MIT Opens Energy Dashboard Data to Students, Faculty & Staff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has launched a new website that makes available detailed information about energy use and carbon emissions on campus. This resource is available to the institute’s students, faculty and staff, for education, research and decision-making purposes. The rollout of this central data dashboard, called Energize_MIT, helps the school meet the goals and commitments set out in its 2015 Plan for Action on Climate Change.
Sheridan College to Construct 500KW Solar Array
This summer the college will begin construction on a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic project that will provide shelter for approximately 260 parking spots. The project is estimated to generate about 700,000 kilowatt-hours per year and avoid producing 29 tons of emissions.
U Hong Kong Introduces Green Revolving Fund
(Hong Kong) The university's new Green Revolving Fund (GRF) supports improvement initiatives on campus with the aim of reducing carbon emissions. The fund will invest in energy-efficiency projects in university buildings, returning the utility and maintenance cost savings back to the fund for further projects. Initial funding of approximately $1 million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000) will be allocated this year in the GRF’s pilot phase. The seed capital will fund two lighting projects.
Nanyang Technological U Opens Sustainable Building
(Singapore) The university's new sports complex features LED lighting, solar powered systems, and a special cooling system that chills the air as it enters the hall so that no conventional air-conditioning systems are needed. The complex hosts three full-sized basketball courts or 13 badminton courts.
U California Connects Public to Research-Based Sustainability Solutions
The university is now hosting a new web portal called Sustainable California that broadcasts stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students. The new resource attempts to connect educators and the public to the science-based, real-world sustainability solutions.
Education Dept Announces '2017 Green Ribbon Schools' Recipients
Nine post-secondary institutions were among 63 honorees nationally to receive the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools award, an awards program that acknowledges a commitment to sustainable practices among schools, districts and institutions of higher education. Recipients of the award demonstrated leadership across three pillars: reduced environmental impact and costs, improved health and wellness, and effective environmental and sustainability education.
Pennsylvania State U Earns Top Honors at Collegiate Wind Competition
The Pennsylvania State University earned the top spot, followed by Kansas State University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in the collegiate competition involving university students designing and testing their small-scale models in a wind tunnel, as well as presenting their designs to industry professionals.
Santa Fe CC Wins '2017 Climate Leadership Award'
The American Association of Community Colleges and ecoAmerica’s Solution Generation program announced Santa Fe Community College was recognized for its commitment to addressing climate change as a component of the city’s 25-year Sustainability Plan. Also mentioned were the college's sustainability programs in 19 high schools and its outreach efforts with local tribes and rural communities. The college will be awarded $10,000 to continue its sustainability initiatives.
Central Carolina CC Receives $199K to Expand Sustainable Tech Curriculum
The community college has been awarded a $199,612 grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Small Grant program. The goal of the project, which includes recruitment from underrepresented populations, is to provide technician skills, competencies and hands-on experiences needed for employment in the fields of energy-efficiency verification and building performance analysis.
West Virginia State U to Sue Dow Chemical for Polluting Groundwater
The university announced in early May that it is pursuing litigation against Dow Chemical Company, among others, for contaminating the groundwater under the university’s campus. Though the pollution does not pose a direct threat to anyone on campus, the university says the company should be responsible for cleanup of the contaminants.
U Hong Kong Bans Disposable Plastic Water Bottles
(Hong Kong) Ditch Disposable, a university-wide waste reduction and awareness campaign, was launched in spring 2017 on behalf of World Water Day with the announcement of a new policy that seeks to eliminate on-campus sale and distribution of single-use water bottles of one liter or less in volume.
Minnesota Two-Year Schools Receive $1M for College Readiness Program
A 2016 report from Minnesota's Office of Higher Education found 26 percent of Minnesota high school graduates enrolled in at least one developmental course when they got to college. The new $1 million donation will create the Summer Scholars Academy, a program aimed at closing the opportunity gap in underserved communities by offering new students tutoring in math, reading, writing and study skills during the summer months before the fall semester. Officials hope improving college readiness will result in higher graduation rates for students of color.
Chemeketa CC Opens Press to Reduce Burden of Textbook Cost
The community college recently started a publishing peer-reviewed textbooks with original content authored by the college’s faculty in an effort to reduce the financial burden to students. In addition to savings, the Chemeketa Press supports collaboration and professional development across the university. The Chemeketa Press published 13 titles in 2016, with over 20 new titles planned to be released for fall 2017.
North Carolina State U Hosts Sponsored Apiary
Thanks to a public-private partnership, a new community apiary with seven honeybee hives was inaugurated for Earth Day 2017. The new apiary will create opportunities for pollinator-related education.
U California Merced Class Commissions Campus Building for LEED O+M Silver
The university's LEED Lab Engineering Service Learning class, in its fourth semester, has commissioned its first building on campus, which earned a silver LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating. The one-unit, LEED Lab class gives students from all majors the opportunity to assess the performance of existing campus facilities through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED O+M program.
