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Facilities Management

Facilities Management Building
411 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)

Siraj Khan
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Oakland University
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4401
(248) 370-2160

Facilities Management

Facilities Management Building
411 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)

Siraj Khan
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management
Oakland University
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4401
(248) 370-2160

man standing in a greenhouse, pointing at a plant, with a group of students watching him


Oakland University is dedicated to being a campus of choice and sustainability is a core part of this initiative. A key element of sustainability is recycling — we are excited to roll out the OU RECYCLES campaign. OU uses single-stream recycling, which streamlines the collection process on campus. The recycling effort at OU ensures items that enter the waste stream will eventually be used to make other products for sale and reduce the need to use additional natural resources.

In order to promote and facilitate recycling practices on campus, Facilities Management has partnered with University Communications and Marketing to develop new easy-to-read signage and informational material, to be displayed around campus. Signage will show the types of recyclable materials that will be accepted. 

Energy Management

Green Buildings and Sustainable Design

The Fall 2013 semester saw the opening of Oakland University's first green building project, the geothermal/solar thermal Human Health Science Building. The HHB is Oakland's first geothermal heat pump installation, and it includes an innovative desiccant cooling system powered by one of the largest solar thermal energy system in the U.S. The building uses a newer form of technology, Variable Refrigerant Flow heat pumps. These heat pumps use variable speed compressors and serve multiple refrigerant zones per unit. OU was awarded a $2.75M U.S. Department of Energy grant to help fund this innovative green building concept.

University Energy Usage and Cost

Take a look at the historical usage and cost of the west campus utilities over the past decade. About $380 is spent each year per Full Year Equivalent Student (FY2010 data). This equates to about 4% of a full time student's tuition (based on 15 credit hours for two semesters).

Heating and Cooling Policy

Policy 300 Air Conditioning and Heating explicitly states that non-OU personal electric heaters are prohibited on campus. Electric heaters cover up HVAC issues, create fire hazards and consume SIGNIFICANT amounts of electricity. However, an innovative, controlled heater will be provided in cases where your area's HVAC cannot provide the proper heating. Please contact the Work Control Center at ext 2381 to report a problem or request a heater, or submit an on-line request.

Campus Sustainability Efforts

Sustaining Our Planet Earth (SOPE)

Facilities and Grounds teams, including Director of Facility Services, Douglas LaLone and Assistant Director for Residential Facilities, Kevin McDougall, partnered with Sustaining Our Planet Earth (SOPE) and OU student Mustafa Baig, to put on a Campus Clean Up event!

SOPE is a University Housing led sustainability initiative seeking to make our campus community more sustainable, educate students and staff on sustainable practices, and enact sustainable plans and change for our University.

This Campus Clean Up event allowed for litter to be picked up around our campus, near our residential spaces, and the upper fields. Both students and staff joined SOPE in an effort to take responsibility for our campus, address the concern of improper trash disposal and to leave our university just as beautiful as we found it as we close out the school year.

It was a successful and enjoyable event for all involved and Facilities looks forward to partnering on future events!

Additional Campus Sustainability Efforts:

Student Organic Farm

Recycling news and information:

The Detroit Free Press published an interesting article about recycling mistakes.


10 Tips On How To Go Green At Home

What Does Going Green Mean?

Though everyone has their own “going green” definition, to us, going green simply means living in ways that are intentionally more eco-friendly. Even small changes can have a big impact, like shopping local, driving less, recycling, and planting local flora in your garden that promotes the local ecosystem. You don’t have to forego technology and go off the grid to reduce your impact on the environment. In fact, current trends in home technology can make going green easier than ever before.

What does it mean to go green? Your thermostat can monitor the weather and your habits to keep you comfy without wasting electricity. Your smartphone can connect you with your local recycling center or maybe a neighbor who can take that old chair off your hands so it doesn’t enter a landfill. You can go green and still live in the modern world.

Our 10 Favorite Tips to Go Green at Home: Simple to Involved

If you want to go green, start small! There are lots of ways to get started with green living without making any major life changes. We’ve arranged our favorite eco-friendly suggestions and easy tips to go green, from the simplest methods to more involved home projects.

Instead of trying to do everything at once, we recommend that you start with one tip and move to the next one when you’re ready. Any help matters when it comes to improving the environment.

Tip #1: Install a Power Strip in Your Home Office

With more people being able to work from home, these new home offices can sometimes come with an unexpected increase in electricity consumption. Even when you aren’t using your computers, printers, and other electronic devices, they are often still drawing power and running up your electricity bill. This concept is called “standby power” or “vampire energy” and it refers to electronics that suck energy even when they aren’t in use.

One of the easiest ways to go green when working from home is to eliminate this wasted energy by plugging your devices into a power strip that allows you to turn everything off with only one switch. When you’re done working for the day, just flip that switch and conserve energy.

For even more control, you can also invest in a smart power strip that allows you to turn off individual plugs directly from a smartphone app.

Tip #2: Wash Your Car at the Car Wash

Washing your car in the driveway can be fun (and give you a sense of satisfaction at a job well done), but it’s not very environmentally friendly. Believe it or not, it can be much greener to wash your car at a well-maintained car wash location.

These facilities catch, treat, and re-use soapy runoff internally to lower costs and conserve water. This reduces both the water used per wash and the amount of groundwater exposed to cleaning chemicals.

Tip #3: Keep a Mini-Garden on Your Desk

One of the easiest and most comforting ways to go green is to add plants to your workspace. Your office will feel brighter and more oxygen-rich with house plants filling the space. Indoor plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen, improving your home’s air quality without requiring an electric-powered filter.

