Sustainability Practices

Sustainable Practices in Rollins College
Facilities Management



Waterless Urinals - Rollins installed its first waterless urinal in the Cornell Campus Center in 2001 after a successful trial it was adopted as the standard for all new construction and renovation projects on campus, we now have nearly 100 campus-wide. They utilize a fluid trap that allows urine to pass into the sanitary system without the need of a water flush saving up to 20,000 gallons per unit annually.

Chemical Free Cooling Tower Water Treatment
- Cooling towers are pieces of mechanical equipment used to reject waste heat from air-conditioning to the atmosphere. All cooling towers require water treatment to control biologic growth, corrosion, and scaling. This is normally accomplished with a cocktail of chemical treatments that in turn is ultimately returned to our groundwater. Rollins has pioneered the use of a new type of system that passes the water through an electromagnetic field causing suspended minerals to crystallize in fallout of solution, and at the same time kill emerging bacteria. As a result we introduce no chemicals thereby in the long-term actually saving money and environment.

Low Flow Shower Heads - We have replaced the shower heads and sink nozzles in one of our residence halls with efficient new products. We expect to continue this replacement process and can potentially save thousands of gallons of water each semester without degrading performance for the user.



Digital Direct Controls (DDC) - all mechanical systems such as chillers, boilers, air handlers, etc. need to be controlled in order to provide a comfortable and safe indoor environment. Historically this is been accomplished with pneumatic controls and for decades that was the case on our campus. In the late 90’s we started converting to Digital Direct Controls. DDC allows vastly expanded programming options that allows for greatly improved efficiency. The conversion process is quite costly; therefore, we chose to address high consuming equipment typically building level components such as boilers, chillers and air handlers. In some cases where existing systems were functioning poorly, we extended control to air distribution and temperature control down to the zone level. In all new projects and renovations outside of residence halls, DDC controls are standard. Because we allow students autonomy within their living space DDC controls provide little benefit.

"Tri-Coils" for Outside Air Units
- All new air handling units which provide preconditioned makeup air to our buildings utilize a wraparound coil that pre-cools incoming air before the chill water coil and reheats the same air after it departs the chill water coil. This both saves energy as well as improves dehumidification.

Occupancy Sensors - for years we have been using occupancy sensors as part of renovations to automatically shut off lighting in areas like mechanical rooms, supply closets, restrooms, etc. Starting with the 170 West Fairbanks Project we used the same occupancy sensors integrated into the building control system to reassign set points for heating and air conditioning when an area is unoccupied. We are hoping in the near future begin retrofitting existing areas starting with classrooms.

High Performance Glazing - all new exterior windows installed on campus are fixed, insulated, tinted glass in order to limit heat gain.

Passive Heat Recovery - the new chiller that will provide air-conditioning for the entire west end of campus was purchased with an auxiliary condenser (heat exchanger) which allows us to preheat incoming city water (from 72° to 95° F) which will then be further heated for domestic use in the residence halls. This will alleviate the need of burning gas for the same purpose.

Water to water heat pumps for heat recovery - high-efficiency heat pumps (the same units used in geothermal applications) will further scavenge rejected heat from the chiller to complete the production of domestic hot water (to 118°F).

District Cooling - beginning with the construction of the Keene Hall chilled water plant in 1999, built to serve the new Alfond Sports Center, Knowles Chapel, Annie Russell, Keene Hall, and Rex Beach. We have been in the process of converting our campus from a series of buildings served by dedicated equipment to a District Cooling model that has utilized existing mechanical spaces to house equipment that produces and distributes chilled water across the campus.   This approach has allowed us to control costs in three ways, energy conservation, obsolescence, and operational savings. Energy, by joining diverse cooling loads we are able to stage equipment bringing on resources only as they are needed where they are able to operate more efficiently rather than many pieces of partly loaded equipment. Obsolescence, since all of the equipment being replaced was at the end of its useful life and because it was cheaper to replace with a few large pieces of equipment than many small ones. Operations, we were able to dramatically reduce the amount of equipment needing ongoing maintenance.

Oversized cooling tower - both the Olin and Ward chilled water plants share a common 1000 ton cooling tower (the cooling tower serves to reject heat into the atmosphere by way of evaporative cooling). Functioning well below rated capacity most of the time this tower will use dramatically less electricity and generate far less noise.

