbaya, Goodwin College School of Technology and Professional Studies; Michael Phan, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; Megan Shuman, College of Nursing and Health Professions; David Stern-Gottfried, LeBow College of Business; Madison Thompson, College of Engineering

Student recipients may apply their $1,000 Drexel Green Grant to tuition, fees, room and board. The non-refundable reward becomes part of the total financial aid package for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Faculty and Professional Staff
Susan Epstein, Clinical Assistant Professor, Office of the Dean of the LeBow College of Business
Monica Fauble, Program Coordinator, International Studies & Modern Languages
Jana Mossey, Professor, School of Public Health, Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Elizabeth Pelberg-Schariter, Program Manager, Ph.D. and LEAD MBA Programs, LeBow College of Business
Kimberly Wasko, Veterinary Technician, Drexel University College of Medicine

Alumni
Sara Samohod Brady, 2005 Graduate, College of Information Science and Technology

Faculty, professional staff and alumni recipients receive a $500 Barnes & Noble gift card.

The Drexel Green Grants program is administered annually by Drexel Business Services.  Drexel Business Services and Drexel Green would like to thank the Green Grants selection committee: Sean Murphy, Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA); Melissa Englund, Enrollment Planning and Retention Services; Nicholas Perez, Financial Aid; Dr. Patricia Gallagher, Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and Provost’s Fellow in Sustainability; Rita LaRue Gollotti, Drexel Business Services; John Rorer, Barnes & Noble; and Niki Ververelli, Drexel Business Services.

Drexel Green thanks Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, Sodexo Campus Dining and Office Depot for the donations that have made the Drexel Green Grants possible.

See the winning Drexel Green Grant Essays!

For more information, email dbs@drexel.edu.

Drexel Blackout Winners

2011 Drexel Blackout Winners
June 8, 2011

Drexel Business Services congratulates Myers Hall and the residence of Phi Sigma Sigma/Phi Mu for winning the 2011 Drexel Blackout and having the highest percentage decrease in energy consumption during the month of May. Between 2010 and 2011, Myers Hall dropped their electricity usage in the month of May by 10.76% and the Phi Sigma Sigma/Phi Mu house had a drop of 19.65%!

Throughout May, students in all residence halls and Greek houses reduced electric consumption, increased energy conservation awareness and preserved valuable natural resources by making greener decisions in the second energy-saving battle on Drexel's campus.

Rainwater Collection

Drexel Researchers Recycle Rainwater from Rooftops
May 2011

A team of Drexel civil and environmental engineers are studying ways to use rainwater as a resource rather than disposing of it as waste. Rather than conveying it in pipes to treatment plants and receiving water bodies, the team suggests that rainwater runoff can be recycled for non-potable building uses, become an irrigation supply for gardens and farms and infiltrated into the ground to enhance urban ecosystems. In search of ways to control regulatory compliance costs and maintain service levels, cities such as New York and Philadelphia are paying careful attention.

The project, led by Dr. Franco Montalto, assistant professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering, and a team of undergraduate and graduate students, are working on a number of projects across the urban northeast and beyond. In Drexel's backyard, the team is working with organizations such as the Partnership Community Development Corporation and Urban Tree Connection to compare the quantity and quality of runoff from vegetated, "cool" (a term referring to roofs coated with reflective paints) and conventional roof surfaces.

Green Dragon Solar Car

College of Engineering Solar Car Prototype Wins First Prize
April 25, 2011

Seniors from Drexel's College of Engineering received first place honors in the solar car prototype category at the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas competition held in Houston, Texas, April 14-15.

Green Together

Drexel University and Philadelphia Partner in Major Greening Initiative
April 18, 2011

Drexel University and the City of Philadelphia's Department of Parks and Recreation are embarking on a multi-faceted partnership aimed at greening the West Philadelphia community surrounding Drexel University. Participating in the announcement on April 18, on the University's campus, were Mayor Michael A. Nutter; John A. Fry, President, Drexel University; Michael DiBerardinis, Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources; Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, 3rd District; and Rick Young, President and CEO, Mantua Community Improvement Committee.

The collaboration supports Mayor Nutter's Greenworks Philadelphia plan, which includes planting 300,000 new trees by 2015, and capitalizes on the University's resources and academic expertise to significantly impact neighborhoods in West Philadelphia and beyond. Program elements include the greening of several playgrounds in the Mantua section of the City, the giveaway of 200 trees to Drexel employees living in Philadelphia, and the creation of new storm water treatment systems for local parks and playgrounds, designed and implemented by the University's environmental engineering students.

