Lighting innovations have taken the world by storm over the past few years, moving us from the incandescent bulb of Edison’s day, to LED lights that use 10 percent of the energy. This efficiency gain is helping colleges brighten up for less, and also creating safer, more pleasant dorm rooms, hallways and byways. Read about how North Carolina State University is lighting the way forward.
Campuses continue to show it can be done. The latest to take home a top LEED rating? Binghamton University’s Science and Engineering building.
Little did they know, when the students of Clarkson University pushed to have a more sustainable campus, they’d be learning to love goat cheese. Even Executive Chef Kyle Mayette admits goat cheese is an acquired taste. But it is a vital component of a delectable chicken sandwich that’s winning over hearts, minds and palates at Clarkson’s new all-local food grill.
Sierra magazine has released its Cool Schools rankings for 2013, revealing that the nation’s campuses are a hotbed of sustainable ideas that are helping cool the planet and set the pace for a new generation ready to confront climate change. We take a look at the Top 10….
Baylor University, the world’s largest Baptist-affiliated college, is known for its schools of business and law; classic, steepled campus and commitment to education with a Christian flavor. Built in 1845, the university cherishes tradition, but it is also embracing the latest technologies to save energy and preserve nature for future generations.
Concerned about the heavy toll that carbon pollution is taking on the planet, students across the US are petitioning their colleges to divest from fossil fuels….By clicking on the link to their school, students are connected either to a petition they can sign, or a website for their campus group working for fossil fuel divestment.
Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign has been turning up the heat on coal users, including campuses.
According to Sierra, 60 U.S. universities operate their own coal plants. The environmental group wants them to convert to another source of energy that produces fewer greenhouse gases, which are contributing to rapid climate change. Coal plant emissions also create ground-level pollution and contain mercury and arsenic, which ends up on land and in oceans and lakes.
Sierra magazine’s top 10 “Coolest Schools” are working hard to solve global warming, and their students are literally taking on the world by developing more sustainable food, buildings, energy sources and transportation.
Princeton Review’s new 2012 Guide to Green Colleges commends 322 colleges for green living practices and learning opportunities, but breaks the paradigm of ranking the schools or sorting them into “best of” categories.
The Review reports that it dropped the grading system because all of the 322 schools on this year’s list — winnowed from 768 that were sent surveys — “have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability initiatives.”
School cafeterias that want to reduce food waste are finding that taking away student’s trays encourages them to take less and waste less.
Now a researcher at Kansas State University has found that posting a few basic reminders to not waste food results in…less food waste.
Climate change has been a matter of debate in government circles and a talking point on news channels for many years now. But increasingly, the climate change discussion — the need to slow global warming pollution, deforestation and the loss of wildlife — is becoming a citizens’ round table.
This past weekend’s 10-10-10 work parties, rallied people of all ages, economic strata and religious beliefs who turned out in groups of 5, 10, or 100 to build gardens, promote carbon neutral transportation, plant trees and protest fossil fuels.
Ring the bell and clear the board. It’s officially time for green schools to get on the advanced building track.
The U.S. Green Building Council has announced a new project, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC, which aims to “give everyone an opportunity to attend a green school within this generation.” By that, the USGBC means it hopes that all kids will get a shot at attending a green school.
No one sends a kid to college without escaping a raft of sacred duties. There’s the requisite group reading of course offerings, the ceremonial first check writing, the buying of the coordinated bedding and the securing of a vehicle in which the newly minted young adult is launched full throttle into his or her post-secondary education experience.
But this last carbon intensive practice has never been economical, especially for young men whose insurance rates can jackhammer through mom and dad’s bank account faster than tuition fees.
More and more, people are questioning whether wheels are even necessary on campus. Many colleges can’t accommodate all those parking needs, and even on gigantic state school campuses students don’t need to drive from class to class. Often a young adult mainly needs a car to return home on weekends or holidays, a transportation need easily solved by Greyhound or Amtrak. For those occasional excursions when a car is called for, the new answer is car sharing
When the boys and girls of Spirit Lake, Iowa, load their backpacks for classes this fall, each child in grades 5 to 12 will be packing a lap top computer provided by the school district.
This bit of good fortune was funded by a special initiative. But it is not the first time Spirit Lake has stepped up to embrace new technology. In 1993 – when “renewable energy” was not widely discussed — it became the first school district in the nation to install a wind turbine, a move that has saved the district some $200,000 in energy costs.
When that pokey Wind World 250 KW turbine, financed by the state and a federal grant, was paid off, Spirit Lake put up another turbine, this one a hefty 750 KW NEGMicon, in 2001.
I’ve heard many wonks say we won’t be on track with a new energy economy in this country until we get competitive about it. Not just with other countries, but with each other.
We Americans, the theory goes, need to aim to be the best conservator of natural resources on our block instead of the biggest collectors of plasma TV screens.
