84 US Universities Join Second Nature's Climate Commitment
Second Nature recently announced that 84 charter college and university signatories across the U.S. have signed onto its Climate Commitment, which requires higher education institutions to set targets, report on progress publicly and collaborate with their surrounding community, all while integrating sustainability across the curriculum.
American U Building Claims LEED Silver
Earning Silver certification in the LEED for Existing Buildings category, American University's Gray Hall features LEED-approved air-quality levels, adherence to a green cleaning program, water-efficient sinks, toilets and landscaping practices. The building uses 100 percent renewable energy via renewable energy credits and offsets.
Appalachian State U Installs Solar Energy Storage System
The newly installed solar storage system from JuiceBox Energy is located at the university's Solar Research and Teaching Laboratory and is a 8.6-kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery system based on the company’s years of automotive lithium-ion control systems engineering.
U British Columbia Concludes Yearlong Sustainability Challenge
The yearlong student competition, which sought to engage students to develop new ideas that would help the university address campus sustainability challenges, ends with three top project submissions out of 11 total. Two projects focus on the university's non-disposable to-go container program, while the project that won top honors seeks to target faculty as agents of change by increasing the number that bike to work.
U South Carolina Enters Partnership with Biofuels Company
Through the new partnership, Midland Biofuels takes used cooking oil produced by the school and turns it into biofuel that they then sell. A portion of each gallon sold will then be donated to the university program. Midland Biofuels recently presented the university with $1,239 that will be used for sustainability programs on campus.
U Iowa Obtains Permit to Test Biomass in Power Plant
Continuing its transition away from coal as a fuel source, the university was recently permitted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to expand its use and testing of locally available, environmentally friendly fuels at the university-owned power plant. Called the Plantwide Applicability Limit (PAL), the permit caps university air-pollutant emissions through 2026 based on historical emission levels.
U Illinois Chicago Announces Four Climate Commitments
In a campus-wide ceremony, the university's chancellor presented four climate commitment action items that were developed by the university's Committee on Sustainability and Energy. The commitments include reducing carbon emissions yielding to a carbon-neutral campus, reducing, reusing and recycling material leading to a 90 percent waste diversion rate, increasing water efficiency to an amount equal to or less than what falls within the university's boundaries, and creating a resilient campus landscape that supports a biodiverse plant and animal ecosystem.
Wilfrid Laurier U Signs Energy Improvements Contract
Led by the university's Sustainability Office and Physical Resources, the university recently signed a contract with Johnson Controls, Inc., that includes solar installations and energy system upgrades. Energy conservation measures indicated in the agreement include lighting retrofits using LED technology, low-flow water fixtures, demand control ventilation, solar electricity and hot water, and ground source heating and cooling.
Stanford U Energy System Innovation Receives Award
Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI) was awarded with the Engineering News-Record Editor's Choice & Best Energy/Industrial awards. The SESI system transformed the university's energy supply from a 100 percent fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant to grid-sourced electricity and a more efficient electric heat recovery system.
U Richmond Installs 205KW Bi-Facial Solar Array
The 205-kilowatt photovoltaic array, installed through a solar power purchase agreement (PPA), uses bi-facial panels, which are able to use the sun's rays from the top and bottom due to clear glazing on both sides.
Illinois State U Students Work to Site Large Solar Array
The student-led initiative, known as Solar Pathways Project, is currently exploring possible sites for solar panels to be installed at the university. The effort is sponsored by a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and part of a multi-university effort organized by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association.
U Central Florida Students Install 5KW Floating Solar Array
A senior design team of five recently installed a 10-panel, 5-kilowatt (kW) pilot floating solar array in the campus' retention pond. The pilot project, assuming success, is expected to increase to a 900kW array at full scale, where the energy generated will add to the campus energy grid to completely offset the Bright House Stadium’s current energy usage. This offset is part of Sustainability Initiatives’ goal to reach 15 percent carbon neutrality by 2020 under the Climate Action Plan.
Cornell U Building Scores LEED Gold
The newly renovated building features natural light that reduces the need for electricity, heating and cooling systems that reduce the building's energy use, and nearly 55 percent of the building’s material and furnishings are regionally manufactured.
Dalhousie U Releases Bike Safety Video
The university recently debuted a comedic bike safety video with 12 tips for safe cycling. Students and alumni appear in the film, which was co-funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Health.
MIT Initiates Crowdsourcing for Climate Mitigation Ideas
The university recently launched a crowdsourcing contest to identify projects that reduce campus emissions and highlight the potential for scaleable, educational solutions as a living laboratory. The challenge is part of a new series of contests launched by the MIT Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing platform of over 50,000 members. The series seeks high-impact proposals that tackle major climate change challenges.
