U California Awards $80M Toward Climate Priorities
As part of a historic partnership between the University of California (UC) and the state of California, the university in August announced it is awarding over $80 million in climate action grants to spur implementation of solutions that directly address state climate priorities. The selected projects aim to improve the health of farmworkers; increase resilience of state water and power systems; and identify innovative nature-based solutions toward biodiversity degradation, sea level rise, and wildfire risk.
EPA Announces Winners Campus RainWorks Challenge
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced Florida International University as the first place winner in the Master Plan category, with University of Arizona placing second. In the Demonstration Project category, University of California at Los Angeles placed first while Arizona State University came in second. The EPA also recognized Michigan State University for honorable mention in the Master Plan category and the University of California at Berkeley for honorable mention in the Demonstration Project category. The Campus RainWorks Challenge a national competition that engages college students in the design of on-campus green infrastructure solutions to help address stormwater pollution.
Emory U Water Reclamation Project Surpasses 300M Gallons
Since April 2015, Emory’s WaterHub has reclaimed and recycled more than 300 million gallons of campus wastewater for use in Emory’s steam plant and three campus chiller plants, as well as select residence hall toilets. It provides more than 40 percent of the university's total campus water needs.
Columbia U Staff Complete Energy Efficiency Training
Forty-five Columbia residential operations and maintenance staff completed the 30-hour New York City Building Operator Training program to help improve energy efficiency of residential buildings and reduce operating costs. The curriculum provides participants with energy and resource conservation techniques related to a building’s heating, electrical and water systems.
PGMS Announces 2019 Green Star Award Winners
The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recently awarded 19 colleges and universities with its Green Star Award, which recognizes grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence.
Arizona State U Partners on Water Efficiency Research
The university will participate in research with the city's water services department through a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The water conservation research will use the university's 12 acres of soccer fields to test the efficacy of hydrogels, which can potentially absorb up to 400 percent of their water weight and release nearly all of it back into the turf as needed.
U St Andrews Reduces Plastic Bottle Use
(U.K.) More than 40,000 plastic bottles will be removed from circulation annually from the local community thanks to a new partnership with Brita. A glass bottling system has been installed to provide bottled water for catering across the campus and self-service still and sparkling water dispensing units have been installed in its three retail cafes.
U Saskatchewan Completes Water Efficiency Project
The project involved the replacement of 75 percent of the toilets and urinals and installing aerators on 85 percent of the faucets in the university's Arts Building. The project has an estimated savings of roughly 13,263,000 liters per year and annual cost savings of approximately $33,000.
Yale U Implements Smart Irrigation Systems
Yale Grounds Maintenance implemented sprinkler and irrigation systems that use weather-based automated technology, which is controlled using a smartphone app. The app, which is connected to local meteorology forecasts, will pause if rain is predicted, thus limiting waste by complementing what is naturally occurring. In addition, lawns in four residential colleges utilize flow-sensing smart technology in order to limit excessive water use. A flow-sensing valve in the main pipe will automatically close if unusually-high water output is found.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Classroom & Research Building Receives LEED Gold
A recent $79 million renovation of the historic building includes energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, high levels of daylight for natural lighting, occupancy sensors and continual energy monitoring. More than 76 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The building was able to reduce its water usage by at least 20 percent. The project also received high marks for using an existing site, having convenient access to public transportation and incorporating bicycle parking.
U Pittsburgh Conducts Tree Inventory
The tree inventory of campus trees is underway in an effort to track progress toward the university's goal of increasing the campus tree canopy 50 percent by 2030. The inventory will also provide data for on-campus biological and environmental science research, and inform the design of new landscapes.
Jefferson CC Receives Funding for Stormwater Management
The community college was recently selected to receive $980,000 from the latest round of New York State Regional Economic Development Council funds. The funding will be used on the main entry corridor to campus to install bio-retention medians, porous roadway shoulders and educational signage with ongoing monitoring.
Bridgewater College Gets Grant for Water Filling Stations
Waste Management of Virginia recently awarded the college $3,500 that it will use to install four to five additional water filling stations on campus, joining nine others already in place, in an effort to help reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used.
