Wellesley College Commits $24M to Energy Initiatives
Based on recommendations from a task force assembled to assess the energy needs of the college, the board of trustees has committed approximately $24 million to be spent over the next three years on a multipart energy initiative. The college will make the following improvements in its buildings and central utility plant: replace the steam absorption chiller plant with an electric chiller plant; decommission five natural gas electricity generators and increase renewable energy; construct a power plant that will generate electricity during peak electrical-use periods and during power grid failures; and improve energy efficiency in campus buildings.
U Washington Uses E-Bikes to Deliver Campus Mail
The university's Mailing Services now uses a fleet of electric-assist cargo bicycles to deliver nearly all mail to 455 departments on the Seattle campus. Mailing Services used a grant from the Campus Sustainability Fund to purchase five of the bikes. Since phasing out trucks, deliveries now take 10 percent less time and 30 percent fewer miles traveled.
Kansas State U Buys Wind Energy
The university has signed a 20-year agreement to receive approximately 50 percent of the electricity needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a nearby wind farm. It is estimated that the new deal will save the university nearly $200,000 annually. Kansas State University is one of 14 Kansas organizations that will receive electricity from the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center.
U Technology Sydney Purchases Electricity From 32 MW Solar Farm
(Australia) The university has signed a renewable energy power purchase agreement for the output of a 32 megawatts of electricity from a solar farm in northern New South Wales. The university will purchase the equivalent of half its annual electricity demand.
Yale Divinity School Announces Air Travel Offset Program
The Yale Divinity School has launched a new program to offset the environmental impacts of academic and administrative travel. Inspired by other universities with offset programs, domestic flights will incur a $50 charge and international flights will incur a $100 charge. The revenue from the charge/tax will be used to support sustainability efforts at Yale Divinity School.
Whitman College Creates Plan to Divest From Fossil Fuels
The Whitman College board of trustees unanimously approved a new investment policy that directs the college to begin reducing ownership in fossil fuels and to not invest in any companies listed on the Carbon Underground 200. This action was taken in response to a proposal submitted by the student-led organization Divest Whitman.
Salem State U to Install 387 KW Solar Electric With $193K Grant
As part of a $5 million solar grant program launched earlier this year by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Salem State is receiving the first award of $193,500 for three photovoltaic systems totaling 387 kilowatts. Estimated to save the university $28,500 in annual electricity costs, the installations are projected to generate 439,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity through a 20-year third-party power purchase agreement with no upfront costs.
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.
U Queensland Diverts Cardboard From Landfill By Reusing for Horse Bedding
(Australia) Used cardboard boxes are now turned into bedding material for horses and foals at the university's VETS Equine Specialist Hospital. Using cardboard allows the university to save approximately $80,000 (100,000 Australian dollars) annually in bedding costs. The initiative was originally developed by the 2017 cohort of Agribusiness students as part of an integrated learning project to make the university’s Gatton campus more sustainable. The project is now sourcing additional cardboard waste from local supermarkets.
U Notre Dame Installs 2-Acre Green Roof
Home to the Fighting Irish Athletics Department, the building now has a 79,096-square-foot vegetative rooftop. The layout consists of 25 plant species, including 22 varieties of sedum. A rooftop irrigation system also was installed.
U Notre Dame to Close Coal Plant One Year Early
Last month, the senior director of Utilities and Maintenance said the campus power plant will cease burning coal sometime in 2019, one year ahead of the initially predicted deadline in 2020. This recent decision is a direct result of the Comprehensive Sustainability Strategy, a multi-pronged plan for a more sustainable campus. The strategy, created by a standing committee of faculty, administrators, undergraduates, graduate students and campus staff, is organized into six areas of focus: energy and emissions; water; building and construction; waste; procurement, licensing and food sourcing; and education, research and community outreach.
Maharishi U Management Receives $200K Grant to Conduct Solar Array Comparisons
In addition to providing a third of the electricity on campus, the university’s new 1.1 megawatt solar array will be compared to another solar array in Iowa. Funded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the $200,000 grant will enable evaluation of return on investment, operation and maintenance issues, battery performance, and effectiveness of solar tracking. A state-level committee will evaluate the findings of this research project and consider how to widely apply the lessons learned.
Marshall U Offers Bike Share Program
Called Rolling Thunder, a fleet of 30 new white bikes will allow Marshall students and staff to access bikes for free for the first two hours and $5-per-hour after the first two hours.
U Nebraska Enters 5-Year Partnership to Save Energy
Recommended by a university-wide committee and approved by the Board of Regents in June, a new five-year partnership with an energy-efficiency company aims to find energy savings across the university's campuses through technology- and behavior-based strategies. Each month during the partnership, the university will pay the company 50 percent of total energy savings realized during that month that resulted from the firm’s recommendations.
Monash U to Deploy Microgrid With Storage
(Australia) Building upon the university’s $135 million commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030, the university is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to build a microgrid that will control a minimum of 1 megawatts of solar panels, 20 buildings, electric vehicle charging stations and 1 megawatt-hour of energy storage. The goal is to demonstrate how a 100 percent renewable electricity system can operate reliably and the value it can provide to consumers and the broader energy network.