Cornell U Constructs Two Photovoltaic Arrays
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Cornell University, along with Distributed Sun and Building Energy, announced that new rooftop solar arrays have been installed atop two university buildings to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a clean energy future. The university received support for these solar projects under New York Governor Cuomo's $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, administered by NYSERDA, which is designed to advance the scale-up of solar and move New York State closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry.
Penn State to End Coal Shipments
In an effort to decrease greenhouse gases and increase the efficiency of energy use, the university will receive its last coal shipment March 2016. After 160 years of relying on coal for electricity and heat, the university is transitioning to natural gas, in part, to help the university comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's National Enforcement Initiatives.
Umpqua CC to Install 36KW Photovoltaic Array
As part of an ongoing energy efficiency overhaul for the campus, the community college will be installing a 36-kilowatt solar energy system that will have the ability to be expanded up to 300-kilowatt capacity.
U Alberta Installs Solar-Powered Street Fixture
As a solution to lighting a dark area on campus where connecting with grid power isn't feasible, the first solar-powered street lamp at the university was installed on the Augustana campus this past month.
Boston U Names Head of New Institute for Sustainable Energy
At the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Peter Fox-Penner and his team will focus on increasing energy research initiatives throughout the university, deepening connections among science, engineering and management scholars with policy makers and corporations, and advancing the curriculum at the university's schools and colleges. The institute’s three research focus areas are electric industry transformation, global climate change and smart, sustainable cities.
U Minnesota Duluth and Lake Superior College Awarded Solar Assistance Grants
Technical assistance grants were recently awarded to the two schools to learn more about the feasibility and economic assessment of installing solar photovoltaics on their campus. In support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) offered no-cost technical assistance to universities seeking to deploy solar energy technology. The schools will receive initial assessment of solar photovoltaic feasibility, including cost-effectiveness of installations, recommended system sizes, estimated capital costs to implement solar and estimated life cycle cost savings. The results will help the campuses plan for future ways to be cost-effective and reduce carbon emissions.
Six Universities to Host Climate Leadership Summits
National Campus Leadership Council recently announced the six sites to host a 2016 Climate Leadership Summit as Arizona State University (April 16), Cal Poly Pomona and Claremont McKenna College (April 22-23), Florida International University (April 30), Georgia State University (April 6), and University of Wisconsin-River Falls (April 9). In partnership with Defend Our Future, the regional summits provide a platform to address energy challenges and climate change.
Ithaca College Announces Partnership on State-Funded 2.9MW Solar Project
Ithaca College and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have partnered on a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic project currently underway that is slated to provide approximately 10 percent of the college's electricity needs. The project will be financed through a power purchase agreement, which covers all up-front costs and maintenance, whereby the college buys the clean energy produced from the system owner at a set price over the 25-year term of the agreement through virtual net metering.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Anticipates $41M in Cost Avoidance
A set of energy conservation projects on the Urbana campus has estimated $41 million in cost avoidance over the next 20 years and will reduce the campus deferred maintenance backlog by an estimated $25 million. Improvements in five College of Engineering buildings will include the installation of new HVAC equipment, direct digital controls, fume hoods, heat recovery systems, and occupancy sensors. Substantial completion is expected by July 2018.
Mesa CC to Install 2MW Photovoltaic Array
The community college is preparing for the installation of the 2,045-kilowatt system, slated for completion in late April, which will provide shaded parking spots. The array is expected to provide approximately 24 percent of the community college's total energy use.
South Mountain CC Begins Construction on 858KWH Solar Array
The soon to be completed 858-kilowatt array will be comprised of 2,812 ground-mounted photovoltaic modules, which are expected to generate approximately 1.9 million-kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year. The owned, operated and maintained array by SolarCity will also aid programs at the community college focused on sustainability and clean energy.
Georgia Southern U Installs Solar-Powered Tables
Funded by student sustainability fees, four new SolGreen solar-powered patio tables with built-in charging stations provide the campus community with an outdoor location to work and socialize while charging their devices. The tables come with four power outlets and four USB outlets, shut down automatically during rainstorms, can last five to seven days on stored power during overcast weather and contain LED lights for nighttime use.
