U South Florida to Add 100 Solar Golf Carts
After a successful year-long pilot period, the University of South Florida's Office of Sustainability has announced plans to add about 100 solar golf carts to its campus fleet. Outfitted with a solar panel on top, the carts are also carbon emission free. At $750, each solar panel pays for itself in about two years. The university will use Student Green Energy Fee funds to pay for the additional carts.
U California Los Angeles Offers Green Commuting Incentives
The University of California, Los Angeles' Transportation department has launched a web-based program that offers incentives for students to commute to campus in an environmentally friendly manner. Members of the Bruin Commuter Club can access services ranging from discounted parking to an emergency ride service. The program is designed for students, faculty and staff who carpool, use public transportation or bike and walk to campus. Since the club’s induction on July 11, more than 1,000 members of the university community have registered. The incentives, including an annual gift card for restaurants and online carpool matching program Zimride, will continue to be added to the program in 2012 to encourage ongoing sign-ups.
U Texas Arlington to Add Free Electric Vehicle Charging Station
In anticipation of an expanding electric car market, the University of Texas at Arlington has announced plans to add a free public electric vehicle charging station on campus. Donated by City Electric Supply's Arlington office, the charger is being installed in a new campus garage that is slated to open in 2012. Room for six additional chargers are included in the plans for the final phase of the garage.
U Victoria to Pilot Green Ship Technology
With $1.19 million in federal funding, the University of Victoria (BC) has announced plans to retrofit the former Tsekoa II into a plug-in hybrid "green ship," powered by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and low-emission diesel fuel. The hybrid system will provide energy for low-speed maneuvering and power for ship systems, communications and instrumentation. The new green ship technology was created by the university's green transportation research team and the Province of British Columbia's marine engineering and alternative power system sectors.
Duke U Debuts New Car Sharing Program
Duke University (NC) has announced that it is replacing its current car sharing service with Enterprise Rent-A-Car's WeCar. The new service provides the university with 16 vehicles, including an electric car that can be rented by students, faculty and staff. The WeCar vehicles will be spread across the university’s campuses. Vehicles can be reserved online, accessed using a membership card and returned to the same location where it was picked up. The new program also offers several enhancements including longer reservations, a higher daily mileage limit and competitive overnight rates.
St. Michael’s College Installs Solar Electric Vehicle Chargers
St. Michael’s College (VT) has installed two solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations. The stations will be paired with a solar photovoltaic system placed atop the college's Klein Center. When the electricity generated by the solar array isn’t needed to charge vehicles, it will go into the grid and offset the college’s overall energy consumption. The stations are compatible with all types of electric vehicles currently available on the market.
U Kentucky Helps Fund New City Bike Lanes
For a more interconnected campus and city bicycle network, the University of Kentucky will help fund new bike lanes and sharrows in the adjacent community. A partnership between the university and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the project aims to increase the viability of biking as an alternative to driving.
Pomona College Announces Plans for Pedestrian Friendly Campus
With the recent opening of its new South Campus Athletic Field and Parking Structure, Pomona College (CA) has announced steps toward a more pedestrian friendly campus by allowing the closure of several parking areas scattered throughout the campus. The new two-story building, topped by a soccer and lacrosse field, will provide parking for more than 600 vehicles and free up more green space on campus. The parking structure also features sustainable elements including LimeLight, a wireless lighting control system that senses motion; solar PV arrays on the athletic field that will provide shade for spectators and should provide much of the electricity needed for the structure; high-efficiency restroom plumbing fixtures and irrigation equipment; drought-resistant native landscaping; six electric vehicle charging stations; bike racks; and priority parking for carpools.
U Mississippi Launches Car Sharing Option on Campus
The University of Mississippi has announced that it will offer the Zipcar car-sharing service on campus. Registration will be available in mid-August for all students, faculty and staff ages 18 and older, as well as to members of the local community ages 21 and older. The university has also partnered with Zimride, a private online social networking site devoted to establishing rides. Free to the university community, the site allows users to connect with others who are looking to carpool in the area. In addition to Zipcar and Zimride, students can take the Oxford-University Transit system free of charge and rent bikes from the university's Rebel Pedals program.
