Frequently Asked Questions
Where does ISU's energy come from?
Why is ISU "going green?"
Who's using the most energy on campus?
My teachers keep telling me they are printing less, are we really saving
How can I tell how much energy I'm using every day?
Do you need any Live Green! volunteers?
Why are we still burning coal at the ISU Power Plant?
Are there any "green" clubs at ISU?
What does sustainability mean?
It seems like ISU has been doing sustainable things for while, is that true?
Why don't we put a wind turbine on campus for our power source?
I live off campus, is there anything I can do to support ISU Live Green?
How many green cars does Iowa State have?
What is a "green" building?
Can I recycle at Iowa State?
What is the easiest way to reduce my energy-use in my apartment?
Why doesn't "The Daily" go paperless?
Why doesn't Parking Services ride bikes around campus?
There seems to be a lot of wasted food on campus, are we doing anything
What can I do to get involved with Live Green?
Are there "green classes" at ISU?
Are there any upcoming green events?
When did the Live Green! Initiative start?
What's next for Live Green! and ISU?
Where does ISU's energy come
Iowa State University has the distinction of having
its own co-generation power plant that ensures ongoing power, heating and cooling to campus
year-round. Read more about its operations.
Why is ISU "going
Actually, sustainability is not a new trend for Iowa State. Read more about past sustainability
efforts in #10 (below). In 2008, ISU officially recognized its dedication to sustainability by
declaring a goal of sustainability leadership for the university and kicking off the Live
Green! Initiative. Read more about the
initiative and what Iowa State is doing toward becoming a green leader!
Who's using the most energy on
We're all in this together. Every building, student, faculty, and staff person has a direct
link to the energy used here on campus. But there are definitely some buildings that use
more energy than others. You can directly affect the energy used on campus by limiting your
use, suggesting energy saving ideas and always being conscious of your consumption. Learn more
about being a proactive energy
My teachers keep telling me they are
printing less, are we really saving paper?
We are saving in a number of ways. Over the past five years, Iowa State has purchased an
average of just over 300 tons of white recycled copy paper. Of that, ISU has recycled an
average of 42 percent - equal to 128.28 tons! And our savings have grown. From fiscal year 2008
to 2009 we purchased 20,000 reams less paper (49 tons) and recycled 5 percent more of the paper
we used. We are also paying less for paper by using 30% recycled fiber in our standard copy
here to learn more about ISU's paper recycling and other
How can I tell how much energy I'm
using every day?
If you live on campus it is very easy to
track how much energy your building is using. You can also look at buildings you use
frequently, such as buildings where you work, have class, work on projects or hang out. Visit
If you live off campus, talk to your energy provider to track how much energy you consume
daily. The City of Ames also provides a great site with resources on how
much energy your typical appliances are using.
Do you need any Live Green!
Of course! We can always use the help of
students, faculty, or staff to further our efforts. There are a variety of opportunities for
those wishing to get involved and be part of the green difference.
Click here to
sign up and be included on the Live Green alert list.
Why are we still burning coal at the
ISU Power Plant?
Although the ISU Power Plant continues to
burn coal, burning is done in a very thoughtful and responsible manner and improvements are
always being considered to limit its use and emissions. The Power Plant is making strides
towards alternative energy it is an ongoing process of balancing the
desire for alternative energy with the high cost of providing it to consumers. The requirement
of continuous energy production, by the power plant, in order to effectively and seamlessly
supply campus demand (producing steam, electricity and chilled water through its cogeneration system makes the amount of coal
being burned directly dependent upon energy demanded. Students, faculty and staff have the
ability to personally control ISU's carbon footprint and coal use. Learn more about the ISU Power
Are there any "green" clubs
Absolutely, there are over 40 groups on campus
whose activities and projects support sustainability and "green" living. Their
specific areas of focus range from sustainable agriculture and green building to environmental
studies and cycling! Click here to see the
list of all the clubs and their events and activities.
What does sustainability
Sustainability can have many different meanings
depending upon your interests, experiences and perspectives. Overall sustainability is about
being mindful of the state of our natural world and leaving it in good condition for
generations that come after us. Iowa State University, the Board of Regents and the Governor
all recognize sustainability under the definition provided by the 1987 Bruntland Commission
(a United Nations world commission
focused on environment and development), "meeting the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This definition
is also widely adopted throughout the world. To learn more about the history of sustainability
It seems like ISU has been doing
sustainable things for while, is that true?
Yes, ISU has
been doing a number of things to support sustainability since it was founded in 1858. Some of
these include lowering Power Plant emissions since the 1970s, recycling for over 15 years,
reuse through surplus for 25 years, a decade of green cleaning, the incorporation of green
building principles into construction and renovation projects and alternate transportation. Now
ISU is focusing on becoming a leader and expanding on all of our great efforts through the Live
Green! Initiative. Read more about what's happening.
Why don't we put a wind
turbine on campus for our power source?
There are many considerations related to having our own
wind turbine on or near campus. These include: an airport close to campus, safety
hazards with heavily populated areas, migratory bird flight patterns and finding a
location for optimal output. With all these in mind, the power plant has recently
joined forces with the City of Ames to enter into a joint contract for purchasing wind
energy beginning January 2010. NextEra Energy, is currently completing construction on
a wind farm north of Ames, near Zearing. Through this contract, Iowa State University
will purchase up to 6 megawatts of wind energy from the NextEra wind farm. This amount
of wind energy will be equivalent to approximately 10% of the university's annual
electrical usage. This allows ISU the opportunity to reduce our use of coal, increase
our use of renewable energy, and work directly with a local provider with
expertise in wind turbine operation and maintenance.
I live off campus, is there anything
I can do to support ISU Live Green?
