Sustainability Spotlight: Going Green gets physical

This “spotlight” article continues a weekly column from Loras College Peace & Justice. Each issue will feature a new in-depth story about an individual, organization or program at Loras making conscious efforts to be more sustainable. Think you know someone who should be recognized for his/her efforts? Contact Kalli Miner (

Going green “gets physical” at Loras this week as we shine the Sustainability Spotlight on John McDermott and the Physical Plant team. McDermott is the assistant vice president of physical maintenance, a job that has given him a green perspective that is uniquely his own.

McDermott’s inside look at Loras developments have allowed him to watch and participate in the “green” renovations of many buildings on campus.

“The water-bottle fillers in Graber have been a big hit,” said McDermott. “We’re looking to put them in more buildings in the future.”

The sensor lights in Graber also has contributed to Loras’ sustainable status. Sensor lights are lights that either shut off when enough sunlight is detected or are motion-sensored; they turn on and off as people enter and exit rooms. Those same lights are installed in both the library and Fieldhouse as well.

Multiple buildings on campus, namely the ACC, AWC and ARC also ARE geothermal. In fact, the AWC is so energy-efficient that it won a monetary award from Alliant Energy company.

McDermott further added that many of the materials that have been disposed of during the renovation of the cafeteria were kept and/or recycled elsewhere around campus. The materials that were not kept were sent to other facilities to be recycled. Even more interesting is the fact that the new carpet put in is made of recycled plastic.

So it is clear that when it comes to the Physical Plant employees, like McDermott, we have a bit of a green dream team on our hands.

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