High Efficiency Lighting - over a decade ago we did a campus wide retrofit of all fluorescent lighting converting from T12 to more efficient T8 lamps with electronic ballasts. At the same time exit signs were converted to the LED (light emitting diode) type. Since then the development of T5 lamps have come along and are now our standard for new construction or renovation projects. We are currently exploring the latest developments in LED lighting for both interior and exterior use. We currently have on campus a prototype for one of our standard exterior pole lights replacing the 200 W high-pressure sodium lamp and ballast with a 40 W LED element. As the technology becomes reliable and cost-effective we will continue to update our lighting.

Open Cell Foam Thermal Insulation - high performance spray on thermal insulation has been installed in attics and wall cavities of many existing facilities on campus. This is sometimes done as part of larger renovations and sometimes done as a stand alone project. This has been completed in the following buildings in recent years: 170 West Fairbanks, Annie Russell Theatre, Reeves Lodge, Pugsley Hall, Mayflower Hall, Lyman Hall, Gale Hall, Keene Hall, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Ward Hall, Warren Administration, Cornell Fine Arts Classroom building and this summer, Elizabeth Hall, McKean Hall, Beal/Maltie and Hauck Hall.

Demand Control Ventilation - all commercial facilities are required to provide through mechanical means the introduction of outside air (makeup air); this is because as we breathe we give off CO2 and the only way to provide a healthy environment is through dilution with outside air. This is typically done by introducing a fixed quantity of outside air based on the potential occupancy of the facility where in practice most facilities have far fewer people than their design potential. Demand Control Ventilation monitors CO2 levels and adjusts outside air based on an actual building load, there by saving air-conditioning costs associated with cooling and dehumidification of outside air. Building code requirements for fixed ventilation is 20 cubic feet of air per person per minute; therefore, this represents a very significant savings. We have utilized Demand Control Ventilation on all relevant projects starting with the Keene Hall and Cornell Fine Arts Museum projects.

Modernization of Inefficient Equipment - since the acquisition of Sutton Place Apartments in 2001 facilities has replaced all 88 of the air-conditioning units serving the building. The replacement of 20-year-old units with modern high-efficiency equipment was performed with in-house staff and strictly operational funding.

Variable Frequency Drives - commonly known as the VFD’s allow you to control the output of standard AC motors. This allows us to match the output of pumps, blowers, and in some case even chillers to the required need rather than running equipment at full speed whether or not needed. This proportionately reduces energy consumption.

Bush Solar Project - in 2007 we completed the installation of a 1600 W PV project on the roof to the Bush science Center. This project was intended to demonstrate the potential of PV in Central Florida as well as provide practical data on system output, while introducing our students to this technology.

Centralized Exterior Lighting Control - in order to provide a safe and accessible campus we have many hundreds of exterior lights. In the past some of them have been controlled by individual photocells, some by timers, and some by user controlled switches. In the last several years we have been in the process of converting to central control as part of our computerized building automation system. We now have approximately 60% of these lights controlled with the system allowing us to ensure that they are on when needed and off the rest of the time. You may from time to time observe some of these lights on during the day. This is done for servicing in order to avoid bringing personnel in after hours at overtime rates.


Recyclable carpet tiles - we are increasingly making use of carpet tiles instead of broad loom. This allows for less waste during installation, as well as replacement of individual tiles in the event of staining, thereby extending the useful life of the carpet.

Recyclable collection point - waste collection rooms on all floors provide students with a convenient means of recycling, as well as disposing of other items, all at one location.

Single Stream Recycling - sometimes known as co-mingled recycling allows for the disposal of all recyclables including cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, aluminum, and steel in a single receptacle. A waste processor, in our case waste management, through a series of mechanical means separates out the individual commodities. We are in the process of standardizing collection across campus. Our goal is to have trash and recycling containers side-by-side with consistent markings and instructions. We wish to make it easy to do the right thing in order to promote increased participation.


Service Vehicles - since the mid-90s through attrition and schedule replacement, we've converted all of our service carts from gas to electric.
Hybrid vehicles - administrators assigned to school vehicles now receive gas/hybrid vehicles.

Reduction in Number Vehicles - in spite of increased responsibilities, increase square footage served, and increase staffing levels we have actually reduced the number of cars and trucks in the department.



Refrigerant Management - as refrigerant based systems require maintenance or replacement, we remove all refrigerant and store it in containers for reuse. This practice prevents the emission of ozone depleting chemicals and saves the purchase price for new refrigerant which is rapidly increasing in cost.

Green Chemicals - we are integrating the use of environmentally friendly chemicals into our daily operations. We use citrus based cleaners for drain cleaning, air-conditioning coil cleaning and for grease removal on mechanical components. We are constantly on the lookout to integrate new environmentally sensitive products into our operations as soon as they are proven viable.