UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn


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EcoMadness Winners!

The final results of EcoMadness 2013 are in, and we have our winners!

Congratulations, Allen/Kingston, Beecher/Vinton, Sprague and Holcomb!

Water

Throughout the entire competition, Towers claimed first place in the water reduction category. During the first week, Beecher/Vinton was in first place, but for the rest of the competition, Allen/Kingston continued to represent Towers and overtook the water reduction category. By the end of the competition, Allen/Kingston had managed to reduce their water consumption by a very impressive 10.3%.  Sprague ended up remaining in second place for a majority of the competition, finishing with a 9.6% reduction. Similarly, Hanks of Northwest campus remained in third place for most of duration of EcoMadness and finished with a 4.9% reduction. Sprague also placed as a leader in per capita water usage with 31.9 gallons of water used per student, followed by two Northwest campus dormitories – Terry and Hanks – with 33.3 and 33.9 gallons of water used per student.

Energy

Towers, again, took over the energy reduction category for most of the competition. During the first, second and third week, Beecher/Vinton, Hamilton/Wade/Fenwick/Keller and Allen/Kingston of Towers placed high in the leaderboards.  Sprague and Shippee also placed in the energy reduction category. At the end of the competition, Beecher/Vinton placed first, Whitney placed second and Shippee placed third with a 6.4%, 6.3% and 5.2% reduction, respectively.  Holcomb, Hollister A/Hollister B and Buckley were the leaders in per capita electricity usage. Students in Holcomb used 3.2 kWh, students in Hollister A/Hollister B used 3.3 kWh and students in Buckley used 3.4 kWh of electricity.

EcoMadness Kick Off Party in East

EcoMadness Kick Off Party in East

EcoMadness Kick Off Party in NorthWest

EcoMadness Kick Off Party in NorthWest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reductions were close, all around, with only a few gallons and kWh separating first from second and third place! Overall, however, it is thrilling to be able to see so many dormitories reduce their water and energy consumption throughout the entire course of EcoMadness. Although the competition is over, continue to keep up the great work and remember to keep conserving! And, to the winners of EcoMadness 2013, be sure to enjoy your ice cream party! You should be proud of yourself for demonstrating excellent conservation and sustainable lifestyle practices throughout the entire four weeks of the semester.

– Meredith


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Dairy Bar LED Light Bulbs

If you’ve passed by the Dairy Bar recently, you may have noticed a new sustainability feature on campus: Solar Powered LED Streetlights.  With just one day of sun, these streetlights can power their bulbs for an entire week!  In addition, the LED bulbs use less watts than traditional incandescent bulbs for the same amount of light, and have a much longer lifespan.  These streetlights will contribute to UConn’s continuous goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Image


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Sherman Complex Relamping

Over the summer UConn completed a retrofitting of the stadium lights at the Sherman Field Complex. This project was a collaboration between UConn Athletics, Facilities, and the Office of Environmental Policy. The project, which cost $323,000, replaced the old stadium lights with a Various benefits of MUSCO Light Structure Green™ system will end up saving the university $11,000 and 4,000 lbs. of CO2 per year. Below is a side by side look at the new (left) and old (right) fixtures.

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The new system uses fewer fixtures (95 instead of 220) and these fixtures also use less energy per fixture. These in tandem yield a 55% energy savings compared to the old system (150kw down from 337 kw). The system also employs an advanced control system with online controls to minimize excess light use. In addition to this, the fixtures produce less waste and require less maintenance work because the new lamps last approximately 2000 hours longer and there is a 25 year vendor maintenance contract. Finally the new lights reduce glare and light pollution by 50% which makes them “Dark Skies” compliant.

The Sherman Field Project is one of the more visible energy efficiency initiatives at UConn and it certainly demonstrates the university’s commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.


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Campus Sustainability Day

Yesterday, UConn observed an important day in the world of environmentalism: Campus Sustainability Day.  This event was especially exciting this year, as it gave us the opportunity to celebrate our new #1 ranking in the Sierra Club’s “Coolest Schools” Survey!

In the morning, representatives from green organizations like the Sierra Club and EcoHusky Avery Point, as well as students, faculty, donors, and members of university departments who assisted in the completion of and success of the AASHE STARS survey gathered enthusiastically for a celebratory breakfast and remarks by President Herbst.  The president spoke about the pride our university feels from the new ranking, as well as the enduring importance of environmental sustainability.

Catering provided a delicious and locally sourced breakfast!

Catering provided a delicious and locally sourced breakfast!

Despite the early time, many people came to celebrate UConn's accomplishments in sustainability!

Despite the early time, many people came to celebrate UConn’s accomplishments in sustainability!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OEP staff and interns talk to the many people who helped us get to #1

OEP staff and interns talk to the many people who helped us get to #1

Later that day, we continued our celebration with a fun and educational viewing of the movie WALL-E, which was open to all members of the student body.  (For those of you who haven’t seen it, check it out!  It does a wonderful job of being both entertaining and informative on the topic of resource sustainability.)

Spring Valley Student Farm Students tabling outside the theater.

Spring Valley Student Farm Students tabling outside the theater.

Student Groups sharing their projects with the audience

Student Groups sharing their projects with the audience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As students filtered into the theater, environmental groups on campus like Spring Valley Farm, EcoHouse, the Environmental Committee of Honors Council, and EcoHusky spoke about their roles in campus sustainability.  Then, students kicked back and enjoyed the film, which prepared them for a lively post-movie discussion about sustainability initiatives at UConn, as well as ways to better reach students on topics concerning the environment.