Villanova U Announces Pedestrian Friendly Campus Renovations
Villanova University (PA) has announced a $15 million renovation to its campus that will reduce vehicle access and increase pedestrian friendliness. The transformation will be implemented this summer and the following two summers with a majority of the renovations affecting the inner campus. The first phase, currently underway, will change the roadways on campus and limit vehicle traffic to be more friendly to pedestrians. Students and staff participated in focus groups to direct the "Transformation of the Campus Landscape" initiative.
Wayne State U Offers Free Shuttle Service to Detroit Surroundings
Wayne State University (MI) has partnered with Henry Ford Hospital and the Detroit Medical Center to provide free shuttle transportation for workers, students and the community to help eliminate car commuting. The shuttle service will allow students to travel between the university and the Detroit institutions. The university is also striving toward obtaining a Bike-Friendly certification from the League of American Bicyclists by working to implement car and bike sharing systems for students and staff.
Blackburn College Purchases Biodiesel Processor
Blackburn College (IL) has purchased a biodiesel processor that will convert fats and oils into biodiesel fuel. The processor will be used to introduce students to “good” chemistry and to create fuel for college vehicles and machinery. Students will also use cooking oil from the college’s cafeteria to make methyl biodiesel. The processor was purchased with money leftover from a U.S. Department of Energy grant.
Louisiana State U Installs Electric Vehicle Chargers
Louisiana State University has partnered with Entergy Corp. to install two new electric vehicle chargers on campus. The chargers will provide free power to students, faculty and staff who use electric vehicles. In exchange, Entergy Corp. will collect usage data for their research. The free electrical charges will be available beginning in the fall.
Inside Higher Ed Covers Rise in Green Driving Alternatives
This recent Inside Higher Ed article looks at a new set of challenges emerging as a growing number of institutions encourage green alternatives to driving to campus. With case studies including Boston University (MA) and Ripon College (WI), the article also explores the solutions being raised.
Universities Turn to Alternative Fuels as Gas Prices Rise
With gasoline prices expected to keep rising over the next few years, institutions are looking for ways to decrease their long-term reliance on fuel, reports a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article. The University of Florida has worked since 2007 to replace aging vehicles with ethanol-fueled vehicles, says the article, and the University of Minnesota is looking to start purchasing hybrid-electric vehicles. Ohio State University has spent $40,000 more on fuel than it budgeted for the 2011 fiscal year and is dipping into parking fee reserves to cover the difference. The university is researching compressed natural gas—cheaper and cleaner-burning than conventional gas—and ways to reduce traffic to campus including a dial-a-ride service.
Georgia Tech Improves Bike Culture on Campus
Students and staff on the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee at Georgia Institute of Technology have announced plans to make it safer and easier to bike to campus. With a $26,146 grant from the Student Government Association, the group will spearhead additional bike racks and bike lanes, slated for a fall 2011 completion. The group also debuted an online campus bike hub.
U Chicago Launches Bike Commuter Benefit Pilot Program
The University of Chicago (IL) has launched a Bike Commuter Benefit pilot program. The program will offer a half-priced three-month gym membership to faculty, staff and other academic personnel who bike to work. The program is the first in a series of steps the university is taking towards becoming a more bicycle friendly campus.
U Wisconsin Madison Celebrates Bike to Work Week
The University of Wisconsin-Madison recently partnered with the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin to promote various Bike to Work Week events throughout the community. University departments participated in the Get Up and Ride Wisconsin Bike Challenge, which made available real-time reports with miles biked, trips taken, calories burned and gas dollars saved for each department. Prizes will be awarded to participants.
Wilfrid Laurier U Takes on Canadian Commuter Challenge
Members of the Wilfrid Laurier University (ON) community recently competed in the Canadian Commuter Challenge, a friendly competition between organizations in Canada to reduce greenhouse gases. Staff and faculty at the university pledged to use environmentally friendly modes of transportation like biking, walking, car pooling or public transit to get around town and to commute to and from work. The university has also announced that 25 bike racks and three crosswalks will be installed over the summer on campus. The Sustainability Office is also researching a formal carpooling program and the feasibility of an electric fleet of vehicles for use on campus.
