Eastern Michigan University

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University Sustainability Efforts

President's Sustainability Commission

EMU is proud to announce the new President's Sustainability Commission! For its sustainability framework, EMU has chosen the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) system. The STARS categories include: Academics, Engagement, Operations, and Administration.

President's Commission

University Trash Audit

This October, students from the "Thinking Sustainably" course preformed EMU's first-ever trash audit! Students sorted and weighed a weeks worth of dorm trash. They found that over 2/3 of the trash could have been diverted from the landfill through recycling and compost. Stay tuned for the next trash audit in March! There will be a featured speaker from the GREEN Club followed by an evaluation of the changes between the audits.

Weigh the Waste

Co-Generation System

EMU's 55-ton co-generation unit is a combined heat and power system that uses natural gas to simultaneously produce electricity and steam heat. This system supplies approximately 98 percent of the heat and 93 percent of electricity to Eastern's 800-acre campus. The new co-generation unit will create an annual reduction of 21,305 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the preservation of 260 acres of forests.

Co-Generation System

Bioswale: A Living Labratory

A bioswale was put in outside of the newly renovated Strong Hall. This landscape is designed to remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff water. The pipe pictured on the left is a groundwater well that will be used by students in hydrogeology and sustainability courses. This system of storm water management will serve as a living laboratory for students and staff.


Giving Garden

The Giving Garden is an area on campus where students, staff, faculty and Ypsilanti residents to rent plots and garden. Their mission is to empower individuals through gardening and upholding five guiding principles: sustainability, organic agriculture, community and place, education, and respect. The garden donates portions of their food to Swoops food pantry and is actively involved in the community. They partner with the GREEN student organization and are part of the vision volunteer center.

Giving Garden


LEED® Certification

The Mark Jefferson Science Complex was renovated between 2009 and 2012 and received LEED® Gold certification. Features include:

  • Energy Efficient Solar Management - Using Omega 1510 metal mesh systems from GKD, 900 square meters of the building is covered. This protects the building from heating up in the sun, and still allows for natural light. The material has an unlimited service life, no maintenance, weather resistance and reusable also contributes to sustainability.
  • Green roof - a 3,000 square foot garden on the roof of the complex provides storm water management benefits, in an area which previously had seasonal flooding. In addition, the green roof provides insulation resulting in $3,600 in energy savings annually.
Solar Management

EcoSurface Flooring

Made from recycle rubber, which comes from tires and reprocessed roofing material. Less than 0.01% of tires are recycled compared to those that are discarded. The use of non VOC adhesive also has benefits, as it causes a chemical reaction with oxygen that is the main ingredient in smog.