Sustainable Operations


Housing purchases Energy Star appliances. Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals strive for energy efficiency. All new equipment recognized under the program is manufactured to use the latest energy saving technology and environmentally safe coolants. Housing also performs regular preventive maintenance, including cleaning all filters to help the units run more efficiently. Housing looks to systematically audit our equipment to replace inefficient, older equipment with new Energy Star-efficient appliances wherever possible.


All on-campus laundry facilities feature Speed Queen Front Load Washers. This unit has one of the highest energy efficiency ratings due to its lower water usage. Older traditional top load washers use approximately 34 gallons of water; our washers use an average of 11 gallons – saving 23 gallons per cycle, which also means less waste water. In addition, in keeping with the University’s sustainability goals and in an effort to reduce non-essential energy output, all washing machines operate with cold water only.


Housing partners with Savoy Furniture, a company committed to the manufacture of environmentally responsible and FSC certified products. Their primary contribution is in the life cycle of their products: their furniture is designed to endure challenging living, learning, and healing environments for 25 to 50 years. In addition, they use North American hardwood to construct their furniture. Any company we use to furnish our rooms and facilities must conform to re-forestation regulations.

Motion and Sound Sensors

Wall occupancy sensors are installed in residence hall rooms and bathrooms as an energy conservation measure. The occupancy sensors have an opaque lens on the front cover and a push button for manual on-off. The occupancy sensor can turn lights on and off based on occupancy. This saves energy since lights will not stay on once the room is vacant if residents forget to turn the lights off when leaving.

Hydration Stations

In an effort to reduce the environmental impact of plastic water bottles and encourage the use of reusable containers, Columbia Housing has installed water filling stations throughout several residences. Water filling stations dispense filtered water, allow hands-free bottle filling, and display the number of 16-ounce plastic bottles saved from landfills.