AASHE Announces Sustainability Award Finalists
The AASHE Sustainability Awards recognize sustainability achievements, research advancements and student leadership. This year, there were 35 finalists chosen across 10 categories. Entries were judged on overall impact, innovation and other criteria specific to each category. Winners will be announced during a special ceremony on Oct. 15 at the 2017 AASHE Conference & Expo.
Mount Royal U & Simon Fraser U Designated as Changemaker Campuses
Ashoka U recognized the institutions for having embedded social innovation as a core value. Along with the Colombian Institute of Administration, a business school in Colombia, they join a network of 40 institutions across eight countries. MRU and SFU are the first Ashoka U Changemaker Campuses in Alberta and British Columbia, respectively.
Oakton CC Installs 25KW Solar Array
The roof-mounted photovoltaic system on the college's Skokie campus consists of approximately 80 solar panels. The Skokie campus is also home to a test system that is accessible for enrolled students and provides them with hands-on experience working with solar panels.
U Northampton Opens Biomass Energy Facility
(U.K.) The 6.5 million British pound ($8.4 million) facility uses woodchip biomass and gas to provide hot water and heating to buildings around the university's Waterside campus via a 1.6-kilometer district heating network.
U College London Pilots Paper Cup Recycling
(U.K.) The two month pilot is intended to determine the viability of rolling out a permanent paper cup recycling service. During the pilot, paper cups, including those used for coffee and soft drinks, will be collected separately and taken to a mill where the polymer plastic liner will be separated so all the paper fiber can be recovered and recycled.
Monroe CC Installs Green Roofs
The 22,000 square feet of newly installed green roof on the college's Downtown Campus is capable of capturing 13,000 gallons of rainwater during a single rain event. It will also decrease the urban heat island effect and reduce electricity usage needed to cool and heat the campus.
Eastern Kentucky U Creates Scholarship With Solar Savings
The Photons for the Future scholarship program uses the monetary savings generated by 25 solar panels on campus to provide $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in scientific fields. A donation helped pay for the solar panels and provide scholarship seed funding.
Santa Fe CC Receives $351K for Building Energy Automation & Microgrid Training Center
Awarded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the funding will support the purchase of critical equipment for the Building Energy Automation and Microgrid Training Center, which provides specialized hands-on training in the fields of building automation and microgrid energy distribution systems. The college is leveraging an additional $326,000 in state appropriations and $111,661 in donated equipment and engineering expertise from industry partners to support the project.
Queen's University Receives $11M for Renewable Energy Research
(Ireland) The $10.9 million (9.3 million euros) funding will be used to create a "virtual center of competence" to support research into bio-energy and marine-based renewable energy sources. Working with a number of cross-border partners including the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University, and University of Highlands and Islands, the center will research wave and tidal power, ocean power, and energy produced through anaerobic digestion of food waste.
Australian Catholic U Raises AU$200M Through Sale of Sustainability Bonds
(Australia) The university has secured 200 million Australian dollars ($158.5 million) in investor funds earmarked for projects that deliver positive social and environmental outcomes. The funds will go toward teaching and research in areas including education and healthcare and green property projects that are in alignment with the International Capital Market Association’s Sustainability Bond Guidelines. The ACU Sustainability Bonds are the first sustainability bonds issued in Australia.
U Illinois Chicago Receives $450K to Help Chemistry Teachers Tackle Heavy Metals
UIC has received a nearly $450,000 National Science Foundation grant that will help high school chemistry students and teachers from seven Chicago public schools study and address urban heavy metal contamination in their communities. The project, called “The Poisoned Onion,” will support educators to teach chemistry within the context of heavy metal contamination in the soil and water of Chicago neighborhoods.
U Washington Utility Plant Receives Gold Designation From ISI
The new West Campus Utility Plant has received an Envision Gold award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). The ISI Envision system measures sustainable infrastructure in five categories: quality of life, leadership, natural world, resource allocation, and climate and risk. Sustainable elements of the plant include natural rain gardens and enhanced pedestrian infrastructure, measures to prevent pollutants from contaminating surface and groundwater, and increased energy efficiency.
Unity College Launches Sustainable MBA Degree
Launching January 2018, the college's new MBA degree program is a 14-month online program that seeks to educate students on how to make the business case for applicable sustainability innovations in industry.
California State U Receives $250K for Clean Tech Workshops
The university received a $250,000 grant from the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator's new Energize California initiative that will fund clean technology innovation workshops and events at five Los Angeles-area CSU campuses over the next five years. The workshops are intended to help students learn about resources and programs that could help them bring new clean energy technologies to the market.
U Notre Dame Announces Waste Diversion Plans for 2017 Football Season
For the first time, fans will be able to recycle bottles, cans and paper products inside the stadium via single-stream recycling receptacles. A game day food donation program has also been developed to decrease waste from the stadium while providing consumable food to local nonprofit agencies.