Harvard U Takes Pause on Some Fossil Fuel Investments
Harvard Management Company’s head of natural resources Colin Butterfield said recently at a Business School event that Harvard is “pausing” investments in some fossil fuels. Butterfield added that Harvard indirectly invests in fossil fuels through outside funds, however he also said that Harvard's natural resources portfolio will not likely invest in the fossil fuel industry in the future because those funds do not perform that well financially.
Pennsylvania State U Names Chief Sustainability Officer
Paul Shrivastava, recent executive director of Future Earth, a global environmental change research program, and researcher in the fields of sustainability, risk and crisis management, has been named the university’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Penn State Sustainability Institute. Shrivastava received his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
U Vermont Receives $6M Donation for Environment Institute
A $6 million gift from the Gund family will create the university's first university-wide sustainability institute. Designed to catalyze interdisciplinary research at UVM, the Gund Institute for Environment will help address urgent global issues highlighted in the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.
Pennsylvania State U Begins Reforestation Project
To help reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, erosion and pollution of waterways, the university's Hershey campus will add almost 2,400 native trees across a 13-acre area that will be planted by community residents, school groups and other local volunteers.
Energy Dept Names Student Building-Design Competition Winners
The U.S. Department of Energy announced winners of its fourth annual Race to Zero Student Design Competition, a collegiate competition engaging university students to design high-performance homes that offset all or most of annual energy consumption with renewable energy. Four contests had first and second place finishers with the grand prize winners announced as Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. An aim of the competition is to advance building science curricula in university programs across the country.
US EPA Declares Winners of Green Power Challenge
The Big Ten beat 36 other athletic conferences to become the Conference Champion in the 2016-2017 College and University Green Power Challenge. Procuring nearly 246 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville was recognized as the top individual green power user in the challenge.
American U Building Receives LEED Silver
The university's new residence hall features nearly 5,000-square-feet of ground-level green roof and a 46 percent decrease in water use relative to standard buildings of similar size. A rooftop solar thermal system heats water and the entire building is powered with renewable energy. Over 90 percent of the building has a view of the outdoors.
Maharishi U Management Receives $10K Grant for New Trees
Thanks to a $10,000 grant from Alliant Energy, a local electric power distribution company, volunteers were able to plant 100 trees on campus. This is the third such grant from Alliant, bringing the total number of new trees planted in the past two years to approximately 240.
U Montreal Receives Fair Trade Campus Designation
The university recently earned the Fair Trade Campus designation by serving certified Fair Trade coffee at all locations where coffee is served and offering three certified Fair Trade tea choices and one chocolate option at every food service outlet.
Saint Michael's College Earns Bee Campus USA Certification
The college has become the 23rd educational institution in the nation to be certified under the Bee Campus USA program. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and bats.
Portland CC Helps Students Save $1M in Textbook Costs
In response to the skyrocketing cost of textbooks, the community college's staff, faculty and students came together to establish an open educational resources (OER) program that has reduced the cost of books, saving students $1 million since the program began in 2015. Open educational resources involve open textbooks, which are texts released under flexible copyright licenses, such as Creative Commons, that facilitate copying, printing and adapting at no cost. They are often written by scholars and published by grant-funded projects or universities.
U Maine System Announces ESG Investment Policy
Maine’s public universities celebrated Earth Day 2017 with an announcement of a change to their investment policy that gives consideration to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles when completing asset allocation and investment manager reviews. The system's managed investment pool's market value is currently $287 million. The universities also heralded the release of a report that details a 34 percent decline in total gross emissions across the seven-campus system over the last decade.
Dartmouth College Sets Goals for Low-Carbon Future
Dartmouth’s president has announced new principles, standards and commitments in the areas of energy, waste and materials, water, food, transportation, and landscape and ecology. Based on a report developed by the Sustainability Task Force, these commitments include a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations by 50 percent by 2025, and by 80 percent by 2050.
Pac-12 Releases Zero Waste Bowl Results
The Pac-12 Road Zero Waste Bowl provides a friendly and spirited platform for Pac-12 universities to engage on best practices in waste diversion and to learn how each campus strives toward zero waste goals. The winners of the Zero Waste Bowl for the 2016-17 basketball season, in order of rank, are the University of California, Berkeley, diversion rate of 94 percent; the University of Colorado, Boulder, diversion rate of 92 percent; and University of Arizona, with a diversion rate of 65 percent.
Chatham U Aims to Invest Endowment in Sustainable Energy
At a recent meeting of the university's investment committee of the board of trustees, members voted to approve two new investment opportunities that are specifically aimed at excluding fossil fuels and supporting sustainable energy. With those changes, 96 percent of its endowment will be fossil fuel-free. Currently, about five percent of the $80 million endowment fund is invested in fossil fuels.
Bard College Unveils Environmental Education Degree Program
Beginning fall 2018, the college's Center for Environmental Policy will host the new Master of Education degree program in environmental education, which aims to prepare educators to create an informed and engaged citizenry that will support progress toward a sustainable future.