Stetson U Replaces Public Safety Dept SUV with Electric Vehicle
Stetson University’s (FL) Public Safety Department has replaced its sports utility vehicle with a MILES Electric Vehicle. The $13,000 electric vehicle is battery-fueled and has an estimated battery life of 25,000 miles. The university may buy more electric-motor-utility vehicles for its Facilities Management Department if the recently purchased vehicle is a success.
Temple U Debuts Car Sharing, Water Refilling Station Initiatives
Temple University (PA) recently implemented two initiatives as part of its Climate Action Plan, which aims to reduce the university's carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030. The university has partnered with Zimride, a ride-sharing tool that uses social networking functionality to bring members of the campus community together to share commutes. The university has also installed water bottle refilling stations in the lobbies of several academic building across campus.
California State U Los Angeles Competes in EcoCAR 2
California State University, Los Angeles' College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology has been selected to build a zero-emissions vehicle for the EcoCAR 2 Plugging In to the Future international competition. Established by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, the three-year collegiate competition provides engineering students the chance to design and build vehicles that demonstrate cutting-edge automotive technologies. The competition challenges 16 North American universities to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles without compromising performance, safety and consumer acceptability.
Georgia Tech Partners with Ford for Green Eco School Bus
Georgia Institute of Technology has partnered with the Ford Motor Company Fund to convert a school bus to a hydraulic hybrid vehicle that runs on recycled biofuel. The project was financed by a $50,000 Ford College Community Challenge. Students, with the help of a mechanical engineering professor, designed and developed the hydraulic hybrid system for the 16-passenger school bus. The university held an event in which elementary students painted the bus and organized a drive to collect used cooking oil for processing into biodiesel.
Metropolitan CC Debuts Green Bike Program
Metropolitan Community College (NE) recently debuted the Green Bike Program at its Fort Omaha campus. The Green Bike Program encourages biking as a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly way to get around. Students and staff on the campus will have free access to seven bikes. Twenty-four new bike racks were installed on campus, and eight sharrows were painted on campus roads. The green bikes will be available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis to get around the Fort Omaha campus only. The Green Bike program is made possible through a partnership among the college, Live Well Omaha, the Community Bike Shop and Green Street Cycles. The bikes were painted by students in the college's Auto Collision Technology Program.
U Northern British Columbia Installs Showers for Cyclists
The University of Northern British Columbia has installed two showers for bike commuters. The shower facilities are part of a plan to encourage more people to bike or walk to campus. The cycling community at the university had expressed that the new facilities would be a great help and remove a lot of barriers to biking to campus.
West Virginia U Celebrates Bike to Work Week
West Virginia University recently celebrated Bike to Work Week, part of National Bike Month, by encouraging employees and students to ride their bikes and showcasing the services available to cyclists. The university’s Mountaineer Station offers indoor lockers, bike racks and showers for cyclists who can then ride the Personal Rapid Transit system to their destination. A Confident City Cycling program was created for those who are uncomfortable with cycling on the streets and the university will pay for the cost for employees to attend the program.
U Arizona Adds Electric Vehicle to Campus Fleet
The University of Arizona has added the electric Nissan Leaf to its fleet of 100 vehicles, available to students and faculty to rent. The first step in a plan to add more electric vehicles to its fleet, the car is now accompanied by a new electric vehicle charging station, donated by California-based AeroVironment, Inc.
U of California Riverside Offers Vanpooling Option
In an effort to make commuting to campus more affordable and sustainable, the University of California, Riverside's Transportation and Parking Services has created a vanpooling program. The university hopes the program will reduce traffic congestion and provide another alternative for students, faculty and staff in their commuting options.
Baker College of Owosso Produces Biofuel
Baker College of Owosso (MI) has begun processing its own biofuel using recently purchased processing equipment. The processor can produce 40 gallons of diesel fuel in one 12-hour batch. The college is using waste oil and grease produced by its cafeteria, and is teaching other college and high school instructors how to convert their own cafeterias into diesel producing kitchens.