There is always
something you can do to support Live Green! When you're on campus you can impact energy
demands and the greening of our campus by decreasing your energy use. You can also consider
joining a group on campus or in the
community in which you live or reading our weekly green tips to get ideas on how to reduce
your energy use and increase your sustainable actions both on and off campus!
How many green cars does Iowa
We have a variety of fuel-efficient cars in our
transportation fleet. We have four electric
vehicles, nine hybrid vehicles and 139 flex fuel (E85)
vehicles. Transportation services also offer a vanpool
service currently from four different locations (Des Moines, Boone,
Story City and a rural route) to campus and able to accommodate
What is a "green"
Green buildings are those that are
environmentally efficient on many levels. There is a national system that ranks these
buildings, helping developers and consumers achieve a common knowledge, understanding, and
evaluation of green building practices.
Currently, ISU has one LEED Certified building on campus. Morrill Hall has LEED Silver Certification. LEED,
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a Green Building Rating SystemTM
developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The System rates buildings from points
earned in five categories (with an option for additional credits for innovation) and ranks them
(if they meet the point requirements) as LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold or LEED
Platinum. Read more about
Though no other buildings are officially certified on campus, three buildings, the Alumni
Center, Coover Hall and Snedecor Hall have met all certification criteria. The College of
Design's new King Pavilion is striving for LEED Platinum. In addition, multiple
buildings and projects have incorporated a variety of green building principles toward a more
sustainable construction footprint.
Can I recycle at Iowa
Absolutely! Campus recycling officially started in
1992, when a group of graduate students and ISU staff initiated the white paper recycling
program. Since 1992, our programs have expanded to include phone books, newspapers, cardboard,
batteries, cell phones, scrap metal, glass, chemicals, light bulbs, oil filters, oil, tires,
and toner and ink cartridges. In addition, ISU Central Stores operates a Surplus and Excess
Equipment retail outlet, the Iowa State Dairy Farm has a compost operation and Facilities
Planning and Management has a wood/pallet give-away program and recycles ash from the
university Power Plant. Learn more about what's
recycled and where to recycle.
What is the easiest way to reduce
my energy-use in my apartment?
There are a number of easy
ways you can greatly reduce your energy use in your home. Using compact fluorescent bulbs,
reducing the number of "duplicates" you have such as TVs, and turning your thermostat
up in the summer and down in the winter, even a few degrees can save a lot of energy and can
save you money. Also, try unplugging electronics when you're not using them. For other tips
about energy conservation, check out our weekly green tips or visit the City of Ames energy website
Why doesn't "The
Daily" go paperless?
Actually it is... but maybe not
in the way you'd expect. The Iowa State Daily is working to serve its audience in the best
possible way which includes having full online content and using new media to reach out to its
readers. However, the Daily has found an ongoing demand for physical newspapers and realizes
there may always be a demand and desire for the traditional paper on campus, as well as a very
The Daily also works to reduce pre-consumer paper use and post-consumer paper waste by closely
monitoring leftover papers at distribution outlets across campus and throughout Ames and
reducing papers produced as well as recycling excess papers. You can help by recycling your
Daily after reading it or only making use of it in the paperless form online. Learn more about
the Daily's services and operations by visiting their website.
Why doesn't Parking
Services ride bikes around campus?
They do, but not exclusively. ISU Parking Division employees are responsible for a number of
functions and activities while on the job. This requires them to be on call for delivering
large items, helping with stranded vehicles, transporting individuals as part of the safety
escort program, etc. Their limited staff must be able to arrive at locations quickly and be
ready to help in whatever way needed, thus making consistent bike utilization a challenge.
Parking Services is exploring opportunities to continue to decrease their reliance on trucks
and increase the presence of bikes on campus - while still ensuring they are providing timely
and exceptional service to their customers.
There seems to be a lot of
wasted food on campus, are we doing anything about that?
Yes! Iowa State has an all-university composting facility that can handle more than 10,000 tons
of organic wastes annually. The facility is designed to handle solid organic waste including
yard waste, manure and bedding from ISU farms, organic greenhouse waste, biomass research waste
and -- beginning fall '09 -- food waste from campus dining facilities. ISU Dining is also
looking into new measures to stop waste at its source: the consumer. Currently, projects and experiments like
tray-less dining centers and buying more local foods to decrease
transportation cost and our carbon footprint are underway.
What can I do to get involved with
There are many ways to be a part of the
President's Live Green! Initiative! Consider joining an established group or start your own
group within your college, department or community! Click here for current groups seeking
members. Even just being more thoughtful in your daily actions can make a big
difference - Click here for tips and ideas.
Are there "green
classes" at ISU?
There are over 350 "green"
courses at ISU that focus on sustainability and living green related to agriculture, water
quality and more. Every college and nearly every department has at least one "green"
course to offer. In addition, Iowa State also has a degree program in Sustainable Agriculture, both
undergraduate and graduate. Click here to
see the full list of courses
Are there any upcoming green
There is always something going on that supports
Live Green either on campus or nearby! Visit our events calendar for more information.
When did the Live Green!
Live Green! is President Geoffroy's
personal initiative and call to action for all students, faculty and staff that was officially
kicked off in 2008. Read more about the goals,
history and progress of Live Green!
What's next for Live
Green! and ISU?
President Geoffroy has noted his
sustainability vision for Iowa State University through the following goal:
"Our goal is to be an exemplary university in promoting energy efficiency and
sustainability and minimizing our impact on global climate change, through education, research,
& extension, and collaborating..."
The President's Advisory
Committee on Energy Conservation and Global Climate Change and
the Director of Sustainability are working with the President to
finalize an official sustainability policy for ISU as well as a
five year action plan. Participants in the 2008
Sustainability Symposium were also involved in charting ISU's sustainable future.