In 2010, Queens' president Dr. Pamela Davies signed the American College & University President's Climate Commitment. This document, and the accountability guaranteed by its prominent signatories, recognizes our stewardship to the environment. As part of our pledge, we are examining our carbon footprint on a regular basis, looking for ways to reduce it responsibly.
Research by the Queens Sustainability Council shows that the university's carbon footprint is a mere 10.23 metric tons of CO2 per 1,000 square feet. Comparatively, Clemson University's is 19 metric tons, UNC Chapel Hill's is 31.9, Davidson College's is 13.6 and Wofford College's is 31.7 metric tons.
As part of our plan to continue to grow responsibly, Queens has committed to Silver LEED certification-at minimum-on all new facilities, including Platinum level certification for the Rogers Science and Health Building. We constantly search for ways to make our construction projects environmentally friendly and for ways to offset the impact of our construction.
In all renovations, leftover materials are saved for use in future projects, from carpets to lighting to paint. We also donate gently used furniture to charities that work with people in crisis.
Each April our campus community celebrates Earth Week. We traditionally participate in Power Down Day when faculty, staff and students turn off lights and only use the power they absolutely need during the day. We began in 2009 by turning out the lights for just one hour, during which time we estimate we prevented 900 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Since then we have annually encouraged faculty and staff to leave the lights off for the entire day as part of our Earth Week Festivities.
The university's sustainability efforts are coordinated by a task force that bridges faculty, staff and students and membership in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).