U California Davis Dedicates 16MW Photovoltaic Plant
In fall 2015, the university connected the 16.3-megawatt photovoltaic power plant that is estimated to generated 14 percent of campus' electricity needs. The installation, covering 62 acres, is the largest in the University of California system. Photo: Karin Higgins/UC Davis
Borders College Creates Heat From Sewage
(U.K.): Under a 20-year purchase agreement, a system uses a heat pump to amplify the natural warmth of waste water and the heat is sold to the college, allowing the school to benefit from reduced cost of energy and carbon emissions. The innovative system provides about 95 percent of the heat needed by one of its campuses.
Iowa State U Receives $3M for Energy Technology Research
Researchers at the university have teamed up with collaborators at University of Houston, University of Colorado at Boulder, Washington State University, and small battery company Solid Power to develop a battery solution for storing large amounts of energy, such as the energy produced from utility-scale renewable energy wind and solar farms.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Completes 5.87MW Solar Array
The university's first utility-scale photovoltaic project, a 5.87-megawatt capacity, is expected to produce approximately 7.86 million-kilowatt-hours of electricity (about 2 percent of the electrical demand of the Urbana campus), and is the largest solar array on any Big Ten university campus. Approved in 2012 by the university's board of trustees, the project was made possible by a 10-year power purchase agreement with Phoenix Solar South Farms, LLC. The university plans to own all renewable energy credits (RECs).
11 SUNY Schools Receive $2.7M for Energy Efficiency
As part of the New York Power Authority's first ever Operation and Maintenance Acceleration Program grant competition, 11 State University of New York campuses and SUNY System Administration will share $2.7 million in funding to stimulate and accelerate operations, maintenance and minor rehabilitation projects at state facilities. SUNY's building portfolio represents 40 percent of all state-owned facilities.
Auburn U Professor Receives Innovation Fund Award
University professor Jeffrey Suhling has been awarded an Alabama Innovation Fund grant for $400,000 through the Alabama Department of Commerce for research involving efficient building energy systems. With matching funds from the university, funding will support an experimental laboratory for research in scalable energy conversion systems.
Three Northeast Institutions Receive Energy Efficiency Accolades
Dartmouth College, Stonehill College and Northeastern University were honored by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships as this year's Northeast Business Leaders for Energy Efficiency. This program highlights the accomplishments of organizations that achieve energy savings through investment in cost-efficient measures and address comprehensive changes in major energy systems, such as HVAC.
Yale U Introduces Carbon Charge Program for Buildings
The university recently announced a first-of-its-kind pilot program to put a price tag on the use of carbon, with some of the most prominent campus buildings playing a role in the experiment. Originating as a student proposal, the program seeks to prompt behavior changes at the individual and organizational levels by putting a price, $40 per ton, on carbon dioxide.
Cape Breton U to Become Energy Independent
With two turbines completed and one under construction, the university will soon be powered solely from wind energy. The three turbines are expected to generate 16.2-gigawatt hours of electricity annually, about twice what the university currently consumes, and providing approximately $2 million annually. Data from the turbines will be used in engineering classes.
U.S. EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list includes the largest green power users of higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined clean-power use of these organizations amounts to nearly 2 billion-kilowatt-hours of power annually, which is equivalent to the electricity use of more than 187,000 average American homes annually.
Ohio University Meets Sustainability Goal Four Years Early
President Roderick J. McDavis announced that the university will purchase 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources beginning December 2015. The university’s Sustainability Plan calls for 20 percent of energy sources to come from renewable energy by the year 2020, although new purchasing guidelines allows the goal to be realized four years earlier than planned.
North Carolina State U Saves Nearly $1K Per Day in Energy
Thanks to a new, summertime initiative that consolidates events and classes into a fewer campus buildings, the university was able to reduce air conditioning levels in unoccupied buildings avoiding nearly $1,000 per day in energy costs. Called the Summer Energy Savings Initiative, 23 classroom buildings were utilized to monitor and control HVAC operations.
U Illinois Chicago Students Measure Building Energy Use
Trying to get students and employees involved in the university's energy conservation efforts, dashboards on display in nine campus buildings indicate the building's energy use by using the university's mascot, Sparky D. Dragon. University Office of Sustainability student interns helped launch the dashboard project in summer 2015.
Elizabethtown College to Install 2.6MW Solar Array
In partnership with Radnor, Pennsylvania-based renewable energy developer, the 2.6-megawatt DC ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system will create an educational living-learning laboratory right on campus. The college was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to build the project and enhance the sustainability efforts on campus.
Renewable Energy on the Rise Says Energy Dept.
The recently released article from the U.S. Department of Energy cites an increasing number of higher education schools pursuing renewable energy projects. The Energy Department mentions Vermont Law School, Goddard College, Elizabethtown College, Bristol Community College and Metropolitan Community College with a combined total of over 6.8-megawatts installed.