"Thank you to Drexel University for your continued leadership toward sustainability, and for your commitment to a comprehensive greening and community partnership," Mayor Michael A. Nutter said. "With partners like Drexel, Philadelphia is set apart from other urban areas as we work together to become the greenest city in America."

"Drexel is very proud to collaborate with the City of Philadelphia in this effort," said Drexel President John A. Fry. "We take very seriously our responsibility to be a good neighbor, and this initiative, in particular, allows us to leverage all of the University's strengths to positively impact our community. It's a perfect fit – aligning seamlessly with our vision for Drexel to be the most civically engaged university in the nation across all three dimensions of engagement – academic, student and employee volunteerism, and institutionally supported neighborhood investment."

Program activities will launch on April 30, 2011 at the University's first official "Greening Day," when 100 Drexel students, alumni, and employees join representatives from UC Green and the Mantua Community Improvement Committee, and Mantua residents, to transform Miles Mack Playground. The corps will perform a complete cleanup of the playground, located at 36th and Aspen Streets in the heart of Mantua, and will plant 30 new trees. Two more "Greening Days" will occur at other playgrounds in the Mantua community in the coming months.

In addition to planting trees in these three public green spaces, Drexel professional staff and faculty living in Philadelphia can sign up to receive free trees to plant on their properties. The University will give away 200 trees, accompanied by a "planting and caring" training session. Sign-ups for the free trees will begin on April 18, with distribution planned for June 4, 2011.

Perhaps most notably, Drexel will lend its academic expertise in environmental engineering to the greening partnership. Through a series of coursework this year, students enrolled in the University's College of Engineering will be tasked with surveying playground sites in Mantua, and developing effective designs to manage the storm water treatment systems at those sites. The students' designs will also serve as templates for the City to implement storm water treatment systems in other green spaces across Philadelphia.

"Drexel is fortunate to be in a position where we can provide valuable resources to the community, and to be able to do so while providing unique learning experiences for our students makes for a powerful combination," said Fry. "We look forward to a long and sustainable partnership with the City's Department of Parks and Recreation."

Fry recently signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment, validating Drexel's pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint, promote research and educational efforts, and equip the University to contribute in stabilizing the earth's climate. This year, Drexel, for the first time, was included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Top 50 list of the largest green power purchasers. The University was also recognized by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, for becoming the first institution in the country to deploy Viridity Energy's VPower System™, an energy monitoring system at its University City Main Campus.

Founded in 1891, Drexel is the nation's 14th largest private university and is ranked second among national universities in the U.S. News list of "Up-and-Comers." Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program, technology and use-inspired research.

EPA

EPA Recognizes Drexel as Top Green Power Purchaser among the Colonial Conference Schools
April 20, 2011

Drexel University was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2010-2011 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Colonial Conference.

Since April 2006, EPA's Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.

Drexel beat its conference rivals by purchasing more than 84 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing 100 percent of the school's annual electricity usage. Drexel purchases renewable energy certificates from Community Energy, which helps to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the campus' electricity use.

According to the U.S. EPA, Drexel University's green power use of more than 84 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 7,000 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 12,000 passenger vehicles per year.

Thirty-one collegiate conferences and 69 schools competed in the 2010-2011 challenge, collectively purchasing nearly 1.6 billion kWh of green power. EPA will extend the College & University Green Power Challenge for a sixth year, to conclude in spring of 2012. EPA's Green Power Challenge is open to all U.S. colleges, universities, and conferences. In order to qualify, a collegiate athletic conference must include at least one school that qualifies as a Green Power Partner, and the conference must collectively purchase at least 10 million kWh of green power. For more information, visit: the EPA Green Power Challenge site.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

This year, Drexel, for the first time, was included in the EPA's National Top 50 list of the largest green power purchasers. Drexel President John A. Fry recently signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment validating Drexel's pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint, promote research and educational efforts, and equip the University to contribute in stabilizing the earth's climate. As part of the Drexel Green Initiative, the University was also recognized by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, for becoming the first institution in the country to deploy Viridity Energy's VPower System™, an energy monitoring system at its University City Main Campus.

