Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

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The Commute

Almost half of SPU’s student body commutes to campus. Have you ever wondered how all of that time getting to and from campus contributes to overall student wellness and SPU’s environmental footprint? Over the last few months, we’ve collected a bit of data to find out.

In terms of happiness, studies connect commuting to lower rates of well-being, physical exercise, political activity, and life satisfaction as well as higher levels of emotional and relational stress. At the same time, some studies have found that the happiest commuters are those who walk, cycle, or take the train to work. In addition to increasing happiness, fewer greenhouse gas emissions are emitted into the environment by commuters who are able to take advantage of these options. If you’re a commuter unable to walk or cycle, consider carpooling or taking public transportation even a few times throughout the year to decrease your eco-footprint – every bit helps. Additionally, be sure to check out the resources offered by SPU’s wellness initiative! 

As far as environmental footprint goes, commuting mileage has a bigger institutional impact than one might think. In 2011, faculty and staff commuting made up 6% and student commuting accounted for 23% of our total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions.  To continue our efforts in effectively measuring and lowering SPU’s GHG emissions, we conduct an annual Student Commute Survey. Continue reading

Arnett Hall Receives LEED Gold Certification


Completed in August 2014, Arnett Hall is the newest residence hall and building on campus. Located at the corner of 6th and Bertona, Arnett houses up to 150 students. In recognition of its sustainable design and construction, Arnett was recently awarded LEED Gold certification.

Arnett Hall was certified under the new LEED for Home Mid-rise Multi-Family category, which places a high emphasis on durability, occupant awareness, and energy performance. Arnett joins Eaton Hall and the Cremona Classrooms as LEED-certified buildings on the SPU campus, and SPU is committed to achieving a minimum of LEED Silver certification on all new construction. LEED certification involves verifying that a building was designed and constructed to achieve various credits in categories such as building materials, location, energy, landscaping, water efficiency, and air quality measures for the building. Meeting specific requirements can improve the level certification that the building receives, whether through an upgrade in material quality or additional energy-saving features. Here are a few points to highlight: Continue reading

Nuclear Concerns in WA


Arial shot of the Hanford tank farm

Though media and films like The Dark Knight Rises can show nuclear power as the future of renewable energy, this isn’t necessarily the case. Nuclear energy has been controversial since its invention.

Nuclear concerns have increased since the 2011 Fukushima power plant crisis, which brought nuclear power’s potential instability to the world’s headlines.

The Hanford Site, a decommissioned nuclear complex in southeast Washington, has made headlines for years concerning. Just this February CNN reported that the old tanks have been leaking an alarming amount of radioactive waste, possibly for years.

The effects of this leakage for Washingtonians are still largely unknown.

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Green Tips for a Cost Savings Autumn

Fall Seattle

As classes start up this fall, it may become a little more challenging trying to stay green while attempting to remember once again what homework was assigned (or that you have to assign) during the week. Never fear! Whether you live in a residence hall or off-campus, here are a few simple tips that will allow you to use sustainable resources, save costs and still have time to finish your homework this quarter.

  • Use power strips

CAP Part 3: Energy Infrastructure, Efficiency and Conservation

An important part of Seattle Pacific University’s climate action plan is its emphasis on energy infrastructure, efficiency, and conservation. Improving energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways for SPU reduce its carbon footprint, making it an important focus for the University.

Much of the improvements in energy infrastructure include improved monitoring of energy use. This can be done through developing a more user-friendly system to track building energy use, installation of natural gas sub-meters at each building, and conducting energy audits every two years.

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