Founders Hall, a historical building at the college, has recently reopened after renovations to increase sustainability. Over a century old, Founders Hall was the first building to be constructed on the current campus. Although the positive environmental impacts of ”green buildings” are often focused on, the effectiveness of instilling environmentally friendly habits are overlooked. Do automatically off-turning lights and faucets instill more sustainable behavior in students, or laziness? Rob Yelnosky, vice president for finance and operations offers a ”green”’ thumbnail portrait on these buildings and the effects on environmental behaviors.
Do you think that ”green buildings” with occupancy sensory lighting teach bad environmental behavior?
Absolutely, I think it teaches bad behavior. Adults should be able to manipulate light switches by themselves, without having it automated for them. It does not teach sustainability and that is one aspect of green buildings that I do not agree with. However, to become LEED certified it is one of the qualifications.
Why do you think that it is a qualification if it teaches bad behavior?
I think the belief is that it is better in the long run because a classroom light for example will not be left on all night. There is still the option to turn on and off the lights manually. I think that there are some situations where occupancy sensory lighting works. For example – in hallways and stairwells.
What are some of the other environmentally friendly renovations?
The building now has low-flow water fixtures, a geothermal heat pump, dual-flush toilets, and recaptured storm water to reduce water usage. Supplies were bought locally (less than 250 miles away). The wood flooring is made from cork and the furniture is made from bamboo. Both of these materials are rapidly renewable resources. The building was made with materials low in volatile organic compounds, which makes the building healthier for people as well as the environment.
What has been the reaction to Founders Hall? Do you think that it will serve a part in positively affecting environmental attitudes of the college community?
The reaction to Founders Hall has been very positive. People seem to be happy about the changes and the choices that Juniata College is making. We are hoping that this building will serve as a reminder to the values of this institution and its community. I think that it makes people more aware of the sustainability movement. The fact that this building and other buildings like it exist, show that environmental attitudes are improving and that people are more conscious of the decisions that they make.
Elizabeth Roberts ’10, Juniata Online Journalist