Drexel's new buildings are constructed according to green standards. The Constantine N. Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, scheduled for completion in 2011, will become the first academic building in the country to include a biowall or living biofilter for energy efficiency and improved air quality. The design is environmentally sensitive and will become Drexel's first Silver LEED certified building from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Additional sustainability efforts include using biodiesel fuel for shuttle buses, purchasing hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, a free bike share program, water consumption reduction across campus, implementing a multitude of energy-saving controls and lighting efficiency measures, using ice thermal energy for cooling and wide-ranging recycling efforts.

Drexel Smart House

Leaner Greener Roof Project wins 2011 EPA P3 Award at 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo
April 18, 2011

The Drexel Smart House student-led Leaner Greener Roof project team has been selected as a 2011 EPA P3 Award winner and honorable awardee of a $75,000 grant at the 8th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo held in April 2011. The People, Prosperity, and the Planet – or "P3" – award is sponsored by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency to honor student teams that stimulate prosperity and protect the planet by designing solutions that move people toward a sustainable future. The Leaner Greener Roof project won in the Water and Built Environment categories for innovation in sustainable design.

The key achievements of the Leaner Green Roof system are enabling property owners to manage storm water runoff, decrease heat gain, and insulate the underlying roof, resulting in energy, water, and monetary savings. The system also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere and mitigates the urban heat island effect, helping reverse the damage caused by urban living. By developing a lightweight modular system, existing buildings can be retrofitted with a green roof, eliminating the need for costly structural reinforcement to accommodate such a system. Weighing under 10 lb/sf when fully saturated and retaining a one-inch storm, the innovation has paved the way for a more sustainable future.

Currently, conventional green roof systems are very heavy, requiring structural reinforcement prior to installation on existing building stock. The soil in the vegetative roof system accounts for the majority of the weight. Replacing soil with a natural and/ or synthetic light-weight planting medium enriched with nutrients has the potential to eliminate the need to reinforce existing buildings and still provide the benefits of a vegetated roof. The Leaner Greener Roof project team designed an original modular roofing concept and planting medium, introducing a proprietary combination of lightweight materials that can grow and sustain roof vegetation while reducing the heat island effect and harmful stormwater runoff. The Leaner Greener Roof project team also leveraged Drexel Smart House outreach activities to generate public interest about sustainable living, and has been actively advising the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) on residential runoff reduction strategies.

Moving forward, three full-scale prototypes will be tested on existing buildings around Philadelphia, including residential, commercial, and institutional installations. The Leaner Greener Roof system will be tested for moisture and nutrient retention, ability to discharge excess water after it had reached its full saturation point, vegetation growth rates, durability, weathering, and overall performance in the two upcoming years. The project will expand on its "do-it-yourself" approach, wherein a pre-assembled packaging design that encapsulates growth medium and vegetation will be explored for cost-efficient installation. These prototypes will also contribute to more effective public education for sustainability by displaying "living prototypes" of lightweight green roof in the community. Upon completion of testing, the project team looks forward to introducing the green roof to the Philadelphia community as an entry market.

EPA

EPA Recognizes Drexel University among Nation's Leading Green Power Purchasers
February 1, 2011

Drexel University announced today that for the first time it is included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) National Top 50 list of the largest green power purchasers. The University purchases more than 84 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 100 percent of the University's electricity use, and ranks Drexel No. 48 on the national list.

Drexel is buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Community Energy demonstrating a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation in support of cleaner renewable energy alternatives.

EPA updated each of its National Top Partner lists, highlighting some of the nation's largest green power purchasers. In addition to its listing on the National Top 50 list, Drexel also ranks No. 3 on the Top 20 College & University list. Each list highlights EPA Green Power Partners that have completed the largest annual voluntary purchases through January 5, 2011. EPA updates its Top Partner Lists quarterly at epa.gov/greenpower/toplists.

"We are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," said James R. Tucker, Drexel's senior vice president of Student Life and Administrative Services. "Our students, faculty, professional staff and community recognize and value the commitment we have made to a safe and secure energy future. Having our electricity matched with clean, renewable energy is one piece of our larger commitment to sustainability. We hope other institutions will follow our lead."

This purchase also qualifies Drexel for EPA's Green Power Leadership Club, a distinction given to organizations that have significantly exceeded EPA's minimum purchase requirements. Green Power Leadership Club members must purchase 10 times the partnership's minimum requirement organization-wide.