U Utah Opens Bike Repair Stations
The University of Utah has installed two bicycle repair stations on campus to help facilitate bike commuting options. Installed by Commuter Services, each station features a tire pump, tire levers, screwdrivers and allen keys to help students make minor repairs to their bikes.
Cornell U to Compete in Green Grand Prix
Cornell University (NY) will compete in the 7th Annual Green Grand Prix this month, which will take place at Watkins Glen International racing facility in New York. The university has submitted its diesel hybrid dubbed "Redshift." Entries can include diesel and traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, hybrid models, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell cars and vehicles running on biodiesel, flex-fuel and pure electric.
Rice U Expands Campus Bike Initiatives
With funding from the Rice Endowment for Sustainable Energy and Technology, the Office of Sustainability and a student initiative grant program, Rice University (TX) has expanded its campus bicycle program to include bike sharing, bike reps and a repair shop. Students worked with the Rice Police Department to refurbish abandoned bikes for the bike sharing initiative. The new bike reps will function like campus eco-reps with a focus on bikes. Their duties will include identifying and reporting abandoned bikes, sharing information about campus bike rules and policies with the campus community, and providing minor bicycle repairs and maintenance.
Rochester Inst to Develop Natural Gas Engines for Hybrid Vehicles
Faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) have received a $100,000 grant from the California Energy Commission to develop a natural gas-fueled engine for hybrid electric vehicles. The new engine, which is estimated to save five million tons of carbon dioxide from the air per year if 5 percent of California drivers converted to it, can also be used for electric generators and agricultural uses like power for irrigation pumps.
Seattle Pacific U Solar Power Offsets Electric Vehicle Energy Use
The 18 solar panels at Seattle Pacific University (WA) are producing enough energy to power the university’s fleet of electric vehicles. They began producing electricity in the spring quarter of 2010. At their best, with perfect sunshine, they generate four kilowatts per hour. Their daily average energy production is the equivalent to the daily energy consumed by the campus’ electric vehicles.
U Alaska Fairbanks Installs Smart Cold Weather Vehicle Cords
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks is installing 100 new energy-efficient power cords that are used to plug into cars to keep engine fluids from freezing during the winter months. Typical cords draw energy constantly while plugged in, while the new cords draw electricity only when the engine coolant temperature drops near freezing temperatures. The power-saving cords have been installed on 31 campus vehicles and remaining cords are being installed on vehicles owned by students, faculty and staff members who volunteered.
U Alaska Fairbanks Offers New Bicycle Sharing Program
The University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ Office of Sustainability has recently approved a new bicycle rental program on campus. It will be funded by $10,000 from a sustainability fee that students pay each semester. Long-term and short-term rentals will be available beginning in April. They will begin the program with a stable of 20 new Kona bicycles and nearly 100 used and donated bicycles.
U Missouri-Kansas City Launches Student Bus Pass Program
Students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City have approved a student fee that will provide every student with an annual pass for city bus services. The university partnered with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to provide the all-access transit pass, beginning in fall 2011. Students will be assessed a $14 fee per semester to fund the universal pass.
Western Michigan U Opens Electric Car Charging Stations
Western Michigan University has unveiled four electric car charging stations on its main campus that it received at no cost from manufacturer Coulomb Technologies through an equipment grant from the company's ChargePoint America program. The program is part of a federal government demonstration project to encourage the adoption of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The university, which has two electric and 50 hybrid-electric vehicles in its campus fleet, will offer the chargers for free initially, as much of the expected energy use will be offset by its existing campus wind turbine and solar array. The university will consider charging in the future if usage is more than expected.
Arizona State U Surveys Campus for Sustainable Transport Ideas
The Parking and Transit Services department at Arizona State University is conducting an extensive transportation survey among its students and staff to find sustainable solutions for reducing overall carbon emissions. The survey is mandated by Maricopa County, but it has led to significant student conceptualized ideas in previous years, including intercampus shuttles, the U-Pass program that provides reduced fares for light rail and bus tickets, and reserved carpool parking spots.
