Sustainability | Capital University, Columbus Ohio



  • Why Sustainability Matters

    Sustainability is about acknowledging and creating methods to address the local and global issues in measured steps. Capital is actively taking steps toward sustainability to further our growth in authentic contribution, and open our minds in order to challenge boundaries. 

    Capital University Sustainability Development Plan must start by gaining traction within our community to proceed on to future endeavors without compromising current needs. From energy saving to habitat creating, Capital is leading a sustainable lifestyle for our community by maintaining clean air, natural resources, and non-toxic environment.

    Tree CampusSustainability Projects

    In 2018, Capital University initiated sustainability projects based on the vision of creating a community that embraces biodiversity, clean air, natural resources and non-toxic environments. By taking the lead, our goal is to drive one of the most important transformations of higher education, greening our communities. 

    The Capital Gardens is a way to build community, promote sustainability, and support the university’s curricular, co-curricular, and community engagement programs. An important part of the university's sustainability initiative, the Capital Gardens provide opportunities for faculty, students, and staff to personally engage in urban farming.

    ​The plants within the Butterfly Garden are the types on which butterflies and caterpillars like to feed, live, and lay eggs. These are called host plants, and the best species are those native to our area.

    Native plants help to replenish habitats for species harmed by human development. Capital University has taken the Campus Pollinator Pledge to protect bees, bats, butterflies, and other pollinators on campus.

    The Ohio Department of Natural Resources identified 8 butterfly species as endangered in 2017. Butterfly gardens like ours seek to prevent the above species from going extinct.

    Pervious Pavement
    Pervious pavement provides a strong surface that allows water to filter down into the earth due to intentional gaps and voids in the pavement.

    ​Pervious pavement reduces the amount of stormwater runoff entering our waterways. Less runoff means less contamination in the water system. As surface water drains through the permeable pavement, the pavement filters pollutants and slows runoff, thus reducing downstream erosion and improving water quality.

    ​Because pervious pavement is self-draining, normal stormwater infrastructure costs (e.g., pipes, catch basins) can be reduced. This reduces expenses and allows land to be used for other purposes. Pervious pavement has a longer life than asphalt and concrete, thus reducing repaving expenses.

    Bat Houses 
    Capital University has added two Bat Houses onto our campus. Bats are the “night shift” pollinators in the pollinating world. They go after the nectar and bugs, spreading pollen as they swoop and dive. Even their poop, called guano, is magical by playing an important factor in the global ecosystem, and, in turn, the global economy.

    Guano is a rich source of fertilization, it also helps to distribute seeds, which is especially helpful in places where natural vegetation has suffered due to man’s interventions. When the bats eat fruit, the seeds are then spread later in the guano, which contributes to a strengthening of a natural and global ecosystem.

    ​Many bat species eat vast amounts of insects, including some of the most damaging agricultural pests. Mosquitoes are a particular favorite among bats, some of which are said to eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in one hour! 

    Prairie and Primmer 
    Given to Capital University through a generous donation in 2005, the Merl and Margaret Primmer Outdoor Learning Center was established to foster research and to promote creative learning opportunities consistent with Capital University’s educational goals for the students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends of the university. The center preserves the natural resources of the land in a manner that exemplifies principles of ecological restoration, biological conservation, and environmental sustainability. The 74-acre property has seven ecosystems, including 15 acres of wetland and an area of groundwater seeps that feed into three streams.

    At Capital University’s Primmer Outdoor Learning Center in Logan, OH (see region F on the map), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted in restoring a historic prairie with over 30 species of a custom pollinator mix in 2017. Since then, the seeds have taken root and Capital’s own prairie is flourishing!​

    COGO BikeCOGO Bikes
    Do you enjoy exercising, saving money, and the refreshing feeling of going green? If so, Capital is happy to introduce you to CoGo. It offers 24/7 self-service for short trips without the hassle of maintenance or storage. Bike sharing is a clean, affordable, and healthy option for getting around. The bikes are light with easily adjustable seating, active lighting, front mounted luggage carrier, fenders and puncture resistant tires making the bikes efficient and easy to use. Each time a member uses a bike, the first 30 minutes of first use are free, followed by incremental charges each half hour thereafter. Using the code: Cap!CO24, Capital University students and employees are able to get a $10 discount for an annual pass!  