If you're a natural gardener, you can keep an entire indoor greenhouse opposite your desk to make you smile when stress levels rise. If you don't have a green thumb, self-growing mini-kits are a handy way to enjoy a plant that can thrive on its own and add a bright spot to the corner of your desk.

Tip #4: Install Aerating Faucets and Showerheads

Adding aerators to your faucets and showerheads is one of the easiest ways to go green and reduce the amount of water you use. Aerators are made of screen layers that slow the flow of water, providing more coverage with lower water usage.

Aerators are a quick, low-cost, and eco-friendly update that will help you use less tap water to complete household tasks. It helps conserve available freshwater by giving the earth more time to filter rain into the reservoirs and lakes, and it helps reduce local water pollution.

Tip #5: Schedule a Donation Pickup

Recycling and donating household items can be easy ways to reduce your contribution to local landfills, but don’t start packing your car! Each trip to a recycling or donation center adds greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Instead, you can reduce the carbon footprint of travel by signing up for a pickup along with others on a route.

Whether you have a few boxes of old clothes to donate, a few totes filled with crushed cans, or light fixtures from a recent home renovation, there is likely a local organization that can schedule a pickup to take it off your hands. Many organizations will even arrange a contact-free curbside pickup for anything you want to recycle or donate.

Tip #6: Light Your Home with Sunshine

Using direct sunbeams to light your home is a time-tested method of lowering your electricity use. Not only is natural light soothing and free, but if used correctly, it can also help with temperature control.

To make the best use of your windows, try placing mirrors and pale, reflective surfaces in strategic locations throughout your home. This can bounce light into corners and interior spaces where direct sunlight might not reach. The more light you reflect, the brighter it will make your home.

Tip #7: Garden With and For Local Wildlife

If you have an outdoor garden or flower box, you can make a positive impact on the local wildlife by incorporating native plants. Plants that thrive in your region will enrich the natural soil in your garden without artificial and potentially harmful fertilizers or needing extra water. If you like seasonal blooms, you can plant flowering bushes that feed local pollinators like bees and hummingbirds which strengthens the local ecosystem.

A home garden is also the perfect way to reduce your kitchen waste. Start by composting your vegetable cuttings into rich soil. You can also feed your plants with the nutrient-rich water used to boil pasta and vegetables. (Just make sure to allow the water to cool before adding it to your garden!)

Tip #8: Improve Your HVAC Efficiency

Improving the energy efficiency of your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can play a significant role in your monthly electricity costs, and the efficiency of your home. For many homeowners, heating and cooling costs can account for up to half of your monthly energy consumption.

We recommend completing a series of small, yet essential tasks to make your HVAC more energy efficient and lower your energy bills and carbon footprint:

  • Seal your windows with caulk or weatherstripping
  • Replace the weatherstripping around exterior doors
  • Clean out and service your HVAC unit(s)
  • Change the air filters every 2-3 months
  • Add the correct amount of insulation to your attic
  • Replace broken and loose windows
  • Hang curtains in the summer and drapes in the winter

Tip #9: Upgrade to a Smart Home

Smart home technology can be futuristic and eco-friendly. For example, you can schedule your smart lights to turn on and off as needed, and some options even come with sensors that turn off on their own when they don’t detect anyone at home.

Smart thermostats can adapt to the rhythms of your home to create the most efficient temperature, while smart appliances use less power and resources by switching on and off at precise times. In general, smart devices are often more energy-efficient because they adopt the latest techniques in appliance design.

For more ideas on how to go green at home with smart gadgets, check out our list of Smart Home Energy Saving Devices That Save You Money.

Tip #10: Install Solar Panels

You can offset your household's power use by generating electricity from a solar power system on your roof. Solar panels make it possible to turn the natural energy from the sun into electricity for your home without creating greenhouse gases.

By generating electricity for your home using solar, you can offset the amount of electricity you pull from the grid, which is typically powered by fossil fuels. As a result, one of the biggest benefits of going green by going solar is that you can save money while you do good for the planet!

Source: https://palmetto.com/learning-center/blog/10-simple-tips-to-go-green-at-home

The Sustainability Task Force challenges every OU staff and faculty member to pick at least one sustainable World Environment Day practice to try this month. If you do, we’d love to see it! Send photos of your sustainable practice to fmhelp@oakland.edu.

Stormwater Management

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is the rainfall or snowmelt that flows over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings and either enters the storm drain system or runs directly into a lake or stream.

What is a storm drain?

Storm drains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and snowmelt and transport it through the system to nearby lakes and streams. Water and other debris that enter storm drains do not go to a treatment facility.

What is a sanitary sewer?

A sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. There, the water is treated and then discharged back to a lake or stream.

How does stormwater get polluted?

As stormwater flows over our lawns and driveways, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The storm drain system then transports these pollutants, now in the water, to local lakes and streams. Anything that goes into a storm drain eventually ends up in a lake or stream.

In Michigan, communities are coming together to address stormwater management on a watershed basis. In the Clinton River watershed, seven subwatershed planning groups have formed: Upper Clinton, Clinton Main, Stony/Paint, North Branch, Red Run, Clinton River East, and Lake St. Clair Direct Drainage.

Stormwater pollution has become the predominant source of water quality and habitat impairments in the Clinton River and its tributaries. Under Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), part of the Clean Water Act, more than 40 local and county governments and numerous other public entities across the watershed must meet federal and state standards for reducing stormwater pollution leaving their jurisdiction.

Each group has charted a course to fulfill the requirements of their stormwater permits by working together on a subwatershed basis, sharing data and information and creating joint planning documents.

Oakland University is located inside the Clinton Main subwatershed.

Additional information regarding Oakland University's Stormwater Management program can be found at the Office of Environmental Health and Safety website.