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Sustainability Initiatives at Northwest

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Operations: Ongoing Lighting Upgrades to LED

The program is already underway in the following areas:

  • Outdoor Campus Lighting
  • Administration Building
  • Brown Hall
  • Hubbard Center for Innovation
  • Colden Hall
  • Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building & Fire Arts
  • Foster Fitness Center
  • Garrett-Strong Science Building
  • Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts
  • Lamkin Activity Center (Including Bearcat Arena)
  • Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center
  • Student Recreation Center
  • Valk Hall
  • Wells Hall
To date, lighting upgrades are saving 876 kWh of electricity each day, decreasing Northwest’s carbon footprint by 11.8 Metric Tons per month.

ASSCU award

In 2017, The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) named Northwest Missouri State University an Excellence and Innovation Award winner for Sustainability and Sustainable Development.

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DNR/Solid Waste Management Grants

Northwest has received more than $100,000 in grants over 4 years as a part of our relationship with DNR/Solid Waste Management and the initiatives on campus. 

Thinking “Green” in Capital Project Development

  • According to the Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA), operations, maintenance, and utility costs of a steel building averages from $4.35 - $5.40 per square foot. By seeking LEED™ equivalence in mechanical design (HVAC), Hughes Fieldhouse has an annual operational expense of only $3.57 per square foot.
  • 18.5 KW Solar Array at the B.D. Owens Library. This was made possible by a matching grant from KCP&L (now Evergy).
  • Large-Scale Solar under development at Hubbard Center for Innovation
  • Windmill and Transmission Line Lease (Clear Creek Wind)

Community partnerships

  • Local business and manufacturers’ cardboard and paper collection
  • Area communities’ paper collection
  • In 2019 Northwest pelletized 205,305 lbs. of paper into an Alternative Fuel

Other campus initiatives

According to National Geographic: Globally, 1,000,000 plastic bottles are sold every minute.  The U.S. only recycles 30% of the bottles it uses.

  • At Northwest bottle-fill water fountains reduce our pawprint
    • The first bottle filler was installed in the Student Union in 2011
    • Bottle-Fill stations are located in every Residence Hall
    • Installations in Academic and Support building are nearing completion
    • Northwest’s bottle-fill fountains are used over 100,000 times each semester

USEPA:  If you cannot prevent, reduce or donate wasted food, you can compost. Northwest’s composting provides the Arboretum with a nutrient-rich soil supplement.

  • Back of the house food scrap collection began in 2011
  • Front of the house collection started in 2012
  • The 2013 Dining renovation saw the introduction of:
    • Trayless dining
    • Dish room food waste collection
  • As of 2019, over 1,000,000 lbs. of organics have been composted since 2011

EVERGY Demand Response Energy Curtailment Program (Boiler Plant)

Incentive rewards customers who agree to reduce their electrical load during high-demand days. This is a great opportunity to use incentive payments and energy cost savings to boost profit margins, achieve sustainability goals and fund other company projects or initiatives.

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Student groups focused on sustainability

  • Bearcats Going Green
  • Northwest Bee Club
  • Wildlife Club
  • GEO Club
  • Marine Biology Club
  • Horticulture Club

Organics and compost

The Sustainability Office, in cooperation with Hardscape, Campus Dining, Auxiliary Services, the Agriculture Department, and a group of interested students helped to establish front of the house compost and recycling last year.  As part of a summer 2011 renovation, the traditional Food Court trash bins were replaced by highly visible recycling centers that also included large sinks to help customers properly dispose of their drinks and ice.  It’s estimated that liquid accounted for more than three tons of food service waste each week, and its removal saves the University over $500 per month in tipping fees.

Included in that renovation was the purchase and installation of more than 20 additional mobile bins to expand the back of the house organics collection started in 2010, the construction of a compost tipper, and the installation of a sealed collection dumpster.  Back of the house food waste is collected by dining staff in the kitchens, dish rooms, and assorted food venues in the Student Union in 24 wheeled 44 gallon barrels.  The collected food waste is collected in a specially designed dumpster equipped with a barrel tipper and emptied as needed throughout the week.  The food is then mixed in a converted feed wagon with horse bedding from the University stable and yard waste from the Arboretum.  The mix is then placed in windrows at the Northwest Research Orchard where it is monitored by the Agriculture Department and Hardscape and RecyclingLandscape personnel.  The rows are turned as needed utilizing another piece of converted farm equipment.  Depending on the time of year, the average windrow mix is reduced to a usable soil supplement in about 30 days.  Currently our compost is used in expanded floriculture efforts at The University Greenhouse, as well as various Arboretum grounds maintenance operations.  To date Northwest has diverted more than 200,000 lbs. of food service organics from the landfill, reducing both costs and its environmental impact.