The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska's premier metropolitan university offering nationally recognized bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.
In an effort to simultaneously increase our educational quality and enrollment, five academic areas have been designated as key campus priorities to spearhead our goal to reach 20,000 students by 2020, also known as the "20/20" milestone:
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
- Early Childhood/Child Welfare
- Global Engagement
- Doctoral/Graduate Research
Throughout the semester, we will spotlight the efforts of UNO faculty, staff and students to advance these priority areas.
Spotlight: Sustainability at UNO
As a key campus priority, UNO is dedicated to using campus resources to create a sustainable university. Sustainability is the careful and efficient stewardship of resources by businesses, communities, and citizens. It is the practice of meeting our needs in ways that are respectful of future generations and restorative of natural, cultural and financial assets. Sustainable management is a whole systems approach to achieving superior performance in delivering desired outcomes to all stakeholders by business, government, and civil society.
Several campus initiatives focus on sustainability:
- UNO built its first LEED Certified building - Mammel Hall - in 2010.
- In addition, UNO is part of the the ZNETH project, a collaborative research effort between the College of Architecture, the College of Engineering, the Peter Kiewit Institute, the U.S. Green Building (Flatwater Chapter) and the Green Omaha Coalition. Several sustainable systems are in place which will allow the ZNETH project to produce more energy than it consumes. Click here for more details.
- By order of the President of the Nebraska University System, all new contruction and renovations must be up to LEED Standards. Read the Sustainable Design Policy here.
- Much of the interior of the Arts and Sciences Hall (ASH), hidden by previous building renovations, was revealed and refinished during recent renovation.
- Facilities now uses paints and finishings that are low in toxicity.
- Whenever possible, furniture, casework, etc. is refurbished rather than replaced.
- Energy conservation efforts in new construction are being undertaken largely to new building standards. More enegry efficent lights are used, as well as more effective HVAC systems.
- When selecting new floor coverings and interior furnishings, FMP endeavors to use materials which have a lower impact on the environment—both in the larger sense and the indoor one its new occupants will share.
- The University of Nebraska System now requires that new buildings be built to at least LEED standards.
- Facilities Management maximizes natural cooling (fresh air) as much as possible. More energy efficent HVAC systems are being used as well.
- During Summer, buildings are sub-cooled in order to reduce peak electricity (chiller) use. This is in accordance with the building temperature policy.
- Variable frequency drive motors are being installed where practical and as funding allows.
- We are in the process of renovating the lab hood controls at the Durham Science Center to improve energy consumption. This will have a major impact on energy use in this building.
- Lighting retrofits are being done throughout campus as funding allows.
- Occupancy sensors are in use in the following buildings: Peter Kiewit Institute, Criss Library, College of Public Affairs and Community Services, Health, Physical Education & Recreation, Mammel Hall and the Welcome Center, reducing lighting loads when not needed. These devices will continue to be included where practical in new construction and major renovation projects
- Energy use is constantly monitored by Maintenance and Operations Services, to ensure proper and efficient operation.
- UNO is going through the process of formal building energy audits to determine the greatest needs for enegry improvement.
- The IS department is working to conserve energy through the use of power saving techniques and more efficient servers.
- Fescue and Buffalo Grass have replaced Bluegrass as the turfgrass of choice.
- Ornamental grasses, rockscapes and perennial plantings have replaced turfgrass in many places on our campus locations.
- Corn-derived deicer has replaced salt for use on circulation roads in winter.
- Tree branches and yard waste are collected and delivered to Terry Hughes Tree Service, mulched, then returned to UNO for landscape use.
- New construction projects include landscape plans designed to best serve the areas affected, and are given consideration for aesthetics, impact on buildings, maintenance, storm water run-off, costs and other considerations.
- UNO is seeking to become a member of Tree Campus USA, an organization dedicated to helping campuses with tree management.
- Every year UNO celebrates Arbor Day by planting trees.
UNO is committed to the use and purchase of environmentally and socially responsible materials and products. Click here for more information.
In the fall of 2008, UNO implemented a single-stream recycling program. A single – stream program allows all recyclable products to be placed in one disposable bin. Since is no sorting required by the user, the program extremely user friendly. This practice is beneficial for the environment, and the university's wallet by saving thousands of dollars which would have been paid in landfill dumping fees.
- Information Services (IS) has begun to virtualize servers. Virtualization allows the number of physical servers dramatically reduced for large power savings.
- IS has a hardware recycling program that has been in existence for more than two years.
- IS attempts to purchase green, and has a created "Power Saving Guidelines" that helps minimize the energy output from computers.
- IS just created a series of Green Techonology Guidelines. These guidelines, which are endorsed by the Chancellor, reduces energy consumption, cuts down on costs and helps UNO become more sustainable.
- Zipcar was introduced to the campus community in the Fall 2013 Semester. Learn more.
- Students can rent bicycles from the on-campus B-cycle stand, located centrally near the Milo Bail Student Center. Learn more.
- The MavRide program was extended to the Fall 2013 Semester, and expanded to make bus passes to and from campus available to hundreds of students.
- Shuttle buses have been provided to commute people between and across campus locations and overflow parking. This service has greatly reduced waiting time (often with cars running) for parking spaces.
- The GreenUNO Task Force recently formed a transit committee to examine alternatives to single occupant vehicle travel to, from and around campus
- Landscape Services has recently purchased vehicles more appropriately sized for campus. This allows them better campus access, while reducing the size of vehicles used to that appropriate for the task.
- UNO's Master Plan, being redeveloped as part of a regular schedule, is being revised to include bike and pedestrian routes beyond what are available today.
For more information about sustainability at UNO, visit the UNO Sustainability Committee page.