U Waterloo Opens Vegan-Vegetarian Restaurant
The university's first restaurant dedicated to vegan and vegetarian cuisine, called FRSH, focuses all menu items on low-impact options such as salads, flatbreads and hot bowls. Though a couple dishes contain dairy, all menu items feature plant-based proteins. The change comes after students and employees expressed increasing interest in more vegan and vegetarian options on campus.
Pennsylvania State U Announces 2 MW Solar Project
The two-megawatt utility-scale photovoltaic project will provide one percent of University Park's campus electric needs. Included in the project will be an educational kiosk supporting academic instruction and research, sharing real-time performance data of the array.
Southern Oregon U to Install 392 KW of Photovoltaics
Three new photovoltaic arrays, amounting to a 57 percent increase in solar generating capacity for the school, will have a total capacity of 391.45 kilowatts. One array will be funded by the Associated Students of Southern Oregon University’s Green Fund, and the university will pay the fund back for the electricity generated by the system.
U New Mexico Receives $20M for SMART Grid Center
Funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation, a consortium of universities, research laboratories and industry partners will contribute to a SMART Grid Center at the University of New Mexico. The SMART Grid Center, which stands for Sustainable, Modular, Adaptive, Resilient and Transactive, will support an integrated research and education program for the development of a modern electric grid. The research program seeks to transform existing electricity distribution feeders into interconnected microgrids and will utilize multiple testbeds across New Mexico.
Boston U Announces 15-Year Wind PPA
The university announced plans to buy electricity from 48.6 megawatts of wind generation capacity annually through a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 15 years. Last year BU used 205,000 megawatt-hours, which is what it plans to purchase from the wind facility annually. The university will receive and retire the associated 205,000 Green-e Certified renewable energy certificates. The electricity will feed the South Dakota electrical grid, one where BU can displace more fossil fuel intense electricity production.
Western Carolina U Hosts Air Quality Monitors
Clean Air Carolina, a North Carolina advocacy group, recently provided air quality monitors at two university locations for both research and providing real-time data to the public about weather fluctuations and particle pollution in the region. Students will be involved in data collection and measuring environmental hazards, with applications for course work, research projects and regional ecological assessment.
U North Carolina Charlotte Adopts Air Quality Measures for Construction
The university, with assistance from Clean Air Carolina, recently changed its Design and Construction Manual to require contracted companies to reduce diesel fuel emissions while working on campus. These new standards, which apply to all future construction projects on campus, discourage prolonged idling of equipment on construction sites and require all equipment to use the lowest exhaust emissions possible.
U Richmond Procures Solar Energy for 100% of Its Electricity
The university has announced a partnership with sPower to construct a 130-acre, 20 megawatt solar array 50 miles away from campus. Expecting to go online in 2020, the 47,000-panel array is projected to produce 41,000 megawatt-hours of solar energy.
U Iowa Residence Hall Earns LEED Gold
The Catlett Residence Hall includes energy efficient windows and the use of natural light throughout, high-efficiency HVAC and lighting systems are controlled by occupancy sensors, and Energy Star-certified laundry, kitchen and dishwashing equipment, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Seventy-six percent of waste was diverted from the landfill.
Flinders U Installs 1.8 MW Photovoltaic Carport
(Australia) The solar electric system will go online in October and is projected to provide 20 percent of needed electricity for the university’s Bedford Park campus. It will include a charging dock for recharging planned autonomous shuttles and plug-in electric vehicles. Costing 4.895 million Australian dollars ($3.6 million) it is expected to pay for itself within seven years. Flinders' draft sustainability plan indicates its commitment to achieve zero net emissions from electricity by 2020.
California State U East Bay Approves First Climate Action Plan
In early May 2018, the campus completed one of Second Nature's Carbon Commitment milestones by approving its first Climate Action Plan. The plan, which includes immediate, near-, medium- and long- action steps, indicates the university has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.
U Hawaiʻi Mānoa Launches 2 MW Solar Installation
The installation includes a large photovoltaic canopy on the top deck of the university's main parking structure as well as several rooftop systems. The university is buying the electricity under a power purchase agreement that is expected to save between $2 million to $8 million over its lifetime, depending on future energy costs.
SUNY Purchase Completes Energy Retrofit
The State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase campus recently completed the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting at its Performing Arts Center, the library, and in campus streetlights. In addition to lowering greenhouse gas emissions, the project is estimated to save taxpayers more than $161,000 annually.
St. Lawrence U Enters PPA for Solar Energy
Entering into a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), the university will purchase solar electricity from a 2.9-megawatt photovoltaic solar system located just outside of Watertown, New York. The system, which came online in mid-July, is expected to produce 18 percent of the university’s total annual electricity consumption.
Tiffin U Begins Construction on 240 KW Photovoltaic Array
Construction of the 240-kilowatt solar electric system will begin in October, which will be mounted on the university's indoor practice arena. It is projected to supply approximately 26 percent of the annual electricity consumption of the building.
