College Sustainability News, Part 2
There was so much progress over the summer that I needed two posts to capture all of the neat projects being undertaken on college campuses.
Berkshire CC Kicks Off Energy Monitoring and Management Program
Berkshire Community College (MA) is part of a $55 million pilot project to monitor and better manage energy use in state buildings. Funded by federal stimulus money, the Department of Energy Resources and energy management company EnerNOC, will install energy meters, computer systems and web-based monitoring programs in 33 state-owned sites, including colleges. Berkshire will monitor electricity and natural gas use with the installation of 20 meters this fall. The monitors will reveal spot energy spikes and excessive use, providing building managers with specific data to reduce energy use. The information can also be accessed by college staff and students.
U California Riverside Students Vote for Green Tax
Students at the University of California, Riverside have passed a green fee referendum. After campaigning in favor of the green tax, students will now pay $2.50 per quarter for four years. Part of the proceeds will go toward the installation of solar panels to boost renewable energy on campus. The university plans to install solar panels atop the student union structure in the next few years.
U Mississippi Uses Biodiesel for Lawnmowers
The University of Mississippi has started using 20 percent biodiesel fuel to operate all campus mowers. The biodiesel fuel is made by research technicians at the University of Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute, who say that the new practice should cut campus lawnmower pollution by as much as 50 percent. Seven industrial lawnmowers use biodiesel and the landscaping crew is also experimenting with biodiesel in small engine machinery.
Butte College Has Grid Positive Plans for May 2011
With the upcoming addition of 15,000 solar photovoltaic panels, Butte College (CA) is on track to becoming grid positive, producing more clean energy from sustainable on-site solar power than it uses. The college’s Board of Trustees recently approved the installation, which will add to its existing 10,000 solar panels for a system total of 4.5 solar megawatts. The $17 million project, funded in part by federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, is slated for a May 2011 completion.
U Oregon Unveils New Chiller Plant
The University of Oregon has upgraded its cooling system with a new, $37 million chiller plant. Using groups of chillers and cooling towers that pump water through underground pipes to the campus’ more than 60 buildings, the plant is expected to cut energy consumption for cooling the university’s buildings in half.
U Maryland Increases Recycling With ‘Can the Can’ Initiative
Within the debut month of its Can the Can program, the recycling rate at the University of Maryland’s main administration building rose from 49 to 71 percent. The initiative, which began in June, encourages recycling by making it harder to throw things away. Facilities management replaced the garbage cans in every office with desktop bins the size of coffee cans with the words “This is all the garbage I make” printed on the side. The size of the trash cans make it inconvenient to throw out recyclable cans or bottles.
Harvard U Grad School of Education Hall Receives LEED Platinum
Harvard University’s (MA) Larsen Hall has received LEED for Commercial Interiors Platinum certification. The renovation of the Graduate School of Education’s 7,006-square-foot classroom building includes occupancy sensors to vary temperature within the space, a heat recovery unit to increase energy efficiency and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Ecological friendly materials were used during construction.
U Arizona to Receive 1.6 MW Solar Power System
The University of Arizona will feature a 1.6-megawatt solar power system as Arizona electric utility Tuscan Electric Power installs 5,508 solar panels at the university’s solar development center. The center occupies 200 acres and serves as a test bed for new technologies and solar-energy projects. The energy will be used to supply participants in a solar program, which allows rate payers to buy solar power in 150-kilowatt blocks.
U Delaware to Install 2K Panel Solar Array
The University of Delaware has announced that it will receive a 2,000-panel solar array to be installed over three buildings throughout the main campus. The 850-kilowatt solar electric system will be funded in part by the university’s 2009 senior class gift, which was earmarked for solar initiatives on campus. The installation is a joint venture of Standard Solar, Inc. and renewable energy financier Perpetual Energy Systems LLC. The university expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 2 million pounds a year.
U Maryland Develops Bio-Filtration System
The University of Maryland has developed a bio-filtration system to reduce urban runoff pollution in the Anacostia watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. University researchers have re-engineered rain gardens to improve the removal of phosphorous, nitrogen and other prime urban pollutants from runoff. With a $600,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Prince George’s County Government, researchers will conduct a three-part demonstration project near parking lots on campus.
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