Penn Business Services Announces Inaugural Green Purchasing Awards

The University of Pennsylvania’s inaugural Green Purchasing Awards presented by Penn’s Purchasing Services and Green Campus Partnership were announced at the annual Purchasing Services Supplier Show, Sept. 30.

The new award is designed to honor leading actions of an individual or team that significantly advance the development of sustainable purchasing practices at Penn.

Two Green Purchasing Awards were presented this year.

”At Penn, we work in a decentralized purchasing environment with daily buying decisions that are made at the department level,” said Mark Mills, executive director of Penn Purchasing Services. “Given this model, we find it important to recognize those individuals among our Schools and Centers who embrace sustainability in their purchasing choices.” 

The first award went to the team of Sarah Fisher, sustainability strategic planning associate in Facilities & Real Estate Services; Eric Weckel, executive director of space planning and operations in the Perelman School of Medicine; and Andrew Zarynow, energy planning engineer with FRES, for their “Bright Green Idea” that initiated an ultra low temperature, or ULT, -80 Freezer Rebate Program. 

Receiving an individual Green Purchasing Award was David Roush, director of information technology services operations for Penn Law. He was honored for recording the highest percentage of green office products purchased in the last fiscal year. 

Penn’s Purchasing Services and Green Campus Partnership offer green purchasing guidelines and training to assist staff, faculty and students in finding sustainable solutions to products and services.

Launched in June, the Freezer Rebate Program, part of a ULT Freezer Efficiency Program at Penn, works to incentivize labs on campus to replace electrically inefficient freezers with high-efficiency freezers, using grants from the Green Fund to offset the cost of freezer recycling, replacement and purchase. The new ULT freezers are approximately 75 percent more efficient than those that are over 6 years old, and older freezers realize even greater energy savings.

An energy audit of freezers done in December 2014 identified 900 ULT freezers in use on Penn’s campus, excluding those in labs in the hospital system. Of these, more than 100 were at least 15 years old.

In just the first four months, the Freezer Rebate Program has already received and approved 56 applications. That means big energy and cost savings.

Both projects align with Penn’s Climate Action Plan 2.0, the University’s comprehensive strategic roadmap for environmental sustainability that sets forth standards and goals for campus performance as part of the University’s collective commitment to reduce carbon emissions, engage the community and expand sustainability-related teaching and research. 

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