Sustainability at Reed

Reed Sustainability Practices

eliot image The following list is abridged version of the Updated 2008 Draft Report on Current Sustainability Status at Reed College. It should be considered a work in progress and not a final document. Please send comments, suggestions, or corrections to our webmaster.

Food Service
Bon Appétit, Reed's independent food service contractor, uses 80-90% local, sustainable produce when in season. About 30% of the food service's budget is spent on local foods, supporting local farmers and our local food shed. Chicken and turkey are antibiotic-free, eggs are cage-free, seafood purchases follow Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guidelines, ground beef is 100% chuck and meat purchases are from local producers when possible. The food service purchases biodegradable paper products and non-bleached napkins. Vegetable and meat trimmings are used for stock, and rice bran is used for cooking oil (which is more stable than common vegetable oils); cooking oil is recycled. All food waste is composted. Bon Appétit has an eye on the carbon impact of our food choices, and is looking to decrease their carbon footprint as a company. Read more about their sustainable practices.
Facilities Services
  • The office of sustainability is part of the facilities services department.
  • Responsible for project management, new construction, & tenant improvements.
  • Staff consider life cycle impact of building mechanical systems & continually review operational efficiencies.
  • Staff maintain over 60 buildings totaling one-million sqare feet, on a 116-acre urban campus.
Energy & Utilities Usage
  • Facilities maintains a database of comparative analysis of all utility use.
  • We consider lifetime efficiency in specifying building materials and mechanical systems.
  • Limit use of air conditioning to cool (78°/summer) and to heat (68°/winter) for energy savings in providing for building comfort.
  • Utilize central boiler plant and steam tunnel for efficient heat delivery and condensate return.
  • Optimize run times and schedules of mechanical equipment through a computerized energy management system.
  • Maintain mechanical equipment is on a regularly scheduled preventative maintenance program.
  • Specify Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) for new mechanical installations and replacement. VFDs increase efficiency and reduce motor load and operating costs; these are used for ETC and Cross Canyon water loops, and fan controls in chemistry, library, ETC and the Reactor Cooling Tower.
  • Conversion from pneumatics to all-digital controls.
  • Research energy effective procedures and equipment upgrades.
  • Treat boiler water with minimum chemistry and best recovery, de-aerate and maintain line conditions for optimum operation of central steam plant.
  • Specify low voltage lighting, ballasts replacement, utilization of motion detectors, time clocks, and light sensors for lighting control.
  • Low flow showerheads and low volume toilets used in retrofits and new building projects.
  • Use only low VOC paints.
  • Fire tube boilers use natural gas; have can burn oil for backup capacity when gas is curtailed.
  • When oil is burned, PS 300 is used in boilers instead of bunker “C.” – We are researching alternative fuels for back up.
  • Bio-diesel used in grounds equipment.
  • Synthetic oils used for vehicles, mowers, and tractors owned by facilities services.
  • Electricity
    • Portland General Electric (PGE) power is primarily hydroelectric provider. Reed currently pays the 3% public purpose surcharge on our electrical consumption. Estimated $20,000 additional tax dollars a year are contributed to renewables and system improvements. We have not adopted a policy of purchasing “green power.”
    • PGE provides Reed's electricity from the following fuel mix:
      49% Hyrdro 11% Gas
      34% Coal 
      4% nuclear
      22% Non-hydro renewables 
      0% oil
  • IPM - herbicides used sparingly, insecticides or fungicides rarely, if ever.
  • Native plants preferred.
  • Hardy plants utilized.
  • Lawn clippings mulched in place.
  • Tree leaves recycled on site.
  • Wood chips from pruning used for mulch in beds and for trails.
  • Percentage of diverse plant material acceptable in turf.
  • Use eco-lawn mixes that need less mowing and fertilizing.
  • Maxi-com Irrigation and weather station used for irrigation. The station records wind direction and speed, air temperature and evapo-transpiration, and calculates the previous days run times and adjusts them for current conditions. A rain gauge overrides the system and shuts it off if measurable precipitation occurs during a watering cycle.
  • Increasingly use drip irrigation.
  • Optimum mowing, watering and fertilization rates, and timing.
  • Fertilizers: mostly organic; when Reed does use synthetic fertilizers, purchase those with zero phosphorus blend to discourage aquatic weeds.
  • Widespread use of swales to treat run-off water; mapping and monitoring outfalls into the lake.
  • Contract out for Elm Leaf Beatle (Woodstock Bacillus Thuringensis).
  • Canyon restoration non-native removal/replant for water quality.
  • Canyon fish ladder is part of on-going restoration to protect water quality and improve fish habitat.
  • Sustainably-made ergonomic work stations and adjustable chairs.
  • Lifetime cost consideration.
  • Standardized brands and types, where possible.
  • Central purchasing agreements.
  • Facilities does not do a lot of fabrication in house. Most fabrications are required to match existing items.

