It's easy to be Green

Jul 1, 2009

Kettering University was recognized by Fox 66 TV in Flint for its many-layered Green initiatives, from incorporating Green technologies into the classroom to instituting reducing, recycling and re-using as part of regular business operations.

Fox 66 TV in Flint awarded Kettering University their “Green Business Award” for the month of July, Wednesday, July 1.  President Stan Liberty accepted the award recognizing Kettering’s green initiatives.

Kettering approaches “going green” in many ways, including, as a business, as a training ground for tomorrow's "green" leaders and as a good neighbor.

First, we teach our students -- and they teach us!  One way is the Kettering Industrial Ecology Team (KIET). KIET is a multidisciplinary group of researchers and industry professionals who study environmental issues in product design and manufacturing. Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, an associate professor of Industrial Engineering, serves as the principal investigator for the group. A course—IME-540: Environmentally Conscious Design and Manufacturing— assists students in learning how industry is changing in response to increased environmental problems. This effort has spurred an increasing amount of interest among students and faculty about how to better engineer products that consider the environment, and has generated movements to recycle on campus.

Second, our students teach others!  Students have developed the Green Engineering Organization (GEO,, which is a club on campus dedicated to increasing environmental awareness and conscientious leadership among the students, staff and faculty of Kettering University while implementing environmentally friendly practices on the campus and its surrounding area. The students meet regularly and are active in many events, such as a paper recycling program around campus and hosting guest speakers from industry to speak to the campus community.

Third, as a good "green" neighbor! Kettering University students are working with The Whiting in Flint's Cultural Center to develop ways to make the 2,043-seat theater greener and give it a smaller environmental footprint.  Dr.Doug Melton, associate professor of Electrical Engineering, and Kettering University students are developing new solid-state lighting electronic systems based on recent advances in high brightness LEDs.  See a story and photos on this endeavor at:

Fourth, as a business.  Here's a few samples:

  • Adopted LEED certification standards for new construction, including the Science and Technology Incubator on Bluff Street.
  • Recycling metal:Ketteringmaintenance people have bins to collect scrapped metal from around campus to take to recycling vendors.
  • Recycled purchases: Instead of purchasing new furniture, Physical Plant employees strive to reuse gently used furniture from around the campus and re-purpose the furniture.  Refurbished digital cameras were purchased for use for capturing campus/damage photos.
  • Reuse: Wood pallets are sent back to the suppliers.
  • Lighting: Some ceiling lighting atKetteringis wired on separate switches in order to manage the amount of lighting needed.  Some classrooms are equipped with motion sensors.  More classrooms will be changed over on a scheduled basis.

Fifth, our food service is striving to go green:

  • Recycle coffee grounds when they can
  • Have asked us to limit use of paper napkins and to "think green"
  • Lunch is served on glass plates and metal silverware

Additionally,Ketteringmakes an effort to reduce, recycle and re-use by: 

  • Recycling:
  • Office paper, deposit cans, batteries, compact fluorescent lights, tube fluorescent lights, carpet,
  • Bins are located by copies and in office areas
  • E-waste is recycled (computers, copiers, TV, cell phones)
  • H-waste is recycled (unused chemicals; compact and tube fluorescent lights)

Recycled Purchases:

  • Plastic garbage bags; paper towels; toilet paper; furnishings/fixtures; carpeting


  • Binders, file folders, shipping boxes, packing material, donate/sell used computers, donate/sell used office furnishings, Donate cell phones, use rechargeable batteries

Paper Reduction:

  • Send memos to employees by email
  • Copiers and printers set to print on both sides
  • Newsletters are e-news and are placed on the website or e-mailed

Computers and Copiers:

  • Computers and copiers have power strips, computers and monitors are turned off at night, computers and monitors are turned off on weekends, Energy saving features activated on computers and copiers, copiers are turned off at night and on weekends

Break Room:

  • No disposable plates, cups or utensils; bottled water not offered; real cutlery, plates and cups, washable towels and cloth napkins, most/all employees use refillable coffee mugs and water bottles and bring reusable lunch bags

Heating and Cooling:

  • Heat lowered during the day to 72 degrees
  • Heat lowered at night to 68 degrees
  • Heat lowered on weekends to 68 degrees
  • AC raised during day to 74 degrees
  • AC raised at night to 76 degrees
  • AC raised weekend to 76 degrees
  • Cooling season - blinds on sun-facing windows are closed
  • Programmable thermostats installed


  • Lights are kept off if daylight is adequate
  • Lights off in unoccupied office spaces
  • Lights off at nights (except safety lights)
  • Lights off on weekends (except safety lights)
  • Compact Fluorescent lighting


  • Faucet aerators

Building and Maintenance:

  • Low VOC paint
  • Lawn clippings left on grass for fertilizer
  • Non-petroleum based/green cleaning products
  • 1/2 calcium magnesium acetate used not salt de-icers
  • Energy audit has been conducted
  • Air fresheners are not used


  • Option to work full time in 4 rather than 5 days (UAW 1811)
  • Conference calls/Webinars utilized rather than out-of-town meetings