Marshall U Rolls Out Bike Loan Program
Starting fall 2018, students will be able to check out bicycles to ride around campus for free through a new Eco Bike Loan Program, which will have 30 bikes available for use by students, faculty and staff.
U South Florida St. Petersburg Receives LEED Platinum for Lab
The university’s Warehouse Laboratory, which houses biology, chemistry and physics labs, was an old Greyhound bus service station whose entire shell, walls and floor were kept during a recent renovation. It features a 40-kilowatt solar carport, a new roof, an energy-efficient heating and air system, and enhanced insulation.
U Alabama Birmingham Installs 16 EV Charging Stations
Employees at the university now have access to 16 new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at four campus locations. Employees can refuel their electric vehicles at the stations free of charge. Later this summer, there will be two additional chargers available to employees, bringing the total to 18.
U College Cork Divests From Projects With Environmental Impact
(Ireland) The new pledge announces the university's divestment from all projects with adverse environmental consequences and is intended to ensure that the university accounts for a diverse range of environmental, social and governance concerns in its financial decision-making. In conjunction with this decision, the university has joined the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).
Nelson Mandela U to Construct Large Solar Farm
(South Africa) The university's South Campus will soon be producing just over 10 percent of its electricity needs thanks to a large solar array that will produce 1,740 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. The university has given a solar company a piece of land upon which they will install and maintain the plant for 10 years, selling the energy back to the university. At the 10-year mark, the university will take over ownership of the power plant and will no longer have to buy the electricity produced. The solar farm will contain a combination of single-axis and double-axis trackers.
Loughborough U Divests From Fossil Fuels
(U.K.) Following conversations with both students and staff members of the university, the university will no longer invest funds in fossil fuel companies and will withdraw all current investments in such organizations within three years.
Queens' College Initiates Divest/Invest Strategy
(U.K.) The college will shift its investments in fossil fuel companies within the roughly $114 million (86 million British pounds) endowment into environmental, social and governance-screened (ESG) companies.
Monash U to Purchase Wind Energy & RECs
(Australia) In an effort to help meet its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, the university recently signed an agreement from the Murra Warra Wind Farm in Western Victoria, Australia, to buy the rights to both electricity and renewable energy certificates. This long-term power purchase agreement is part of the first stage of the 226 megawatt Murra Warra Wind Farm, which is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational in 2019.
Nova Scotia CC Team Builds Mobile, Solar-Powered Microgrid
The college's Applied Energy Research team has developed a microgrid that uses solar panels and a system of converters and deep-cycle batteries that can store and produce up to 48 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Part of the aim of the research is to build a reliable microgrid that can be deployed to remote areas without conventional power sources, temporary hospitals in disaster zones, and to run small electric cars.
U Denver Pilots New Shuttle
Building on the momentum of providing sustainable transportation options to students and staff, the university is piloting a new, subsidized shuttle service. The new service will provide rides along two designated routes around the perimeter of campus, with stops that include the university's light rail station, the new administrative building and four other locations around campus.
Arizona State U Launches 'Carbon Project'
The ASU Carbon Project is a program that purchases carbon offset credits and supports local projects that mitigate carbon. To partially fund the carbon-reduction initiatives, the university enacted a mandatory price on carbon for all ASU-sponsored air travel at a current rate of $8 per round-trip flight. The ASU Carbon Project will begin to use these funds for carbon offset credits in 2025.
US EPA Releases Top 30 List of Green Power Users
The Environmental Protection Agency's Top 30 College & University list highlights the largest green power users among higher education institutions within the Green Power Partnership. The combined green power use of these organizations amounts to more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Nine of the top 30 institutions are meeting 100 percent (or more) of their electricity demand with green power.
U Minnesota Duluth Adds 40 KW Solar System to Residential Apartments
After three years of planning by a student organization called the Solar University Network (SUN) Delegation, the university connected a 40 kilowatt solar electric system to the Aspen Building, part of its Oakland Apartment Complex. The installation was funded by a student service fee, the university's green revolving fund and UMD's Housing and Residence Life. The system is expected to reduce electricity costs by about $3,500 per year.
2018 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Announces Winners
California State University at Long Beach, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Tung Hai University (Taiwan), and the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) were recently named institutional winners of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a competition that asks innovators to create nature-inspired inventions that reverse, mitigate or adapt to climate change. Over 60 teams from 16 countries entered the challenge. Finalist teams receive cash prizes and an invitation to the 2018-19 Biomimicry Launchpad.
Shepherd U & U West Indies Receive $100K Grant Each Install Solar Array on Library
The $100,000 grants, awarded on behalf of EBSCO's 2018 solar grant program, will offset the cost of installing solar panels at the two schools' libraries. Solar energy on Shepherd University's library will be the first building on campus to use net metering to offset an academic building's energy consumption, while the installation at the University of the West Indies will help the school reduce electricity supplied from conventional sources.