    Schumacher Gallery
    Capital University started LED light retrofit program last year. The facilities office replaced over an estimated amount of 120 lightbulbs on campus building in one year. It brings an enormous long-term savings on electric bills. This year, Capital University continues the LED light retrofit program and this time we are replacing LED lights in Schumacher Gallery.

    Schumacher Gallery LED Lights

    Schumacher Gallery located at the fourth floor in the Blackmore Library. The Gallery opens to students, facilities and families every day. While we are looking at each beautiful painting, electric usage comes along with every light that we turn on in the Gallery. As one of Capital’s sustainability programs, facilities office replaced 277 light in the Gallery with LED lights last month. This project will help us reduce more than half electricity usage every day. It added up to an estimate amount of 21000kWh saving per year. Till now, Capital University has replaced almost 400 lights with LED light technology that helps the campus reduce foot print.

    Rain Garden
    A Rain Garden is another addition to Capital. Rain gardens help keep water clean by filtering stormwater runoff before it enters local waterways. They alleviate problems associated with flooding and drainage because they are designed to capture and filter stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces around the home, such as rooftops and driveways. They also provide habitat and food for wildlife including birds and butterflies while recharging the groundwater supply.

    EV Charging Station 
    We offer EV Charging Stations accommodations for electrical car owners on Capital University Main Campus. It provides the added benefit of the cost being lower than that of a public charging station. Capital University hopes that having incoming and current students, faculty, and community members utilizing the EV charging stations will encourage more people to use electric cars.​

    Edible Forest
    The Edible or Food Forest Garden is a self-sufficient woodland ecosystem based on the principles of permaculture. The food forest garden mimics a young forest and allows for areas where birds and insects can take up residence and contribute to the system. The garden is managed very lightly, thus creatures have the chance to thrive and not be disturbed by mowing and soil disruption. The food forest includes edible trees, shrubs, berries, and herbs in a natural forest-like environment. Some plants are also selected for medicinal properties or other uses such as beauty or building material.

    Upcoming Sustainability Projects

    Capital wishes to create a Bioswale to help reduce the burden of heavy rains on city sewer and drain systems by managing stormwater volume. Since bioswales send water in batches, which delays the flow and velocity of rainwater and allows the city sewer system to catch up. It also acts as a filter and cleans the runoff water. As rainwater runs across impervious surfaces, a number of contaminants are swept into the stormwater, which is discharged into nearby waterways.

    Bioswales reduction of fast-moving water volume helps stop stream bank and channel erosion. These reasons are why this type of green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to manage water volume by encouraging surface drainage.

    The Purple Pledge

    The Purple Pledge for all faculty, staff, alumni, and students to show their commitment to doing their part in living a sustainable life.

    I pledge to ...

    • Turn off lights when not needed
    • Enable power management on my electronics
    • Wash clothes in cold waterReplace light fixtures with CFL or energy efficient LED bulbs Plug electronics into power strips
    • Take stairs, not elevators whenever possible
    • Use blinds and shades more effectively
    • Defrost my freezer periodically
    • Set my thermostat to save on energy costs associated with running my air conditioning (recommended is 78 when you’re at home and 85 when you are away).
    • Air dry my clothes
    • Only run a dishwasher or washing machine when full
    Dispose of garbage responsibly/recycling
    • Make sure car oil, antifreeze, pet waste, and expired medications are properly disposed of
    • Recycle everything I can (aluminum, glass, plastic, paper, cardboard)
    • Reuse as many items as safely possible and then recycle or donate them at the end of their use
    • Limit my use of paper towels
    • Use my own thermos for hot drinks
    • Switch to paper-free billing
    • Remove myself from junk mail and catalog lists
    • Avoid printing and print double-sided when possible
    Shop Smart
    • Buy local when possible
    • Take reusable bags when shopping
    • Never leave a tap running when not in use
    • Report or repair leaking faucets
    • Shorten showers when possible
    • Drink tap water instead of bottled
    • Carry a reusable water bottle
    • Install low-flow shower heads and taps
    • Ride a bike or walk to work when possible
    • Use public transportation when possible
    • Carpool when possible
    • Use video conferencing rather than business trips when possible
    • Combine errands to reduce the need to travel
    Get Involved
    • I will volunteer for a local cleanup
    • I will keep my lawns and gardens pesticide free
    • I will find a cause and support itTop of Form
    • Plant and maintain a vegetable or herb garden.
    I pledge to do my best to follow the guidelines above to live a greener, more sustainable life!

    Helpful Articles & Resources