Paper Products

  • Preference for recycled paper products in facilities (toilet paper, paper towels and office paper varies on price and availability).
  • True-cost printing charges.

Cleaning Products

  • Use least impact for acceptable use.
  • Minimize types of chemicals purchased.
  • General purpose, neutral based cleaners.
  • Minimal deodorants.
  • All floor finishing performed in-house, with the exception of sanding and refinishing hardwood floors.
  • Always specify the chemical and process to be used by vendors.
  • Prefer green products and practices where applicable.
Transportation & Parking
  • electric car imageSubsidy for tri-met bus passes.
  • Bicycle parking: 550 anchored, 150 covered and 53 freestanding racks, total 753.
  • Participation in the annual bike commute challenge, which promotes bike commuting to and from Reed.
  • Reward alternate transportation during high volume event days.
  • Provide preferred parking locations for carpools.
  • Limit the number of vehicles for use by college departments.
  • In lieu of cars or trucks, Reed staff use 10 electric vehicles.
  • Tractors run on biodiesel.
  • College-subsidized Zipcar on campus.
  • Meet or exceed all requirements for appropriate number of parking spaces on campus, as set forth by city planning office.
  • Provide parking at convenient locations, integrated with landscape and removed from main traffic corridor of surrounding streets.
  • No increase in parking spaces, except those included in purchase of the Birchwood Apartments and medical office properties.
Recycling & Waste Management

Reed recycles a variety of materials, including:

  • Bottles
  • Cans
  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Metal
  • Tires
  • Lumber
  • Yard debris
  • Lighting tubes
  • Ballasts
  • Computers & other electronic hardware
  • Phone books
  • Library books
  • Used photography solutions and other chemicals
  • Used oil
  • Lead-acid, NiCd, and other kinds of batteries
  • Food compost

Solid Waste Management & Recycling

  • Composting food waste from Bon Appétit.
  • Labeling updated to reflect recent changes in collection from Metro
    • Glass
    • Trash
    • Paper, plastic, tin and cardboard
  • Reed continues to exceed the recycling target rate of 50%.
  • Reed educates facilities staff and others on waste management procedures. We divert recyclables from the waste stream when possible, and provide education on recycling activities.
  • Facilities staff works with Residence Life and student organizations to involve students in waste/recycling issues through student employment and Greenboard.
  • Student workers and volunteers assist with canyon restoration efforts.

Hazardous Waste

  • Waste minimization policy and procedures in effect.
  • Radioactive waste sent to a licensed facility in Washington.
  • Washington state contract used along with other schools to dispose of hazardous waste.

residence hall image

Sustainability building practices
at Reed

The Grove residence halls were designed, like all our new construction, with sustainability in mind and received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) 'Silver' certification. Green features include landscaping that filters storm water runoff into a natural spring, and ventilation stacks that cool the buildings naturally, in addition to environmentally sensitive materials used for flooring, window glass, and roof tiles. Read more about the residence halls.