The new, fuel-efficient hybrid car that was added to the UAH motor pool is just one of many ways the university is reducing its carbon footprint.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has made great strides toward its goal of becoming a more environmentally friendly campus over the last few years, thanks to initiatives both student-led and institutional. And that trend looks set to continue with two new Facilities & Operations' projects intended to reduce the university's carbon footprint.

The first is the replacement of two outdated vehicles in the university's motor pool with a new hybrid car and a fuel-efficient SUV. Together, the pair is projected to save approximately 700 gallons of gas - and $2,000 in expenses - each year and reduce CO2 emissions by 13,000 lb.

"The new vehicles align more closely with our sustainability efforts," says Vanessa Ennis, Director of Energy Management and Plant Systems. "And they have several safety improvements, including a backup camera and 911 assist, that will make them more desirable to the faculty and staff authorized to drive them."

The second is a campus-wide switch to a coreless tissue system, which may sound negligible but actually adds up to huge savings. Unlike traditional bathroom paper products that rely on cardboard rolls, coreless tissue reduces packing waste by 95%, cuts storage requirements, and ensures complete roll usage, resulting in a total waste decrease of 11,900 lb.

"I'm retiring this April after 23 years with UAH, and I wanted my final project to have a very positive impact," says Ravi Seth, Director of Custodial Services. "I think helping the university reduce waste - and ultimately its environmental footprint - is a worthy cause."

The concomitant savings of these efforts will, of course, only add to the already impressive strides that Facilities & Operations has made since it added two electricity-powered heat machines/chillers to provide hot water to the campus. Their installation in May 2013 has resulted in savings totals of more than 5.2 million gallons of water and 350,000 therms of natural gas.

"Sometimes the smallest changes can have the biggest impact over time," says Haley Hix, UAH's Sustainability Coordinator. "UAH has enjoyed a total energy savings of $1.2 million over the past five years thanks to our enthusiastic Facilities staff, and that number is sure to grow with these two latest projects. Every little bit counts!"