Dartmouth College Deploys Reusable To-Go Containers
After two years of research and assistance from the Dartmouth Office of Sustainability and Dartmouth Dining Services, a student helped launch the Green2Go food takeout program, which replaces the disposable to-go containers with reusable ones. The program involves a one-time payment of $4 for a reusable container. Used containers can be dropped off at any dining location on campus.
Thompson Rivers U Installs Sidewalk Made of Solar Panels
A professor from the university's Geography and Environmental Studies department and students helped install photovoltaic panels on a sidewalk in July. The solar sidewalk project is meant to demonstrate the role sidewalks and other everyday structures can play in generating energy.
George Brown College to Erect a 12-Story Carbon Neutral Building
The planned structure is designed to be a carbon-neutral, tall building made from wood that produces the same amount of energy or more than it uses. The college plans to create a Tall Wood Research Institute to share their experiences, ideas and research in low-carbon, mass timber construction.
Northwestern U Upgrades Lab Ventilation Systems
In an effort to conserve energy and maintain healthy, safe and comfortable labs, eight buildings now have an air quality monitoring system that saves energy by ensuring that lab ventilation systems run only as much as needed to maintain healthy air quality. Research and testing in one of the campus' buildings revealed that, with the new system, the number of air exchanges per hour could be reduced from nine to four, resulting in a cost savings of $117,000 per year.
U Illinois Chicago Students Plant Urban Garden
Aiming to address issues of sustainability and food security in low-income Chicago communities, the new urban garden was developed and implemented by two undergraduate students in the university's Human Development and Learning program. During the spring 2017 semester, the two students acquired access to the plot of land and earned funding from the university to partner with a local sustainable garden-to-table organization.
North Carolina State U Architecture Class Builds Facility for Campus-Grown Food
The student-designed and built facility will bolster productivity of the university's Agroecology Education Farm by offering a place to wash and store produce grown for university dining halls. The building includes integration of reused materials, such as a sink basin, cedar siding and three steel coolers that will be modified to function with brand-new cooling systems. The building will also include a rain garden, a small herb garden, a cistern to collect rainwater for irrigation and exterior landscaping with native plants.
Saint Mary's College California Utilizes Solar Trailers
The college now has six mobile solar generators that contribute to exterior lighting and electric vehicle charging. At no cost to the college, each solar generator consists of two solar panels, a backup biodiesel generator and battery storage.
Indiana U Purdue U Indianapolis Earns Bee Campus Designation
The university recently obtained Bee Campus USA certification for its activities designed to support pollinators. The designation was announced during the university's second year participating in Pollinator Count Week, a Keep Indianapolis Beautiful event that seeks to take inventory of pollinators and raise awareness of their role in the human food system.
MIT Announces Inaugural Incubator Fund Recipients
The school's Office of Sustainability announced the recipients of the first-ever Campus Sustainability Incubator Fund, with $200,000 awarded between four multi-departmental projects, all of which use the MIT campus as a test bed for research in sustainable operations, management and design. The four selected projects include water recapture at the power plant, modeling the environmental impact of buildings, evaluating the benefits of recycling laboratory gloves, and eliminating wasted energy in HVAC systems.
U Notre Dame Connects 145KW Solar Array to Grid
A new 144.72 kilowatt ground-mounted photovoltaic array is expected to generate approximately 194,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This would offset nearly one-third of the total electricity used by the 5.77 acre warehouse to which it is connected.
Loyola Marymount U Signs Principles for Responsible Investment Pledge
In an effort to promote and support ethical decision-making, the university recently announced its decision to sign onto the U.N.-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, a set of guidelines for incorporating environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions.
Western Michigan U Receives LEED Gold for Residence Halls
The Western Heights housing complex includes energy-efficient HVAC and other mechanical systems, occupancy sensors for common areas and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Amenities within the new halls are strategically located in communal spaces to encourage students to have more interpersonal interactions with their peers.
Northland College to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The college's board of trustees voted recently to fully divest the college’s endowment funds from fossil fuels in the next five years. Approximately 2.9 percent of the college’s $28 million endowment is currently invested in fossil fuels listed in the Carbon Underground 200. These investments will be replaced with more socially responsible investments and no new endowment funds will be invested in fossil fuel companies.
U California San Diego Tests Vehicle-to-Grid Charging Platforms
A San Diego-based company will use the university to pilot its new vehicle-to-grid technology, which allows a parked electric vehicle to become part of the electric grid by enabling charging from and discharging to the grid. Drivers will be paid for energy discharged from their car while still being guaranteed the expected level of charge needed to operate the vehicle.
Wilfrid Laurier U Receives $5K Grant for Planting Trees
Through a grant from Tree Canada, the university will be planting a small strand of mature trees on its Waterloo campus that will include national and provincial emblem trees, and symbolic First Nations trees. The tree-planting project commemorates the 150th anniversary of Canada.
U Virginia Signs 15MW Solar Agreement
Under a 25-year agreement, the university will purchase the entire output of a proposed 120-acre solar facility. It is expected to produce about 9 percent of the university’s electric demand. The university has pledged to reduce its carbon and nitrogen footprints by 25 percent below 2009 and 2010 levels, respectively, by the year 2025.