Columbia U Releases First Sustainability Plan
The university's inaugural Sustainability Plan, released for Earth Day 2017, is its first formalized document bringing together sustainability efforts. It is the result of a 16-month focused collaboration with students, faculty, administrators and scientists working across departments to create a three-year, operations-focused roadmap to a more sustainable campus. The plan’s overarching goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent in the next three years through focusing on energy use and conservation, transportation and waste management.
Harvard U Awards Inaugural Campus Sustainability Innovative Fund Grants
The new fund supports projects that use the campus or the neighboring community as a test bed for envisioning and piloting innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. The projects align with one of the five topics in the university-wide Sustainability Plan: emissions and energy, campus operations, nature and ecosystems, health and well-being, and culture and learning.
U California Launches Climate Change Video Series
In a partnership with Vox, the university launched Climate Lab, a six-episode video series exploring global climate change and the university's work to mitigate its effects. Hosted by a conservation scientist and UCLA visiting researcher, the series showcases ways people can harness known and emerging technologies to address the complex problem of climate change. The first episode has been released, with five additional ones premiering over the next five weeks.
U Virginia Launches Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network
The University of Virginia, along with Brown University, Colorado College, Colorado State University, Dickinson College, Eastern Mennonite University, Marine Biological Laboratory and the University of New Hampshire, has launched the Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network, a group of higher education institutions that are measuring and attempting to reduce their output of reactive nitrogen. The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network is working with the University of New Hampshire Sustainability Institute to build the nitrogen footprint tool into the Campus Carbon Calculator.
U Virginia Dedicates 126KW Solar Array
Since mid-February, 324 panels on Clemons Library's roof have been producing what will amount to about 199,600 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This will account for about 15 percent of the library’s annual electricity usage.
North Carolina State U Coliseum Achieves LEED Silver
Following a 16-month renovation, the building now features a new energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system, exterior replacement windows that better insulate the building and save energy, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, native and adaptive species of outdoor plants that require little to no irrigation, and infrastructure for alternative transportation, including bike racks, pedestrian paths and a bus stop served by six different campus bus routes.
Cornell U Announces Bike-Share Program
Partnering with Zagster to launch an updated and expanded bike-share program, Big Red Bikes Bike Share, the new program features 32 cruiser bikes available at five locations around campus for riders to check out for on-demand, local trips.
SUNY ESF Becomes Pollinator-Friendly Campus
The Center for Food Safety recently congratulated the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry for agreeing to avoid the use of bee-toxic pesticides. This recognition comes from the BEE Protective Campaign, a program led by Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides, which aims to protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticides that have severe impacts on bee populations.
Ohio State U Student Uses Grant Funding to Give Away LED Bulbs
After hearing Dominic Frongillo, Student Summit keynote speaker at AASHE 2016 in Baltimore, speak about the impact that young people can have in their community, a third-year student used a $4,500 grant to begin the Light Up with LED program this semester. The Light Up with LED program allows students to bring in up to five non-LED light bulbs in exchange for five LED light bulbs.
Rutgers U Approves $74.5M for Energy Facility Upgrades
The school's Board of Governors approved a $74.5 million upgrade to the university’s cogeneration plants, one built in 1995 and the other in 1987, to generate more electricity while producing fewer emissions. Between the two facilities, six turbines will be replaced and a total of $5.86 million per year will be avoided.
Nottingham U Building Achieves BREEAM Outstanding & LEED Platinum Designations
(U.K.): The university's new GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry building, partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, features minimal energy use, utilization of natural ventilation, wind catchers, a water leak detection system and sustainable drainage systems to deliver energy and water reductions. A green roof featuring drought-tolerant native species is also installed. Excess energy generated by the building during its lifespan will offset all the carbon associated with its construction, allowing it to reach carbon-neutral status.
Louisiana State U Opens Sustainability Living Laboratory
The university's new BASF Sustainable Living Laboratory selects researchers to reside in the laboratory based on, in part, whether or not their research is designed to meet sustainable solutions as defined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the lab is to promote problem-based teaching and research focused on sustainable solutions that meet global challenges.
American U Grad Students Vote to Unionize
Graduate student workers at the university recently voted 212 to 40 in favor of forming a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union. Some 761 students were eligible to vote.
Energy Department Announces 2018 Collegiate Wind Competition Participants
The 12 collegiate teams selected to participate in the third Collegiate Wind Competition are California State University Maritime Academy; California State University, Chico; Iowa State University; James Madison University; Kansas State University; Northern Arizona University; The Pennsylvania State University, University Park; Seattle University; Texas Tech University; Universidad del Turabo (Puerto Rico); University of Wisconsin, Madison; and Virginia Tech University. This competition, led by the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, challenges undergraduate students to design and build a model wind turbine, develop a business plan to market the products, and test the turbines against a set of rigorous performance criteria.