Green Living: How ACHS Reduces Our Carbon Footprint One Green Step at a Time

    Written by: Lauren Torchia /
    Feb 15, 2013 3:17:00 PM

    rain barrel

    By Erika Yigzaw and Lauren Shapiro

    Is online education greener than on-campus? No need to drive to school... but something has to power all those computers... we're not sure which would win out in a carbon footprint battle. What we do know is that it's the little things we all do every day that keep the world a greener place! 

    As part of our ongoing sustainability mission, we're always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental footprint. We're quite proud of what we've been able to accomplish so far and have assembled a list of Green Milestones which we hope will provide some new ideas to help you green your business, office, school, and house (to name a few), too:

    • We source 100% of our energy for the ACHS campus in Portland, Oregon, only from renewable sources within our area, like wind power
    • The ACHS Apothecary Shoppe College Store is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic
    • We renewed our pledge to the PGE Save More, Matter More campaign
    • We received the Gold Seal of Approval from Green America's Green Business Network, America’s oldest network of socially and environmentally responsible businesses
    • We joined the Portland Composts! program through the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, which allows us to compost food items and plant material from our botanical teaching garden and from the College staff kitchen!
    • We launched our Green Option for ACHS course materials to help eliminate waste - ACHS students can opt out of printed course materials and choose the eBook Green Option
    • We installed a rain barrel system in the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden to collect and harvest rain water (see photo taken this February in our winter garden)
    • We used an all-natural earth plaster (non-toxic clay) in our administrative offices rather than use standard drywall to extend existing walls; this process uses a natural clay that can even absorb toxins from other substances!

    Free eBook: Holiday Gifts

    And this green trend doesn't stop at the office door. Our faculty and staff take this stuff seriously:chickensonthelawn
    • CIO Erika Yigzaw runs her lavender farm following organic principles with low input, by producing compost on-site (she uses a tractor!) from rescued horses, a rescued alpaca, and a flock of chickens! She uses no irrigation and all natural pest control methods (those chickens again!).
    • President Dorene Petersen composts every scrap from her urban townhouse and has turned every inch of available outdoor space into a veritable urban jungle, becoming a Certified Backyard Sanctuary by the Audubon Society.
    • Google whiz Kate Harmon grows a huge vegetable garden organically, and shares her produce with staff and students at our juicing workshops!
    • Student Savior Heather Baley recycles glass and old cutlery into darling plant markers that she sells at farmers markets around Oregon, keeping plants under control and cutlery out of the landfill! 
    • Academic Wizard (Dean) Jared Schaalje has been spotted roller-blading to work!
    • Student Cheerleader Joel Strimling paddles and bikes his way around Oregon!

    Check back for more information about developing green initiatives from the American College of Healthcare Sciences!

    Are you a green machine? How do you reduce your environmental footprint? Be sure to leave a comment with your best green tips - help us ensure future generations are able to enjoy beautiful botanical herb gardens, too!

    Free eBook: Holiday Gifts

    Images © 2013 American College of Healthcare Sciences.

    Authored by Lauren Torchia

    Lauren Torchia is a writer, editor, and obsessive iPhotographer. She holds an MS in Writing from Portland State University and has more than 10 years’ experience writing and editing for commercial and creative enterprises. She currently serves as ACHS Dean of English and Communications Manager and is 200-hr yoga teacher certified from YoYoYogi in Portland, OR. Recent work has appeared in YOGANONYMOUS and Elephant Journal.

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