Symbols of wealth and even excess carry great allure in this country, and so this will obviously require significant shifting and re-prioritizing.
Many American universities are leading the way toward a more sustainable future. They’re buying renewable power, connecting with local food sources, adding classes on sustainability and new urbanism, inventorying their carbon footprint, preserving open land and retrofitting energy-inefficient buildings — showing the rest of us how it’s done.
Sierra Club looks at all these factors and more when identifies the vanguard in this movement, lauding the colleges and universities making the most progress. This year’s 4th annual ‘Cool Schools‘ list, published this week in Sierra magazine, ranks 162 schools on their climate cooling efforts, and calls out those in the top 10.
Denise Rieger spreads hummus on a whole wheat tortilla, chops up carrots, peppers and cucumber, layers on the vegetables and rolls the tortilla into a wrap. She prepares a fresh fruit salad of strawberries and grapes and puts everything in separate compartments of a lunch box for her daughter, Elle to bring to school. Rieger goes through this time-consuming preparation five days a week because she does not want her daughter eating what is being served for lunch in the school cafeteria.
“I won’t let my kids eat anything in the cafeteria, not one bit of food!” says Rieger.
The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Thursday afternoon, reaching unanimous bipartisan consent on the measure to re-fund the existing child nutrition program before it expires September 30.
The bill would raise the federal money allotted for school lunches by 6 cents per lunch, make it easier for schools to use local farm-fresh food and push junk food out of the schools. It is supported by sustainability and nutrition advocates, as well as First Lady Michelle Obama who wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post to promote the bill.
Climate activists have launched a campaign calling on world leaders to take tangible clean energy action by putting up solar panels on the presidential digs.
The advocates are enlisting the public’s help in the Put Solar On It movement by providing a way to send an online note to U.S. President Barack Obama, India’s President Pratibha Patil, China’s President Hu Jintao, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and Australia’s Julia’s Gillard.
While many high school science students labor over the usual time-tested science projects, dissecting frogs or building toothpick bridges, a group of Houston students will soon get a cross-curriculum education in cutting-edge solar technologies.
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
The Earth Day Network, the Clean Air Campaign and UPS have launched a campaign that challenges an American tradition – idling your car outside the neighborhood school while waiting to scoop up the munchkins.
The groups are targeting active idlers because the practice needlessly pollutes the air, contributing to global warming and aggravating kids’ respiratory health issues.
By Sommer Saadi
Green Right Now
The chanting will start softly.
Thousands of young people wearing green hard hats and carrying green placards and homemade banners will converge on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It will be the final day of the five-day Power Shift 2009 national youth summit, and the expected 10,000 young activists participating will voice their opinions on what they feel is the defining challenge of their time: solving the climate crisis.
By Harriet Blake
Green Right Now
The first daughters’ new school, Sidwell Friends in Washington, has been awarded the top LEED rating of platinum. But learning institutions across the nation are joining the ranks of LEED-qualified schools, as educators recognize both the health benefits for children and the long term energy savings of building greener.
Sidwell earned 57 out of a possible 69 points on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rankings. At the recent Green Build conference in Boston, the USGBC recognized several schools, including Sidwell, for their green advances.
By Julie Bonnin
The U.S. energy policy may be in flux and economic uncertainty at an all time high but a “cap and trade” policy on greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is likely to be a major initiative not long after the upcoming presidential election.
While emissions offset trading is active in Europe and Asia, and some voluntary trading has begun in the U.S., American energy corporations are anticipating tougher emission reduction regulations and a corresponding need for traders, lawyers and other business people to work within the system as it evolves.
Thus far no one’s come out with “Carbon Trading for Dummies.” But the University of Houston, through a joint program of the C. T. Bauer College of Business and UH Law Center, will offer what is thought to be the country’s first comprehensive carbon trading course in spring of 2009.
When David Kilbourne picked up his 8-year-old son from Lake Travis Elementary in spring 2007, he noticed smoke billowing from idling buses parked in queue behind the school. The exhaust fumes his son was breathing each day as he waited to be picked up, he says, were contributing to his son’s migraine headaches. “My son is the quarterback for his youth football team,” said Kilbourne. “Because there’s only one quarterback, when he gets these headaches, it affects the team.”
Kilbourne remembers noticing the bus exhaust during the school’s bus safety week. “They were talking about how buses are safe when it comes to traffic accidents,” he said, “but there’s more to a bus’s safety than traffic accidents, like having air that’s safe to breathe.”
The coincidence spurred Kilbourne to take action. Not only did he write several letters to his local newspaper, but Kilbourne approached the head of his district’s transportation department to discuss air quality in and around its buses. After he spoke to Rick Walterscheid, the transportation director at the Lake Travis Independent School District, the school system put a no-idling policy into effect.
Walterscheid didn’t stop there, either. Later that year the 79th Texas Legislature adopted House Bill 3469, which established and authorized the formation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to administer a statewide clean school bus program.