Green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. Purchases of green power help accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

"EPA's Green Power partners are tapping into America's growing clean energy market and powering the economy of the future," said Lisa P. Jackson, EPA administrator. "Investments like these are smart for business, foster growth in the green energy sector and help protect our health through cleaner air."

According to the U.S. EPA, Drexel's green power purchase of more than 84 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 12,000 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 7,000 average American homes annually.

The EPA's Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily purchasing billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500® companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities.

President's Climate Commitment

Drexel Joins American College and University Climate Commitment
January 12, 2011

Drexel University President John A. Fry signed the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment validating Drexel’s pledge to eliminate its carbon footprint, promote research and educational efforts and equip the University to contribute in stabilizing the earth’s climate. In one year alone, Drexel will decrease its carbon footprint from 34,990 metric tons in 2010 to 7,880 metric tons in 2011 by using 100 percent green power.

“We are proud to do our part for the environment,” said Fry. “Our students, faculty, professional staff and community value the commitment we have made to establish Drexel as a leader in promoting green initiatives in pursuit of climate neutrality. Signing the climate commitment validates our determination to continue enhancing our sustainable efforts.”

Drexel recently announced an agreement with Community Energy, Inc. to purchase Renewable Energy Certificates equal to 100 percent of its energy use, making Drexel one of the top purchasers of wind energy in the nation. This Renewable Energy Certificate purchase will ensure that 84,268 megawatt hours of electricity will be matched annually with wind energy entering the electricity grid in the United States.

Launched in 2008, the University’s Green Initiative covers all aspects of operations, buildings, academic initiatives and student life, and is responsible for strategic planning to further sustainable practices and policies. Environmentally conscious students from Drexel’s Sierra Club were instrumental in launching the University’s green efforts.

“This is a momentous occasion for the University community, and we are looking forward to seeing Drexel's action plan for achieving climate neutrality and incorporating sustainability into the curriculum,” said Kelsey Gibbons of the Drexel Sierra Club’s Executive Board. “By signing the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, Drexel is firmly establishing itself as a forerunner in climate stewardship, and we are confident that this bold leadership will allow the University to serve as a model for environmental excellence at the national level.

As part of the Drexel Green Initiative, the University was recognized by PennFuture, a leading Pennsylvania environmental advocacy organization, for becoming the first institution in the country to deploy Viridity Energy’s VPower System™, an energy monitoring system at its University City Main Campus.

Drexel’s new buildings are constructed according to green standards. The Constantine N. Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, scheduled for completion in 2011, will become the first academic building in the country to include a Bio Wall or living biofilter for energy efficiency and improved air quality. The design is environmentally sensitive and will become Drexel's first Silver LEED certified building from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Millennium Hall, a resident hall for students that opened a little more than a year ago, was constructed with a green roof to insulate the building, manage storm water and reduce the heat island effect. Drexel’s new Recreation Center was also designed to eliminate the use of electric lights during the day in 87 percent of interior occupied space. A rainwater reuse system manages storm water and reduces the amount of potable water used for flushing toilets.

Recognizing the importance of promoting research and educational efforts to equip society to stabilize the earth’s climate, Drexel’s faculty have begun exploring new ways to integrate sustainability into the curriculum.

Current academic sustainable initiatives at Drexel include:

  • The Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative: a new approach to studying urban systems focusing on the engineering of cities, policy development, and the creation of environmentally sustainable urban habitats that function for people and society.
  • The Drexel Smart House: a student-led, multidisciplinary project to construct an urban home to serve as a “living laboratory” for exploring cutting edge design and technology.
  • The Ecology, Earth and Environmental Science Research Group: In association with the University’s Department of Biology, this diverse group of internationally renowned investigators research extends from mechanisms of ecological processes to applied conservation work and paleontology.
  • Drexel’s Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering: Comprised of a highly diverse group of students, staff and faculty who conduct theoretical, laboratory and field investigations, and are engaged in practice and research to provide better and more sustainable infrastructure for society.

Additional sustainability efforts include using biodiesel fuel for shuttle buses, purchasing hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, a free bike share program, water consumption reduction across campus, implementing a multitude of energy-saving controls and lighting efficiency measures, using ice thermal energy for cooling and wide-ranging recycling efforts.