Guilford’s green tours: spotlighting Guilford’s sustainability

Laura Burt


Walking around campus, some may not notice all of the green changes that have been made to make Guilford more sustainable. The college’s efforts go further than what may be seen up close.

To make people more aware of Guilford’s sustainability mission, “Green Tours,” sponsored by the Admission and Sustainability Offices, are now available for all. Sustainability Engagement Consultant Bryce Bjornson ‘10 leads the tours. The tours explain the school’s progress in becoming a sustainable campus.

“The effort to green Guilford moved along at a slow pace up until President Kent Chabotar signed the Colleges and Universities Presidential Climate Commitment (in 2007),” said Director of Environmental Sustainability David Petree.

“The goal is to reduce green house gases and become carbon neutral,” said Petree.
Guilford aims to achieve total carbon neutrality by 2043. The coinciding goal is to reduce Guilford’s carbon footprint. Green Tours explain how the school is accomplishing these goals.

The first stop on the tour is Archdale Hall. This building became LEED Silver-certified in 2009.

“The building was constructed with the Triple Bottom Line concept which keeps people, profit and planet in mind, instead of just profit,” said Bjornson.

Archdale has a VOL system, which creates higher air quality. The paint used for the interior is eco-friendly and does not contain the normal chemicals which have a funny smell and cause headaches. There is also a special heating system that regulates the temperature so it remains constant instead of varying.

Moreover, all of the water in the building comes from reused rainwater. Bjornson hopes that more buildings on campus will become LEED certified in the near future.

The second stop is Ragan-Brown Field House, where human energy is being transformed into electricity. Exercising on the “Re-Rev” elliptical machines produces energy that is used to create electricity that powers the building. Solar panels on the roof also retain heat energy to power the facility. The athletic fields on campus are also maintained by using water from the lake instead of an outside source.

Next, the tour goes to the cafeteria, where people can learn how much water Guilford conserves. Not having a tray-based system allows for us to reduce water usage because there are no trays to wash.

Guilford also reduces waste when it comes to the actual food.

“The school produces 150 pounds of food waste per day and all of this waste is extracted by a pulper,” said Bjornson.

The pulper is like a large garbage disposal that takes all of the water out of the food. The food is then brought to one of the two earth tubs for compost.

“Some of the best ways we are currently attacking (the problem of carbon neutrality) is with the farm,” said Petree. “… It’s one of the most exciting initiatives we’ve got.”

The community garden and farm are located behind New Garden Friends School. The community garden has several plots where people can plant their favorite herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Just down the path at the farm, there is a green house where vegetables grow. The farmers are also building a hoop house to allow for more production. Spinach, arugula, tomatoes, kale and Swiss chard are just some of the veggies being grown at the farm.

“5,000 pounds of veggies have been sold to the cafeteria,” said Petree.
Meriwether-Godsey is not the only group interested in buying from the farm, though.

“Elizabeth’s Pizza is re-doing their menu, and they are interested in buying our produce,” said farmer Korey Erb.

The last stop on the tour is Re:Cycles Bike Shop, which encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint by biking instead of driving. Re:Cycles is also a great local resource for tune-ups and other fixes. The shop also does rentals for $5 a day.

Green tours are offered on the fourth Friday of every month and are limited to seven people. The tours leave from New Garden Hall at 2 p.m.

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