large campus tree
Cathy Brim

Operation Sustainability

October was Campus Sustainability Month, but Georgia Tech is committed year-round to sustainable campus operations. Departments within Infrastructure and Sustainability such as landscape services, custodial services, recycling, and fleet management continually strive to innovate and incorporate sustainable products and practices.

Landscape Electrifies

Landscape Services is actively shifting from gasoline-powered equipment to electric. Electrify GT, a student organization, has been the inspiration behind the change to quieter, lighter, and lower carbon emission landscaping tools. The department has recently acquired electric leaf blowers, pruning saws, hedge shears, stick edgers, string trimmers, and chainsaws. Allowing for supply chain schedules, eight electric utility vehicles and two electric riding mowers are planned for 2023. Integrating and scaling the use of this new equipment demonstrates a commitment by Georgia Tech to employee wellbeing, responsible environmental stewardship, and sustainable campus management.

Groundskeeper Lionel Barrett says, “One of the reasons that I like using the electric blower is that it is much lighter than the gas units causing less operator fatigue. It is also much quieter, making it more enjoyable to use.”

lionel barrett
Groundskeeper Lionel Barrett displays one of ten new electric leaf blowers.


man carrying electric leaf blower
Barrett easily handles the lighter weight equipment.


man using a stick edger
Barrett uses an electric stick edger to maintain the grass along sidewalks.


man using a electric shear
Jose Sanchez, equipment mechanic I, trims a hedge using an electric shear near the O'Keefe Building.


display of electric groundskeeping equipment
The new electric maintenance equipment used by Georgia Tech's landscape management department.


Green Cleaning

Practitioners of green cleaning since 2003, Georgia Tech custodial services employees maintain a safe and healthy campus environment using a color-coded program of microfiber cloths partnered with cleaning solutions created through the process of ionization. Ionization, or electrochemical activation, uses an electrical charge to energize a mixture of tap water and natural minerals to create powerful cleaners, degreasers, and sanitizers. These EPA-registered solutions protect the health of building occupants, custodial staff, and the environment.

Georgia Tech’s custodial services are Cleaning Industry Management Standard-Green Building certified with honors from the International Sanitary Supply Association demonstrating the custodial operation delivers consistent, quality service. The program is also Green Seal-certified indicating the service is independently verified to meet the highest health standards.

man cleaning glass door
Blue microfiber cloths paired with an all-purpose cleaner are used on glass, chrome, stainless steel, and whiteboards.
woman cleaning water fountain area
Custodians Jeffrey Belle (left) and Angel Dodson are members of the building services team that maintains the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons


man cleaning carpet with degreaser spray bottle
Heavy-duty degreasers are paired with disposable cloths for carpet cleaning. Pictured is David Wall, zone 2 custodial lead.


green cloth and spray bottle
Green microfiber cloths and tabletop mops pair with a disinfectant for cleaning tables and desks.
pink cloth used in restroom cleaning by custodian
Disinfectant and red microfiber cloths are used in restrooms. The color-coded program allows for ease of use and prevents cross-contamination. Pictured is Eddie Young, zone 1 custodial lead.
custodian preparing cleaning solutions
Each custodial zone has an electrochemical activation machine on-site which modifies the properties of tap water and natural minerals into powerful, yet nontoxic and biodegradable cleaners, sanitizers, and degreasers. Custodial spray bottles are refilled and reused from this central location.



The Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling has implemented a Recycling Ambassador program during home football games. Volunteers monitor recycling bins throughout Bobby Dodd Stadium, educating fans about the correct disposal of waste and recyclables. This sustainability initiative provides a cleaner waste stream to the campus vendor and increases rebate revenue.

Eva Reiling, undergraduate student and volunteer, says “as an undergraduate, sustainability is always something I have been interested in, but felt like I could never have an impact as a student. Now, working with the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling, I realize that sustainability measures are about the little actions each one of us can take to have a positive environmental impact.” 

woman holding a brochure by a recycling bin
Skye Owens, campus recycling specialist I, assists fans during the Oct. 20 night game vs. University of Virginia.


man and woman stand near recycling bin
Cordell Robinson, campus recycling specialist II, and Eva Reiling, undergraduate student, collaborate as recycling ambassadors.


lady with hat standing near recycling bin
Shana Dixon, custodian I, serves as a recycling ambassador during the Sept. 17 football game. 


Fleet Management

One hundred sixty golf carts on campus are 100% electric. A variety of models are used for different campus departments with the entire fleet maintained by Fleet Management.

Fleet Management offers a vehicle rental program to the campus community. By providing this service, vehicles that would normally go unused are available to faculty, staff, and students.

line of electric golf carts, all different styles
Fleet Management maintains a variety of electric carts.
close up of fleet of golf carts
Fleet Management is a department within the Infrastructure and Sustainability unit.


Writing and photos by Cathy Brim