UCLA Partners to Fund Water & Energy Research
Through a new partnership, UCLA and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will identify research that would move the city to greater use of recycled water, increase water and energy conservation and efficiency as well as electrification of the transportation network. The partnership also seeks to use and produce local water and strengthen climate adaptation planning.
Georgia Tech Pilots Using Wastewater to Grow Vegetables
A U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant totaling $5 million over five years will enable the university to pilot a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the campus sewer system. The overall goal is to show that using the nutrients and water resources from domestic wastewater in an urban controlled environment agriculture system is socially, environmentally and financially sustainable and can easily be replicated in other cities.
Virginia Commonwealth U Plants Trees in Local Community for Carbon Offset Credits
A project to plant dozens of trees this month in Richmond's Carver area will make the neighborhood a greener and more walkable community, while offsetting the carbon footprint of the university as the trees grow. The Carver Tree Project has brought together resources from VCU, nonprofits and state agencies to plant and maintain 75 trees in the neighborhood. VCU will claim carbon offset credits for the new trees under a peer-reviewed program developed at Duke University.
Cornell U Unveils Sustainable Landscapes Trail
The trail includes 20 stops that have sustainability features, including bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, a climate change garden, stormwater control design, native plantings and pollinator habitat. Markers and an online walking map highlight how design, construction and the management of campus grounds can enhance and promote healthy landscape ecosystems.
Princeton U Dining Diversifies Food & Reduces Plastic Use
The culinary team spent the summer reworking all the menus in the Frist Food Gallery with the goal of including healthier, globally diverse menu options. Plastic water bottles were replaced by refillable cups, glass bottles and several types of carton water. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags, now available by request. Silverware were moved to a more prominent position and for to-go orders, plant-based utensils are given. Paper and plastic straws are now available at the cashier stations upon request.
Six New York City Universities Work to Reduce Water Use
The New York City Water Challenge to Universities was recently announced by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. As part of the challenge, the participating universities will work to reduce their campus-wide average water consumption by 5 percent, which would be a savings of approximately 1.3 million gallons of water per month. The participating universities are Fordham University; Long Island University, Brooklyn campus; Pace University; St. John’s University; The New School; and Weill Cornell Medical.
U California Irvine Starts Recycling 80M Gallons of Water
The university recently celebrated the conversion of its Central Plant, which has been retrofitted to use recycled water for cooling campus buildings. The use of treated recycled water in cooling 65 buildings will save more than 80 million gallons of drinking water annually. This will help the university achieve its goal to reduce per capita drinkable water use by 50 percent by 2025.
U Utah Receives LEED Gold on Student Innovation Space
The university's Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a five-story, 160,000-square-foot building that opened in 2016. The building features low-flow water fixtures, 100 percent LED lighting throughout and 21.2 percent of the building materials contain recycled content. The site uses water-efficient landscaping through limited sod and drought tolerant plants, and provides easy access to alternative modes of transportation.
Drake U Receives Two GBI Green Globes on Two Buildings
The university recently announced that it earned a rating of Two Green Globes from the Green Building Initiative (GBI) for the construction of its newest academic buildings, the Science Connector Building and Collier-Scripps Hall. The two buildings feature a white roof to promote indoor cooling, energy-efficient windows and lighting, increased amounts of insulation in the roof and walls, and low flow water fixtures. The sites include drought-tolerant landscaping and easy access to public transportation and rental bicycles.
7 Universities Receive Energy Dept Funding for Solar-Thermal Desalination Research
The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $21 million for 14 projects, of which $11.4 million went to seven universities. The projects will focus on reducing the cost of solar-thermal desalination and helping the technology to reach new markets, including to areas that are not connected to the electric grid. The seven schools selected and funding allocated were Columbia University ($1 million); Oregon State University ($2 million); University of California, Los Angeles ($2 million); University of California Merced ($1.1 million); University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ($1.6 million); University of North Dakota ($2 million); and Rice University ($1.7 million).