Kent State U Expands Bike Share Program
After a successful launch in the fall, Kent State University (OH) is expanding its bike share program. Flashfleet, which registered 1,081 users for a total of 4,467 checkouts in the fall, now includes a new checkout location, an expanded bike selection, and additional hours of operation and student staff members to assist with maintenance repairs.
Middlebury College Students Initiate Car Share Program
The Environmental Council at Middlebury College (VT) is working to implement a student-led proposal to offer the car share program, Zimride. The group proposed this idea to the student government last month and it has been accepted. The program will cost the college between $17,000 and $19,000. Along with the additional transportation options the program will provide, it will also help the college reduce its overall carbon emissions.
Syracuse U, SUNY College Partner for Ride Share Program
Syracuse University (NY) and the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Environmental Science and Forestry are collaborating to provide students and faculty with a ride share program at no cost. With the online RideShare program, staff and students at both institutions can coordinate carpools. Syracuse is using this program in conjunction with other alternative transportation companies, such as Zipcar. The partnership between the two institutions will reduce single-occupant vehicles and positively contributed to each institution’s Climate Action Plan.
First-Ever Bicycle Friendly Campus Designations Announced
The League of American Bicyclists has announced the first institutions to receive its Bicycle Friendly University designation. The program recognizes colleges and universities that create environments where bicycling can thrive and provides a roadmap and technical assistance to create great campuses for bicycling. For its breadth of programs, including a cycling network, education programs like the Bike Safety Dorm Challenge, bicycling incentive programs and 21.7 percent of bike commuters, Stanford University (CA) received the only platinum-level award. Twenty of the 32 institutions who applied received designations including the University of California, Santa Barbara; University of California, Davis; University of Minnesota; and Emory University (GA).
Virginia Tech Encouraging Green Commuters
By 2015, Virginia Tech hopes to have half of its workplace committed to green commuting. The institution's alternative commuting program focuses on incentives for biking to campus including ample bike parking, and works with local transit companies to provide free passes at certain times of the day.
Alabama A&M U Tests Biodiesel for Campus Transportation
Alabama A&M University’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences is experimenting with turning cooking oil into biodiesel. The Toyota engine plant in Huntsville, Ala. is donating the oil to the university. The university plans to run campus buses and agriculture equipment with biodiesel fuel in the future.
Arkansas State U Grows Electric Vehicle Campus Fleet
Arkansas State University first implemented its electric golf carts on campus 11 years ago. Now the campus has 16 more electric vehicles including cars, Segways and cargo trucks. The vehicles are predominantly used by Facilities Management personnel, but they lease the vehicles out to different departments as requested.
Cornell U Starts Bike Share Program
Cornell University (NY) is gearing up for its Big Red Bikes program, a bike share program that will begin with 20 bikes based at one station. It was made possible by the efforts of the Big Red Bikes student group that began in 2008 in the Cornell Sustainability Hub. After spearheading a petition signed by 1,000 students, the Undergraduate Student Assembly granted the group funding for the initial two years of the project, amounting to $1 from every student’s activities fee.
U Maryland Installs Electric Car Charging Stations
The University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation Services has installed five electric car charging stations, with five more planned on the university’s campus. Each station can recharge two cars simultaneously for four to eight hours. The university hopes that the stations will encourage people to move toward electric cars. The electric charging stations cost $31,500 total.
Texas A&M U at Qatar Students to Compete in Shell Eco-Marathon
College of Engineering students at Texas A&M University at Qatar are set to compete in this year's Shell Eco-Marathon. Since 1985, the global competition has challenged student teams to design and build fuel-efficient cars. The 2011 European edition will be held at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz track in Germany from May 26-28, 2011. Vehicles can use various fuels and energy sources including gas-to-liquids, petrol, biofuels, hydrogen and solar. Two teams at the university will compete in the Urban Concept category, one team with gas-to-liquids fuel and the other with a vehicle powered by petrol.