Sustainable Buildings and Land Management at Colgate Skip Navigation

Buildings and Land Management

Colgate University aims to develop a sustainable environment on campus by incorporating green practices and standards into our building designs and committing to the health and management of our forestland.
Class of 1965 Arena

Green Buildings

LEED Certified
Unless otherwise determined during project planning, all new construction and major renovations shall achieve at minimum a LEED Silver rating under the latest adopted LEED standards.
Our green building standards

LEED Facilities

  • Trudy Fitness Center:
    In 2011, Trudy Fitness Center became the first official green building at Colgate University to achieve LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Lathrop Hall:
    Lathrop Hall, housing the English and the Writing & Rhetoric department, became the first major renovation on campus to achieve LEED certification in 2012. 
  • Class of 1965 Arena:
    The Class of 1965 Arena and Riggs Rink, home of Colgate University's ice hockey teams, received a Gold Rating in 2017.
  • Benton Hall
    Opened in 2018 as the home of Colgate Career Services, the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships, and Thought Into Action, Benton Hall achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

Water Conservation

During the summers of 2011 and 2012, Colgate University replaced every shower head on campus with a low-flow model. Moving forward, all new construction and renovations will install low-flush toilets and aerated faucets.

The Colgate community consumes over 75 million gallons of water every year. Prompts and water conservation stickers can be found in many showers and bathrooms around campus to remind individuals of the value of water and to do their part to conserve it.

Building and Residence Hall Monitoring

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 10.56.00 AM

Colgate University uses BuildingOS® to track electricity, heat, and water usage in student residence halls and in the Class of '65 Arena. The publicly accessible dashboard features up-to-the-minute statistics. 
Colgate's BuildingOS Storyboard
Using wood chips for renewable energy

Renewable Energy

Wood-fired Boiler

The wood-fired boiler processes approximately 20,000 tons of locally and sustainably harvested wood chips per year. Each year, this renewable and carbon-neutral resource helps the university avoid consuming the equivalent of 1.2 million gallons of fuel oil and saves us over $1.8 million in heating costs.
  • Willow Biomass Pilot Project
    In 2009, 60,000 8-inch willow shoots were planted on a 7.5-acre plot just a mile from campus. Over the next 20 years, it will yield approximately 900 dry tons of biomass. The willow will be chipped and used as a supplemental fuel source in our biomass energy plant. 

Solar Thermal

The 600 sq. ft. solar thermal panels on Creative Arts House in 100 Broad St. will eliminate the use of nearly 900 gallons of fuel oil, reducing Colgate's heating cost by over $2,600 each year and carbon footprint by over 9 tons.  Since these systems can last for over 20 years, both the planet and the university's energy budget are benefitting from this project.

Geothermal Energy

In 2016, Colgate’s first geothermal heat exchange system was installed at the Chapel House, helping the university to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2019. Read more about Colgate's geothermal energy system.

Electricity and Energy Savings

Colgate University consumes around 30 million kWh of electricity each year (or over 7,000 kWh per person). Almost all electricity used on campus comes from hydroelectricity, with some supplemental nuclear, coal, and natural gas power. Since our Climate Action Planning baseline year in 2009, Colgate has reduced our electricity consumption by nearly 2 million kilowatt-hours.

Forestry embracing the Colgate campus

Forest Sequestration 

At Colgate University, we recognize that carbon storage and annual sequestration is among the many assets provided by Colgate's forested lands. In 2013, we determined that our 1,059 acres of forests contain 165,491 tons of stored carbon while sequestering an additional 1,578 tons of carbon annually. Read our Forest Carbon Inventory & Projections for the methodology and results.

Stewardship and Management

Colgate University practices long-term sustainable forestry management that:
  1. enhances our academic mission through research and teaching;
  2. provides aesthetic value and ongoing recreational opportunities;
  3. provides revenue through timber and biomass energy production;
  4. provides essential ecosystem services such as clean air, water, and healthy soils;
  5. and protects the diversity and health of the plants and animals that inhabit our forested lands.
Read more about our Forest and Open Land Stewardship Plan

In 2014, Colgate's 1,059 acres of forested land was awarded American Tree Farm System certification, verifying our high level commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible forest management.