UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn


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5 Reasons to Check out SolarizeU

With recent media hype surrounding the mind-blowing Solar Impulse 2, a solar-powered plane set to travel around the globe, it is clear that this renewable energy source has come a long way since it first appeared commercially in the ‘50s [1].  Over the last century, photovoltaic (PV) technology has developed immensely, playing an increasingly significant role in environmental initiatives to move away from fossil fuels and mitigate climate change.  Unfortunately, opportunities for everyday homeowners to solarize have seemed few and far between.

Luckily for Connecticut residents, UConn has been selected to participate in Solarize U – a program that allows state homeowners to get involved in the solar movement.  Through Solarize U, CT locals can implement PV technology in their own homes at low rates from reputable solar installers.

Interested in learning more?  Here are the top five reasons why you should check out Solarize U for yourself.

1.) Save money on your electric bill

By installing solar panels on your home, you will immediately begin to generate your own electricity.  As you make payments towards your loan or purchase, you will be generating enough electricity from your solar panels to be cash-flow positive.  Additionally, excess electricity produced in your home can be sold back to the grid at the end of year.

2.) Receive the lowest installation rates on the market

Currently, solar panel installation rates range widely from company to company.  How do you know if you’re getting a good deal?  Through SolarizeU, Connecticut residents automatically receive some of the best rates on the market with the programs pre-screened installers.

3.) It’s easy

SolarizeU has created a simple, online process for taking the next steps towards going solar. All you need to do is head to UConn’s “EnergySage” website to get started.

          Step 1: Register online

               – Register and complete your property profile

          Step 2: Pre-screened installers submit quotes online

               – Installers compete for your business

          Step 3: Compare quotes online

               – Pick the best quote for you and save with solar!

4.) There’s no obligation

If you decide against all of the solar quote options, no worries!  Solar installers will only contact you if you so request.

5.) Combat climate change

Climate change has become a major issue on the environmental forefront.  Through using solar power as your home’s energy source, you will be decreasing your carbon footprint and releasing less harmful emissions into the atmosphere.  Help do your part in saving the environment!

Act fast!  The program ends on June 30th.solarize

If you have further questions, please contact Bernie Pelletier and Kate Donnelly, Solarize U Outreach Managers, at bpelletier@smartpower.org and kdonnelly@smartpower.org respectively, or call the Office of Environmental Policy at (860) 486-5773.

[1] http://www.sunlightelectric.com/pvhistory.php


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Green Game Day – UConn Women’s Basketball Edition

DSC03236February 28th was quite a day for UConn Women’s Basketball. Not only did the Huskies win their second-straight American Athletic Conference regular season crown; Kiah Stokes earned her 300th block, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis joined UConn’s 2,000 point club!

Despite all of the excitement, UConn fans still found time to recycle their bottles at the game. This season’s Women’s Basketball Green Game Day was a success, yet again. Volunteers from EcoHusky, EcoHouse, and the Office of Environmental Policy encouraged fans to recycle, promoted future green events, and collected countless bags of bottles after the game.fan and volunteers The responses from fans of all ages were enthusiastic and positive. So many of them expressed that they already practice great recycling strategies, which is fantastic to hear, and others appreciated the efforts and devotion of the volunteers to such a great cause.

A big thank you to all of the volunteers and fans that came out to the game and brought with them their excellent approaches to recycling!


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Hey UConn, Recycle!

recyling v. waste graphRecycling is the law! According to the CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, every single resident of Connecticut must recycle. Fortunately, UConn has worked very hard to ensure that recycling on campus is effortless and accessible. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, our recycling rate has increased nearly 2 percent, equivalent to over 50 tons! 

In the past, recycling was a confusing, time consuming task, especially for students in a rush to get to class. If there were no visible recycling bins nearby, one would simply toss their bottle into a garbage can. Even with recycling bins in sight, so many individuals were unsure of what items belonged in what bins, so they would either throw their bottle into an incorrect bin or a garbage can. The problem did not stem from a lack of motive, but from confusion and inconvenience.

mixed recycling posterNew mixed recycling bins are designed to eliminate confusion regarding what items can be placed in what bin. Indicated by the bright blue color and distinct lid shape, these mixed recycling bins are all over campus. With an opening configured for both bottles and paper, nearly any recyclable, including plastics bottles, metal cans, milk cartons, newspapers and magazines, paper, books, and cardboard, can be tossed into this type of bin. It is no surprise that in 2014, 32 percent of the waste diverted at UConn came from mixed recycling. Now, when students are rushing to class, it takes no more time or effort to place a bottle in a mixed bin than it does to throw it into a garbage can.

mixed recycling binDespite UConn’s efforts to make recycling timely and convenient, there still exists a lack of knowledge and understanding of the concept of mixed recycling bins to a degree. Many are not aware of the new guidelines, and are still unsure of what can be thrown out where. It is imperative that those who understand the concept and intention of these bins educate those students, faculty, and staff that do not. Spreading the word will make a world of a difference on our campus!


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UConn joins Workplace Charging Challenge

logoLast month, UConn’s Office of Environmental Policy joined the company of many other universities, large companies and institutions by signing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to have the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging to increase tenfold by 2018. By joining, UConn shows a commitment to providing charging station access to employees, assessing demand for charging stations, establishing a workplace charging plan, and sharing workplace charging progress and best practices to other institutions. UConn already fits the basic criteria for this challenge with three active Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations and one on the way. These charging stations are located in the Motor Pool parking lot off of North Hillside vanRoad and in North Garage. Benefits for joining the Workplace Charging Challenge include informational resources and technical assistance for EV charging stations, assistance in assessing the feasibility of charging stations, exchange of information and networking with other organizations, and recognition of UConn’s EV charging station progress.

Signing the Workplace Charging Challenge is great for the university as it promotes an initiative we’ve already invested in!

-Chris