Going Green on Campus

 

   


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Sunday Jun 25, 2017 Going Green on Campus Back in early April, Chrissy from Let's Go Solar sent me a link to an interesting article by Toren Elste called "Going Green on Campus".  While the article didn't seem a good fit for my links pages it did have lots of interesting tips for living a more sustainable life.  I always thought it would make a good subject for one of my blogs and I finally got some time to actually write about it.

 

Toren Elste is an outreach and event specialist in the Department of Sustainability at the University of Washington.  With degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Science and a passion for the environment that dates back to childhood she is eminently qualified to write about sustainability.

 

At the top of the page is a neat little quiz that gives you eight questions and then tells you how you scored on the green scale.  After I worked out that I needed to answer the first question to get the next question to appear I breezed through the test scoring 8 out of 8 and being declared a green machine.  To be honest I fudged a couple of the questions.  For example I would definitely turn the lights off when leaving the room and I have many of the vampire loads unplugged when not in use but there are a few that I leave on for convenience, including one too many electric clocks.   
 
Below that there is an index that zips you  down the page to the appropriate section.  These section are oriented towards college students and campus life but they do offer a pretty good summary of some of the ways that you can make your lifestyle more sustainable.  Many of the things in here are things that you can do without much effort too.

 
Two of these sections caught my eye as being appropriate to the electric car movement.  The section on clean energy noted that fossil fuels were a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and listed some ways that colleges were working to reduce their fossil fuel usage.  Interestingly it only listed solar energy and biofuels ignoring both hydro power and wind energy.  Solar of course is becoming a no-brainer as costs are now falling below most fossil fuels, but unless your focus is strictly on greenhouse gases biofuels are a bit hit and miss.  Bio-diesel in particular can still produce unhealthy amounts of particulates which greatly reduces its effectiveness as a true green alternative.

 

The other section I zoomed in on was transportation.  This is of course the focus of evfinder.com so I was most interested in this section.  It did mention how colleges are keeping things cleaner by moving toward electric vehicles but it also included the use of bio-diesel and I have already commented on that above.  The article doesn't make the link but of course many supporters of EVs think that the best solution is EV plus PV (solar).

 

Still it does go into other things that can certainly make for a healthier planet.  It focuses on bike share programs which are actually a very good way to get around on a large campus.  It also talks about incentives to rideshare for staff and students that live off campus.  When I used to work a long way from home I carpooled and I  know that the incentives we had were very nice.  Unfortunately the company I worked for determined that they didn't actually increase the number of people that rideshared so the incentives were eventually dropped.

 

Much of the rest of the site included things like selecting items that have less packaging or reducing the amount of stuff that you buy, and consider buying used items instead of new.  The idea of buying locally produced items is also included.  Buying local reduces the environmental impact of shipping goods over long distances.  There isn't anything really new at this site but it puts most ideas in one place and it is a good source to review against you current lifestyle to see how you stack up.  After writing the first draft of this blog in encouraged me to drop off my recycling and buy some locally sourced produce for lunch.

 

I recommend that you review Going Green on Campus for yourself it's worth a look and might even create some new behavior to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

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