About 65 students came out to enjoy Wall-E and talk about sustainability

About 65 students came out to enjoy Wall-E and talk about sustainability

We had a great group of students stay after for our discussion of sustainability at UConn

We had a great group of students stay after for our discussion of sustainability at UConn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to all who made this day such a fantastic celebration!

-Kerrin

For more information on yesterday’s Campus Sustainability Day’s events, please read these Daily Campus articles written by Molly Miller:


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EcoHusky and EcoHouse Compost at the Hartford Marathon

The annual ING Hartford Marathon was held on Saturday, October 12th in Bushnell Park. This year, EcoHusky and EcoHouse volunteers partnered with ING to help educate the runners and their family and friends on the importance of composting, as well as to promote UConn’s Sierra #1 Coolest Schools Ranking.

Approximately 30 volunteers attended the event and helped “man-the-can.”  Garbage, recycling, and composting bins were placed together and volunteers monitored and instructed on the disposal of waste.

Volunteers "manning" the can to help direct waste into the proper container

Volunteers “manning” the can to help direct waste into the proper container

Volunteers encourage people to compost and recycle

Volunteers encourage people to compost and recycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like UConn, Hartford also has single stream recycling. This means that any recyclable—glass, metal, paper, plastic—can be placed in the same bin and it will later be separated at a recycling facility. This simplifies the process of recycling and promotes consumer participation.

Both UConn and Hartford have single stream recycling - any recyclable can go in any bin!

Both UConn and Hartford have single stream recycling – any recyclable can go in any bin!

EcoHusky Officers spell out UCONN!

EcoHusky Officers spell out UCONN!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runners were provided with an assortment of food options after their race including bagels, apple crumble, and grilled cheese. They were advised on what food is compostable—this applies to most products but excludes dairy and meat and thus some food had to be disposed of in the garbage bins. Fortunately, however, runners were given their food on compostable plates with compostable napkins so only the plastic spork could not be composted. Composting is an earth-friendly way to reduce methane emissions from landfills and support carbon footprint reduction. It enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and reduces the need of harmful chemical fertilizers. Compost can be used on your yard and saves money.

EcoHusky members also set up a table in the park where they had a memory-matching recycling game and sustainability themed trivia questions to engage those passing by.

People stopped by to play a recycling themed memory game and answer sustainability trivia

People stopped by to play a recycling themed memory game and answer sustainability trivia

In addition to promoting composting, this served as an opportunity for volunteers to inform members outside of its own community about the many sustainability initiatives and programs at UConn. Runners come from all throughout Connecticut to participate in the marathon so it offered UConn the occasion to discuss our recently earned Sierra #1 Coolest Schools ranking.

OEP Interns Kerrin and Emily promote UConn's #1 Sierra Club ranking

OEP Interns Kerrin and Emily promote UConn’s #1 Sierra Club ranking

 

– Emily


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Blog Action Day 2013: Human Rights and the Environment

Typically we think of human rights as things like the right not to be tortured, or the right to free speech and we think of environmental problems as things like pollution or climate change, things that have technical solutions.  So how do human rights and the environment go together?

1. Many things that are human rights (the right to life, the right to water, the right to food, the right to health) require a clean and safe environment.  My own research on the human right to water constantly interacts with environmental work on clean water.

2. Some human rights theorists and activists argue that we actually have a human right to a clean environment, because so many other rights are dependent on the environment.  See Richard Hiskes’ book The Human Right to a Green Future for an example.

3. Human rights are interdependent, indivisible, and interrelated.  This means that when we look at the environment from a human rights perspective, we have to recognize and respect all other human rights at the same time.  For example, recycling E-Waste is really important, because it helps reclaim important materials for reuse, and it keeps toxic materials out of landfills.  However, many e-waste recyclers outsource the work to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, or China.  There, the electronics are taken apart by people who are paid very little, given no safety protection, and are often children.  In attempting to work towards an environmental goal, human rights are being violated.  However, there are a growing number of responsible e-waste recyclers, so you can both respect human rights and protect the environment by taking a more holistic human rights-based approach.

Human rights are about more than just free speech – human rights are about protecting human dignity and allowing people to live full and fulfilling lives – that includes having a healthy environment!

– Corinne


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Coordinator’s Corner: Everywhere you look…

Since I started working at the OEP in May I’ve learned a lot and worked on a lot of different projects.  I expected to be busy, and I expected gain a new perspective on how sustainability works at UConn.  What I didn’t expect was how sustainability would change the way I see EVERYTHING!

When I walk through campus, or through town, I notice every time I see a trash can without a recycling bin next to it.  On my walk from my other office in Oak hall to where I park, there are 8 trashcans without recycling containers within easy reach.  I ended up carrying a soda can all the way to my car so that I could recycle it at home, rather than putting it in the trash.  When I went to a conference in Boston, I stayed at a Doubletree Hotel and appreciated that their trash bins actually had separate containers for trash and recycling (and mentioned it to the front desk).  When I see someone go to throw something recyclable away, I try to stop them and direct them to the correct bin.

When people complain about something (like they lack a recycling bin in their office or at the band field) or  ask questions about something, like they don’t know why our power plant is called the co-gen, I have solutions and answers.

It’s really exciting learning how everything actually runs at UConn, and it’s really empowering to be able to help address problems, or answer questions, instead of just sitting around talking about something.

-Corinne