As many people say, “Our world’s future lies with its youth”, and as The Refinishing Touch team sees more and more colleges and universities investing in sustainable operations and environmentally-focused courses, we believe just that.
As a recent blog post by Diverse: Issues in High Education reveals, approximately 1,000 higher education institutions have made distinct commitments to campus-wide sustainable initiatives, including providing more environmentally-based curriculum for students looking to start careers in the sustainability field. However, as Paul Rowland, executive director for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) points out, we should not stop there. More than 3,000 additional schools around the country could start or increase their sustainable efforts.
Here at The Refinishing Touch one of the reasons we hear most often when working with colleges and universities on why they oppose going green is the misconception that environmental-friendly solutions are always more costly and incur longer investment paybacks. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to solutions such as energy conservation and dedicated campus gardens, which each have very short to zero life-cycle costs, schools must also consider alternative solutions when replacing common campus assets.
One asset that all universities have in mass quantity, but often overlook as a sustainable outlet, is furniture. The Refinishing Touch has been working with higher education institutions for over 35 years to refinish, remanufacture, and re-upholster existing, quality furniture assets back to like-new condition that on average saves them 80 percent in budget costs and 90 percent in released carbon emissions, when compared to buying new. By reusing furniture schools already own, which most commonly is only aesthetically worn and damaged, schools avoid sending pounds of wood to our already congested landfills.
As more colleges and universities commit to sustainable initiatives and curriculum, we hope that students, faculty, shareholders and industry influencers will continue to push for a different norm – one that embraces the notion that a green campus does not mean a red budget.