Sustainable Facilities Practices in the Memorial Union


  • Closing curtains during heat season and in summer sun angle.
  • Checking steam register settings more frequently.
  • Checking and reprogramming thermostats.
  • Converting to fluorescent lighting through operational budget rather than waiting for project to arrive.
  • Converting to low flow bathroom fixtures.
  • Touchless soap and towels with lower usage factors programmed in.
  • Using less floor finish and cycling floor maintenance.
  • Ensuring 95% on time completion rate for PM of HVAC.
  • Turning off steam to conserve energy during warm seasons.
  • Turning off cooling to preserve energy during cold seasons.
  • Finding and repairing steam and water leaks at onset rather than put off.



  • Using the building gently – less damage to repair.
  • Resisting the urge to upgrade or replace without trying first to maintain.
  • Identifying significant building features, planning wiring and plumbing intrusions to happen concurrently.
  • Save all wood trim and original doors from remodels to re-use.


Starting Conversations

  • With staff about how they can play a role in sustainability.
  • With students about their multiple roles:
    • Students live here.
    • Students work here.
    • Students advocate here.



  • Living within our means.
  • Buying less frequently and looking for lower cost purchase opportunities.
  • Purchasing workstation furniture that can work in more than one setting.
  • Converting to carpet squares and reducing installation waste by 14%.
  • Testing low VOC paints to replace current inventory.
  • Testing low VOC water-based floor finishes to replace oil based Ballroom finish.



  • Finding second and third homes for surplus furniture, fixtures and equipment.
  • Developing a workstation furniture vendor that can provide an inventory that can be stored and re-used after teardown.



  • Continually developing and re-developing recycling program.
  • Monitoring our waste stream and looking for opportunities to recycle.
  • Recycling not just plastic, aluminum, and paper but also styrofoam and cardboard.
  • Working with Food Service such as E-cafe, Pangea, and Javastop to develop food waste recycling.
  • 95% of all events that are catered are compostable.
  • Expanding program to include construction materials.
  • Avoiding unitized construction and staying compatible with original construction, which is less wasteful (plaster vs. drywall).


Changing strategies

  • Brought custodial program back in-house.
  • Eliminated night shift to lower energy and occupancy costs.
  • Started using “Green” custodial chemical line for MU buildings.
  • Re-invigorated building ownership among staff which re-started energy management efforts.
  • Tracking work history and examining results to better define opportunities.
  • Working with Business Manager to track spending history to better define progress.
  • Acknowledging progress!


PowerPoint Presentation

Sustainable Earth logo

All cleaning produce use in the OSU Memorial Union are non-toxic and sustainable.  Most come from Sustainable Earth, a company that focuses on "green" products.


Urban Wildlife logo

Here are some fun photographs of creatures we have found living around the OSU Memorial Union.  Our staff trys to do everything possible to let them live in peace.


photo of birds nesting in overflow drain

A nest of birds in one of the overflow drain off of the loading dock.


Image of Wasp Nest on the MU

During the summer of 2010 a group of wasps build a nest on the Memorial Union below the window of the 25+ Lounge.  Wasps nests are seasonal.  The nest will be left alone until the bees leave it at the end of the summer, then it will be removed.


Recycle Symbol

The Memorial Union makes every effort to repair and maintain our mechanical systems, but sometimes after 80 years, things just give out.


Sump Pump Image