U Nevada Reno Launches Online Marketplace for Campus Produce
Students and the surrounding community now have the opportunity to access fresh fruits and vegetables through a new virtual farm stand, offered through the university's Desert Farming Initiative. A collaboration between three key groups, the Desert Farming Initiative seeks to support Nevada agriculture through education, research and outreach.
ACEEE Launches 'Shrink Your Dorm Print' Campaign
In preparation for the 2017-18 school year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released the Shrink Your Dorm Print campaign, which offers a tip sheet and shopping guide for students interested in reducing their carbon footprint.
Cornell U Ends Licensing Contract With Nike Over Labor Agreement
Cornell University has notified apparel-maker Nike and Branded Custom Sportswear, Nike’s exclusive licensee for collegiate apparel, that Cornell is ending its licensing relationship with them. Neither company is willing to sign a standard contract through IMG Collegiate Licensing, Cornell's licensing agent, attesting that they will follow a labor code of conduct vetted by Cornell and peer institutions.
U Maryland to Complete 2 MW Photovoltaic Project
Three soon-to-be-completed solar canopies, totaling 2.17 megawatts, will help the campus exceed its on-campus renewable energy goal of generating 2.7 megawatts of solar power for university facilities by 2018. The solar canopies are a part of the President's Purchased Power Initiative, which aims to ensure 100 percent of purchased power comes from renewable sources by 2020.
U Notre Dame Installs Geothermal Wells
By the end of 2017, the university will have completed three geothermal well systems with a total capacity of 7,000 tons, which is approximately one-half of the university’s current peak demand during the cooling season. The three systems together will have the capacity to reduce Notre Dame’s carbon dioxide emissions by 11,803 tons, an 8 percent reduction compared to fiscal year 2016. The return on investment is about 15 years.
Indiana State U Hires Sustainability Coordinator
Nick McCreary has been hired to lead the university's Institute for Community Sustainability. He served as the sustainability coordinator at Saint Louis University while working on his master's degree in sustainability.
U Minnesota Purchases Community Solar
With recent approval from the university's Board of Regents, the Twin Cities campus will purchase 46 million kilowatt-hours of community solar garden subscriptions annually over the next 25 years. By the end of 2018, 14 percent of the university's annual electrical consumption will be tied to community solar, which is a centralized, shared solar electricity facility connected to the energy grid that has multiple subscribers.
Colgate U Students Place Two Honey Bee Hives
A collaboration between the university’s food service provider, Chartwells, and a group of students looking to support the local honey bee population led to the installation of two hives in a newly established apiary last month. The new endeavor also resulted in the creation of a student beekeeping club.
UK Universities Partner With Rail Industry on New Research Center
The newly-created U.K. Railway Research and Innovation Network, a partnership of seven U.K. universities and the rail supply industry, secured 92 million pounds ($188 million) in funding to create three linked centers of research and innovation. The aim of the centers is to develop new technologies and products for trains, railway systems and infrastructure that will deliver a better, more reliable and efficient railway.
U Hyderabad Installs 1MW Photovoltaic System
(India) The newly connected 1,000-kilowatt solar-electric system is expected to reduce electricity costs by 15 percent. The university has set a goal to power 100 percent of campus with photovoltaic electricity.
Delaware Technical CC Completes Multi-Campus Solar Installation
The recently completed solar carport array is the last of nine solar projects at all four Delaware Tech campus locations. The statewide systems include carports, ground mounts and rooftop arrays. The solar arrays are expected to offset approximately 12 percent of the annual total energy needs for Delaware Tech and were funded as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement.
U Sussex Pledges to Cut Carbon Emissions 45 Percent by 2020
(U.K.) Working towards cutting its carbon emissions, the university has begun a multi-million pound program that will install over 3,000 photovoltaic panels, replace 27,000 light bulbs with more efficient LED lighting, improve heating and cooling systems, and install smart metering across the campus.
U Canterbury Earns Fair Trade Designation
(New Zealand) At the time of Fair Trade accreditation, the university was purchasing 80 percent Fair Trade tea and coffee purchases. The Fair Trade Association of Australia and Zealand awarded the new designation.
Swarthmore College Plus Three More Win the 'Sustainable Campus Excellence Award'
The International Sustainable Campus Network has bestowed the Sustainable Campus Excellence Award to four campuses. Chiba University (Japan) claimed the Student Leadership Award; National University of Singapore (Singapore) was honored with the Building and Innovative Infrastructure Award; Swarthmore College received the Innovative Collaboration Award; and the University of Applied Sciences Trier (Germany) earned the Campus Planning and Management Systems Award.
AASHE Receives Award for Exemplary Workplace Practices
AASHE was recently given the prestigious When Work Works Award, part of the Society for Human Resource Management’s When Work Works project, a national initiative that helps employers become more successful by transforming the way they view and adopt effective and flexible workplaces. AASHE was evaluated on factors associated with employee health, well-being and engagement; opportunities for learning; a culture of trust; work-life fit; supervisor support for work success; autonomy; and satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement.