Skip to main content

New Green Initiatives, LEED Certifications Highlight Villanova’s Continued Commitment to Sustainability

New sustainability achievements include the LEED certification of two existing buildings, and the addition of new Hydration Stations and ionized water cleaning technology on campus


Commitment to Sustainability

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The beginning of a new academic year at Villanova University has brought with it the announcement of several new sustainability achievements and initiatives on campus. Recognized as one of the nation’s greenest colleges by the Princeton Review and Sierra Club, Villanova continues to integrate sustainability programs into its curricula, scholarly research, academic and community events, and institutional policy and practice.

Among the University’s new sustainability accomplishments are the recognition of two additional LEED certified buildings, and the installation of new hydration stations and ionized water cleaning technology on campus.

“The hydration stations, ionized water cleaning, and LEED certification of two residence halls are great examples of Villanova’s commitment to sustainability,” said Liesel Schwarz, Villanova University Sustainability Manager. “Villanova’s approach to sustainability goes beyond just energy savings, we also consider the economic and social impacts of our campus operations and academic opportunities. This year’s new features look to complement all aspects of sustainability.”

LEED Silver
Sheehan and Sullivan Halls, built in 1957 and 1954 respectively, were recently awarded LEED Silver certification. Located on the University’s Main Campus, the residence halls are home to more than 800 sophomore students. Both residence halls were renovated under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Commercial Interiors standard.

New sustainable design features include improvements to the buildings’ lighting and HVAC equipment, which resulted in lower energy demand from the building. The buildings’ lighting power density was reduced by more than 50% each by replacing older, less efficient lighting with newer, more efficient technology. The water fixtures in the bathrooms were replaced with dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and motion-sensitive water faucets, resulting in a 25% reduction of potable water in both Sheehan and Sullivan Halls. Low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paint was used to improve indoor air quality. Also, more than 75% of each dormitory has access to daylight, lessening students’ needs for artificial lighting.

During the course of the renovation, 92% of construction waste was diverted from landfills and was instead recycled. Additionally, more than 11% of new building materials came from recycled resources and more than 10% of building materials were regionally harvested and manufactured within a 500-miles radius of campus.

Hydration Stations
During the summer of 2013, six new Hydration Stations were installed on campus bringing the total to seven Hydration Stations at Villanova. Hydration Stations are attached to existing water fountains and are completely touch-free, hygienic units that dispense cold and filtered drinking water into reusable water bottles. The stations are an effective way to implement a reusable water bottle program on campus by encouraging students to limit their use of plastic bottled water.

The stations are equipped with a counter to track how many plastic bottles are saved by using the Hydration Station instead of purchasing bottled water. The preexisting Hydration Station, located in Donahue Hall, has been installed for a little more than a year and has saved more than 7,730 bottles to date.

Ionized Water Cleaning Technology
New on-campus generation systems were installed to convert filtered tap water into effective ionized cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions. The generation systems produce three products – a one-step disinfection cleaner, an all-purpose sanitizer/glass cleaner, and a daily floor cleaner. All solutions are non-toxic, do not contain any harsh chemicals, cut down on shipping materials and storage space, and can be dispensed in reusable bottles.

In 2007, The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President of the University, reinforced Villanova’s commitment to sustainability by signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), the goal of which is to make Villanova a climate-neutral campus. Villanova submitted a formal Climate Action Plan to the ACUPCC, setting forth the year 2050 as the University’s target date for net climate neutrality.

In addition to the efforts aimed at making Villanova’s physical campus more sustainable, the University has numerous academic programs that provide an emphasis on sustainability, including: master’s degree in sustainable engineering; first-year “Nature and the World” learning community; bachelor’s degrees in environmental science, environmental studies, and environmental biology/ecology; undergraduate minors in environmental studies and sustainability studies; biology master’s degree, graduate certificate, and advanced graduate certificate with a concentration in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology; master’s degree in water resources and environmental engineering, a graduate certificate in urban water resources design, and graduate sustainability course in “Sustainable Industrial Chemistry.”

Click here to learn more about Villanova University’s commitment to sustainability.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.