Lynn University's sustainability efforts are in high gear

Work continues alongside presidential debate preparations
Lynn University's sustainability efforts are in high gear Lynn stopped using trays in the cafeteria this year to save approximately 1,500 gallons of water each day

Published Sep. 19, 2012

Preparations for the Oct. 22 presidential debate aren't the only major campus projects under way at Lynn University. At the same time it has built two new entrances, run 70 miles of cable, and is readying its Wold Performing Arts Center, other facilities and grounds for the big event, Lynn has systematically been making its campus more environmentally sustainable.

It's all tied to sustainability goals set forth in Lynn's campus master plan. Lynn took the first steps in 2010 by designing a Going Green program promoting recycling, offering car and bike sharing, replacing exotic plants with native landscaping, irrigating with reclaimed water, encouraging carpooling and public transportation, using carpet squares made from recycled materials, and more.

More recently—last May, the university signed a 20-year, $10.7 million contract with Siemens Building Technologies Division—the largest university project of its kind in Florida. The work calls for retrofitting and upgrading facilities, allowing Lynn to shave annual utilities costs by more than 32 percent. Specifically, Lynn expects to reduce electricity consumption by at least 30 percent, water by 32 percent and natural gas by 20 percent. Siemens guarantees these energy savings, which will finance the project over time.

Work with Siemens includes:

  • replacing some 8,000 lightbulbs with LED and lower wattage bulbs
  • installing sensors to control lighting based on occupancy and daylight conditions
  • retrofitting or replacing toilets to conserve water
  • installing low-flow sink aerators and showerheads
  • switching from liquid propane gas to natural gas, and upgrading related mechanical systems such as kitchen equipment to reduce gas usage
  • using Siemens' APOGEE Building Automation System to optimize energy use

"We're now completing the electrical upgrades," says Tom Heffernan, Lynn's dean of administration, "and upgrading our water fixtures is 60 percent complete."

Soon after the presidential debate, Lynn will break ground on a new central chilled water plant, replacing an outmoded plant. The $4.7 million plant will have larger capacity to meet the cooling needs for most campus facilities well into the future, and it will be the first in Boca Raton to use reclaimed water, saving about 1.4 million gallons of regular water.

Education is also a significant part of Lynn's commitment to sustainability. Lynn offers courses on such topics as global warming, alternative energies, conservation and LEED certification, and students regularly participate in environmental service projects. And through new practices such as forgoing the use of trays in the cafeteria, the entire campus community is learning about sustainability and doing its part.

"Not using trays translates to 1,500 gallons of water we don't waste each day, plus we're using fewer cleaning products and chemicals," Heffernan says. "And as an added benefit, people are taking—and wasting—less food."