Sustainability at Mason
Sustainability At Mason
The mission of the sustainability office is to use the strengths of George Mason University – innovation, responsiveness,
flexibility, and community strength – to provide leadership in environmental, social, and economic stewardship on our
campuses and throughout the local and global communities of which we are a part.
The responsibilities of the Sustainability Office include:
•Provide a strategic direction for the evolution of sustainability on Mason’s campuses.
•Provide policy recommendations to the administration that improve our operational efficiency and contribute to our
long-term economic and environmental sustainability.
•Assist in the creation of processes and standards across campus that promote the sustainability of Mason.
Collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to create a central hub for communicating sustainability initiatives.
•Coordinate the activities of the Sustainability Council and Executive Steering Committee.
•Participate in the coordination of campus-wide awareness and engagement campaigns, such as Earth Week,
Green Rush, Fall for the Book, and others.
•Work with the Provost’s Office to encourage the integration of sustainability principles into curricula across
•Interface with local, regional, and national organizations and working groups that can further the sustainability
interests of George Mason University.
•Create a climate action plan that will lead Mason to climate neutrality as per the American College and
University Presidents Climate Commitment.
Want to get involved in helping us get from here to there? Plug in to the Sustainability Council and its Working Groups.
Mason Recycling and Waste Management
Recycling services are provided on a scheduled basis.
To get new or replacement containers, call the Recycling Center at (703) 993-3671.
Refuse collection and disposal services are provided by the Physical Plant on a daily
basis through contract services.
George Mason University recycles the following:
•Auto motor oil
ENERGY STAR® is an international standard for energy efficient electronic equipment.
It was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 and has now been
adopted by several countries around the world. The ENERGY STAR® label helps consumers
easily identify products, homes and buildings that save energy and money, and help reduce
air pollution and greenhouse gases.
ENERGY STAR® is designed to overcome many of the market barriers, such as lack of information
and split incentives, to the adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency products and services in a
sustained manner and to help unleash the attendant savings for individuals and organizations.
ENERGY STAR® reduces the amount of energy consumed by a product by either automatically
switching it into a ‘sleep’ mode when it’s not being used and/or reducing the amount power
used when in ‘standby’ mode.
Global warming and climate change caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions are among
the most serious environmental, economic, social and political issues ever to be confronted by society.
ENERGY STAR® equipment uses less energy. As most electricity in Australia is generated by
coal-fired power stations which produce carbon dioxide, saving energy means reducing
greenhouse gas emissions.
Guidelines for Superior Energy Management
EPA offers a superior energy management strategy based on the success of thousands of
ENERGY STAR® partners. Partnership with EPA turns energy management plans into actions:
Top-level attention and a public commitment to secure resources for sustained improvements.
A credible, objective energy performance rating system to assess the performance of buildings,
validate savings, and recognize top performance. 5-stage building upgrade approach based on
building science and designed to take advantage of building system interactions for greater
savings and comfort. Visibility of an organization’s achievements in the public and financial markets.
Access to a network of partners, bringing creative approaches to problem solving.
Future of the Energy STAR® Program
Each year, EPA makes a significant effort to accurately estimate the environmental
and economic benefits from the ENERGY STAR® program.
The keys for continued success over the next decade to which the EPA remains committed are:
– Maintaining the value of the ENERGY STAR® label among the many partners using it to communicate
characteristics of their products or their environmental stewardship actions.
– Providing clear, objective, and accurate information to consumers, businesses, and organizations
about sound approaches for energy efficiency and environmental protection.
– Maintaining transparency with the business community as the ENERGY STAR® program moves forward
and energy efficiency specifications are updated and improved.
Sustainability – Leed
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally
accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED
gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their
buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in
five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency,
materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
LEED provides a roadmap for measuring and documenting success for every building type and phase of
a building lifecycle.
The first step to LEED certification is to Register your project. To earn certification, a building project must meet
certain prerequisites and performance benchmarks (“credits”) within each category. Projects are awarded Certified,
Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification depending on the number of credits they achieve. This comprehensive approach
is the reason LEED-certified buildings have reduced operating costs, healthier and more productive occupants, and
conserve our natural resources.
Who can use LEED ?
Everyone: Architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects,
construction managers, lenders, government officials…
The LEED program also includes a full suite of training workshops and a Professional Accreditation program to develop
and encourage green building expertise across the entire building industry.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from every sector of the building
industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy
places to live and work.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s core purpose is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built
and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves
the quality of life.
Alternate Sources of Energy
Wind energy is the use of the wind as an energy source. Wind is a clean,
inexhaustible, indigenous, energy resource that can generate enough
electricity to power millions of homes and businesses. A wind energy system
transforms the kinetic (moving) energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical
energy that can be harnessed for practical use. Wind energy is one of the fastest
growing forms of electricity generation in the world. The United States can currently
generate more than 10,000 MW of electricity from the wind, which is enough to
power 2.5 million average American homes.
|Its clean.||Wind power is intermittent in many locations, because consistent wind is needed to ensure continuous power generation.|
|Renewable.||Require significant amounts of land.|
|Land on which turbines are built can still be used for farming and grazing.||It spoils the look of the landscape.|
|Cheap in terms of real estate costs with increasing population and land cultivation.||Wind turbines don’t make much noise as people think.|
Solar power is the technology of obtaining usable energyfrom the
light of the Sun. The sun’s heat and light provide an abundant source
of energy that can be harnessed in many ways. There are a variety of
technologies that have been developed to take advantage of solar energy.
These include concentrating solar power systems, passive solar heating
and daylighting, photovoltaic systems, solar hot water, and
solar process heat and space heating and cooling.
|It is a renewable source of energy.||It is not predictable because it depends on the sunlight.|
|It does not cause any pollution.||Batteries need periodic maintenance and replacement.|
|It is an infinite energy source.||Currently the photovoltaic cells are expensive.|
|Very little maintenance cost.||The energy produced is more expensive than power supplied by the utilities.|
Biomass energy is created by harvesting organic matter,
such as wood or special ‘energy crops’, and converting it
into heat, electricity or transport fuel. The conversion
processes used include combustion, anaerobic digestion
and fermentation. Trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide
as they grow. So when energy is generated from biomass
there is no net addition of carbon dioxide so long
as the biomass is regrown.
|It is abundantly available.||Greenhouse gases produced by burning.|
|Amenability to storage and use as per power demand.||Extra costs of installing technology to process and recycle wastes.|
|It is less polluting.||Expensive to collect, harvest and store raw materials.|
|It is generally renewable.||Production of biomass and its subsequent conversion to alcohols is particularly expensive.|