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Winiarski Student Center Sustainable Practices

Green Cleaning

Green cleaning refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients designed to preserve human health and environmental quality. St. John's College Winiarski Student Center has implemented a green cleaning policy that includes using non-toxic and low environmental impact cleaning products, HEPA filtered equipment, micro-fiber technology and healthy housecleaning practices.

Solar Electric System

As the world's demand for energy continues to rise, solar power is on of the most abundant resources providing clean, increasingly cost effective energy around the world. Harnessing the power of the sun instead of fossil fuels is a critical path in global efforts to create a sustainable future. Over the next twenty-five years the WSC SunPower system will save the equivalent of: 245,700 gallons of water not used for power plant steam turbines and 859,900 pounds of CO2 not emitted into our atmosphere. The power system is being supplemented by 54 solar panels located on the roof of the lower dorms and produces a total of 16.632 kW.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is the accumulating and storing of rainwater for reuse before it reaches the aquifer ( The Winiarski Student Center and the lower Dorms roof tops are plumbed to catch and divert rainwater to two 10,000 gallon underground cisterns located just north of the Miranda dorm. This water is stored and used to supplement the landscape irrigation on the entire facility, thus reducing the demand for domestic water. Collecting rainwater also helps to reduce the flow of stormwater, which is slowed as it travels through the new areas and thoughtfully directed to the Arroyo with new stormwater structures and retaining walls. These efforts all serve to minimize erosion and the build-up of sedimentation in the Arroyo.

Passive Solar Building Design

The Winiarski Student Center was designed to take advantage of our natural elements. In passive solar building design, windows, walls, and floors are made to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer. Elements include window placement and glazing type, thermal insulation, thermal mass, and shading.

Hydration Stations

Advanced filtration system produces healthier, great-tasting water from standard tap lines. It features an advanced filtration system using a carbon-based filter that reduces lead, chlorine taste and odor, and removes 99.99% of cysts from municipal tap water and can reduce as many as 36,000 standard 16.9 oz bottles each year. By reducing the need for bottled water, the unit helps reduce your carbon footprint and encourage sustainability.

Materials and Resources

In the construction of the Winiarski Center, 24% of the materials used came from recycled resources, 26% of the materials came from local or regional sources, and 86% of the construction waste from recycled and diverted from the landfill. It is also priority for St. Johns to help people to make environmentally responsible decisions in using and disposing of materials, packaging, and waste in their daily habits; the comprehensive campus-wide recycling program is implemented in the new Winiarski Center. Glass, metal, plastics, paper, cardboard (even cigarette butts!) are collected for recycling and reprocessing.

Sustainable Site Strategies

Much of the surrounded site remained undisturbed during the construction of the Winiarski Center, preserving the natural habitat and minimizing erosion in this fragile ecosystem. The College sponsored a volunteer day to remove invasive, water-intensive plants in the Arroyo, improving local conditions for native species. Additionally, the low night-time lighting levels help to reduce 'light pollution' and support the natural cycles of animals.

Indoor Environmental Quality

The buildings have ample opportunities for natural light and fresh air, with several different window types and facades used to prevent glare and provide views to the natural environment. The spaces were designed with natural ventilation strategies and operable windows, allowing occupants to control comfort levels and take advantage of this high desert climate. All the paints, carpets, adhesives, woods, and finishes in the new Student Center are non-toxic, supporting high indoor air quality for students, visitors, and staff.

LEED Rating System

Using these sustainable strategies and materials, the Winiarski Center has submitted for LEED 2009 Silver Certification for new buildings. The LEED Rating system, developed by the US Green Building Council, is a green building tool that addresses the entire building lifecycle and recognizes best-in-class building strategies. This third-party verification process assures that projects have satisfied a rigorous series of prerequisites and criteria to achieve various levels of excellence in environmental and energy efficient design.