Pac-12 Launches 'Green Team'
During the 2018 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference in July, the Pac-12 officially announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, an initiative that will promote all of the sustainability efforts taking place on and around the conference and all 12 of its member universities. Key components of the Green Team are the Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, Zero Waste Competition, and Sustainability Working Group.
Emory U WaterHub Receives Innovation Award
Given to the university for its wastewater reclamation and reuse system, the 2018 IDEA Innovation Award is an annual competition by the International District Energy Association (IDEA) intended to recognize energy and water savings. To date, using an ecological treatment process to clean wastewater, Emory's WaterHub has displaced over 160 million gallons of municipally supplied potable water with reclaimed water. It also provides opportunities for research and education.
U Michigan Grants Target Sustainability Challenges in Puerto Rico & Michigan
The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan has awarded more than $200,000 to support three sustainability-related research projects in Puerto Rico and Michigan. The projects vary in scale and address energy and food system resilience in Puerto Rico, stormwater management on tribal lands in Michigan, and plans for a green energy village in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Texas A&M International U to Save $15M Through Energy Efficiency Project
The university recently announced it has started construction on a $9.7 million, comprehensive campus-wide energy-efficiency project that will streamline facility operations and encourage sustainable behavior. The energy savings performance contract guarantees nearly $15 million in energy savings over the life of the project. Savings will come from improving the university’s irrigation system, interior and exterior LED lighting upgrades with occupancy sensors and automated dimming controls, and utility meter upgrades with user-friendly energy dashboards. Construction is underway and expected to be complete by fall 2019.
Bentley U Arena Earns LEED Platinum
The recently opened, 76,000-square-foot arena features a 504 kilowatt solar array that will generate 40 percent of the building's annual electricity needs, natural light that decreases the amount of electricity needed to light the building’s interior, high-efficiency LED lighting with smart, motion-detecting controls, and waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers. Additionally, at least 50 percent of wood used in the building is sourced from forests with certified sustainable forestry practices, about 10 percent of construction and finish materials were locally sourced, and about 20 percent of construction and finish materials contain recycled content.
U Richmond to Enlist Goats for Invasive Species Removal
Part of a four-part eco-corridor project, the goats will be used for 12 weeks to help remove invasive species. The full project includes the removal of invasive species, stormwater management, stream restoration and the construction of a multi-use recreational trail.
EPA Announces Campus RainWorks Challenge Winners
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received first place in the Demonstration Project Category for integrating a variety of green infrastructure practices into a campus parking lot, while the University of New Mexico received second place. The University of California, Berkeley earned first place in the Master Plan Category for its commitment and vision in stormwater management, while the University of Maryland, College Park earned second place. The University of Arizona received an honorable mention in both the Demonstration Project and Master Plan categories.
U Washington Installs Solar Fins for Shade & Power Generation
In an effort to reduce heat gain and use renewable energy in the university's Life Sciences Building, the building, which is still under construction, will feature vertical glass fins that include embedded photovoltaic cells along the south side of the building.
McGill U Bans Sale of Bottled Water on Campus
On the eve of World Water Day 2018, McGill has announced that it will phase out the sale of single-use bottled water over the coming year. By May 1, 2019, non-carbonated water will no longer be sold in retail and vending machine locations on the downtown and Macdonald campuses. The university also plans to work with event organizers to reduce the use of bottled water at McGill events.
North Carolina State U Tests Water Quality With Floating Islands
A faculty member and a student in biological and agricultural engineering recently installed floating islands of plants at an on-campus research site to evaluate whether the islands can improve stormwater quality. A temporary vinyl barrier divides the pond into a control side and an experimental side with water quality sensors providing continuous, multi-point data as water enters and exits the pond.
Purdue U Building Earns LEED Gold
The university's Honors College and Residences building features high-efficiency heating, cooling and ventilation equipment and water saving shower and faucet fixtures.
U Puerto Rico Partners to Deliver Clean Water
The university recently partnered with two organizations to provide continuous, clean water and power to some of those affected by the hurricanes this fall. A solar-powered system will provide long-term benefits to the local people while being used as a teaching instrument for the engineering students at the university campus.