NWC again recognized for environmental stewardship

The Groundwater Foundation has recognized Northwestern College as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site for the 10th consecutive year. Northwestern earned Green Site designation for its groundwater and environmental stewardship, which includes responsible use of chemicals, pollution prevention and water quality.

“We are excited to again be distinguished as a Groundwater Guardian Green site,” says Chad Miller, director of environmental health at Northwestern. “The entire maintenance department is dedicated to protecting water quality and practicing environmental stewardship while maintaining an immaculate campus.”

The Green Site program began in 2007 to recognize good stewards of groundwater by encouraging green space managers to implement, measure and document their groundwater-friendly practices.

To earn Groundwater Guardian Green Site designation, site managers complete an application that uniformly evaluates and documents their site’s practices, such as tracking irrigation water use, maintaining a no-application zone around surface water and active wells, selecting plants adapted to the region’s climate, and applying fertilizer based on nutrient needs. 

According to www.groundwater.org, only three other colleges are designated Groundwater Guardian Green Sites, with Northwestern listed as the only Iowa college meeting the organization’s standards for environmental stewardship.

Northwestern continually seeks to integrate energy-efficient and waste-reducing measures into campus facilities. The Juffer Athletic Fieldhouse, opened in the fall of 2016, was built on a previous industrial site and caused minimal impact to the surrounding environment. The DeWitt Learning Commons uses an ice bank cooling system to cool the building and chill water throughout the day. Efficient lighting fixtures use motion sensors to turn lights off and on, and the building is landscaped with tall fescue grass, a drought-hardy plant that requires less water to sustain.

Other improvements made to the campus in recent years include the installation of new high-efficiency boilers in the college’s art building and student center, an updated motion sensor lighting system in the remodeled Ramaker Center, more energy-efficient lighting in Christ Chapel and the music hall, and water bottle filling stations in a number of residence halls and facilities to both lessen the amount of plastic bottle waste and promote the use of refillable containers.