I-House Green Initiatives
In honor of Earth Day April 22, International House is pleased to highlight some of the recent green initiatives undertaken by our dedicated Facilities team that support our long-term goals for sustainability, both as a residential facility and as an institution.
• Cleaner air: In addition to running a top-notch air quality program across the facilities, I-House instituted a painting program with a mandate that all paints used in I-House projects and facilities maintenance be exclusively low VOC products, leading to a healthier environment and reduced carbon emissions.
• Bright, efficient lights: Pictured below are some results of an 18-month-long program to retrofit the lighting fixtures across the common areas of the House that can utilize more efficient LED lighting. In addition to more brightly lit spaces, the new lighting helps to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
• Recycling: With the assistance of an I-House Resident Fellow specializing in the field, we developed several Green initiatives to reduce our overall energy use. These included implementing a recycling program, developing a food scrap recycling program in conjunction with the Dining Facilities, and laying the groundwork for an I-House garden concept.
• Conservation: We developed a water and plastic conservation program by installing water saving, purifying water fountains throughout I-House. As a result, we have saved over 65,000 plastic water bottles that otherwise would have been sent to landfills.
• Composting: We partnered with NYC Sanitation on a food scrap pick up program. At its height, the program diverted 300 pounds a day of dining hall scraps from going to a landfill, and instead, to a city-wide composting facility to serve NYC Parks and Gardens.
Plans for the future include a rooftop garden to grow fresh produce for our onsite dining services. In addition to lowering the costs of providing fresh, nutritious food for residents, this initiative would reduce the amount of truck deliveries, and by extension, the overall carbon footprint of our dining operations. In the meantime, we will be adding green beautification plantings around the property to contribute to carbon offsetting. We will also continue to evaluate energy production options for solar and wind opportunities to help I-House become more sustainable, as we inch closer to the long-term goal of achieving net-zero operations.