Winning sporting events isn’t the only victory the University’s Athletic Department is working towards.

On June 14th, the athletic department developed a new webpage to lay out the specific goals of the program and to further their efforts towards sustainability in their strategic initiative entitled “Think Planet Blue and Engage in Sustainable Practices.”

Since fall 2012, the University Athletics sustainability committee — led by Rob Rademacher, associate athletic director of facilities, and Facilities Manager Paul Dunlop — has worked to promote sustainable practices in the athletics department.

Rademacher said the website serves to inform not only the University community but also members of the Athletic Department.

“We realize that we’re in the business of education,” Rademacher said. “The website is kind of a way to do that, to educate not only our team members and athletic staff members but also the general public that may come to our website for athletics, but there’s a sustainability piece here that reflects the whole overall University mission.”

Dunlop said in a press release that the committee has been working “diligently” to develop a plan to improve recycling, waste reduction, energy efficiency, sustainable land management and the environmental impact of athletics facilities.

“We recognize there is a lot more work to do and look forward to contributing to the overall campus goals for sustainability,” Dunlop said in the release.

The committee has been working in partnership with the University’s Office of Campus Sustainability and the Michigan Student-Athletes for Sustainability in developing a strategy to reduce the University’s environmental impact.

The committee has focused specifically on improving four main areas: waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and sustainable building infrastructure, chemical usage and sustainable cleaning practices and education and awareness.

According to the website, 40.8 percent of the one million pounds of total waste produced at University athletic complexes was sent to recycling facilities instead of landfills during the 2012 fiscal year. The committee hopes to increase this to 45 percent for the 2013 fiscal year, and more than 50 percent for the 2014 fiscal year.

The University plans to introduce composting with concession partner Sodexo at Michigan Stadium as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce waste and promote recycling, the website stated.

The committee also has plans to renovate Michigan Stadium to make it more energy efficient. The renovation includes constructing air-handling units that allow heating and cooling in specific areas, developing tempered water to minimize hot water use and automatic sensors in bathrooms to control water flow, among other additions.

Rademacher said renovating the athletics facilities is one of the biggest projects the committee has for the upcoming year. In addition to Michigan Stadium, the
committee plans to make sustainable renovations to Schembechler Hall, the William Davidson Center, the Crisler Center, the soccer stadium, the Weisfeld Family Golf Center and Yost Ice Arena.

Rademacher added that the committee wanted to ensure that each goal was measurable and the committee will interact with other sustainability groups on campus to make sure they have the right information.

He said the department needed to “organize themselves” to create a strategic sustainability plan.

In the past year, Rademacher said the committee worked on organizing themselves and developing a plan and will implement it this year.

“Now we got to put it into action, and that’s where we will really be tested,” he said. “You have to put it into action to make it meaningful.”

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