May 7, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SRU OKs five additional 'green' projects
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University President Robert Smith has approved five additional "green" projects that will benefit the campus and the environment. The projects recommended by the Green Fund Advisory Board total $29,286.
The recent approvals bring to nearly $50,000 the amount the Green Fund has awarded this academic year.
The Green Fund is a student-initiated program approved in 2008 that makes use of University funds in support of projects and programs that support the environment and provide environmental and sustainable education opportunities. Funding, awarded through a grant application process, supports environmental-related initiatives on campus or in the community.
The latest round of requests approved for funding are:
o $9,390 for an Electric Meter Project in the Physical Therapy Building, sought by Scott Albert, director of facilities and planning;
o $5,800 for a lighting control system at N. Kerr Thompson Stadium, sought by Albert;
o $4,170 for an Electric Meter Project in Swope Music Hall, sought by Albert;
o $8,135 for purchase of a second recycling baler, sought by William Rudloff, director of environmental health and safety; and
o $1,801 for a solar-powered inflation station at the Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, sought by James Stitt, a graduate assistant in the masters in sustainable systems program.
"All of these grant requests brought with them great ideas for going 'green,'" said Smith, in announcing the grant approvals. "The ideas coming from faculty, staff and students show that the environment is a major concern on campus. Many in our community see these projects as helping SRU continue its leadership in bringing new, innovative and exciting green ideas to the forefront."
Jerry Chmielewski, SRU biology professor, is chair of SRU's Green Fund Advisory Board, which reviews and recommends project funding.
The student-led greening initiative involving vehicle tire pressure includes a campaign designed to help the campus and general public become more aware of the importance of tire pressure, which is measured in pounds per square inch.
The project, organized by Stitt, involves a plan to build a portable, self-contained, solar- powered tire pressure monitoring and inflation system that will be used at special campus and community events to help educate the public about the importance of monitoring and maintaining proper tire pressure as a way to improve vehicle fuel mileage.
In his grant request, Stitt reported U.S. government information suggests the average person could improve their fuel economy as much as 3.3 percent by maintaining proper tire pressure on their vehicle. Mileage reportedly drops .3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure.
He said the system would be used at campus events such as Earth Day, Week of Welcome and in connection with RecycleMania and other events where public interest will be piqued by display and use of a solar-powered air pump.
Electric meter installations were approved for both the Physical Therapy Building and Swope Music Hall. "The meters will measure the effectiveness of energy initiatives implemented in the buildings, which in turn will help us to reduce electricity usage," Albert said. "By reducing electricity use, we are using less electricity generated from coal. It will also help reduce operating costs and reduce our carbon footprint.
The meters will track electricity usage in the buildings and will help the University determine whether or not policy or operating changes have an actual impact on electrical consumption on campus.
This summer, SRU has consolidated summer classes in key buildings, allowing reduced use of air-conditioning and lighting in a number of the lesser-used facilities.
The meters will be installed over the summer.
Albert said the difference in meter cost between the two buildings was the fact that the Physical Therapy Building is fed by a higher voltage electric line, thus requiring a higher voltage, and more expensive, meter.
Funding from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is paying for meters in eight other SRU buildings and collected data will be used to compile a comprehensive report.
A third energy-use project's goal is also to reduce electricity usage on campus by measuring the effectiveness of using lighting controls at the football stadium.
The grant application reported the project expects to see a 177-kilowatt per hour energy savings when unnecessary lighting is turned off. The savings rate is projected at $14.91 per hour when lights are turned off.
The request noted there have been times when the stadium's lights have been turned on by unauthorized personnel and are sometimes left on overnight. The project request expects that more than $600 will be saved annually by using the lighting controls.
The University's second cardboard recycling baler will be placed at Boozel Dining Hall. The leased unit at Boozel will be relocated on campus and used to bail loose cardboard collected from various other campus buildings.
All of the units, including those located at the University Union and Weisenfluh Dining Hall, will further help SRU's recycling efforts by collecting and bailing cardboard for sale to cardboard recyclers and by reducing cardboard sent to landfills. The Weisenfluh baler was also paid for through a Green Fund Grant.
"The new baling unit brings the total to four on-campus balers. They are all ways to promote greening awareness by showing students how recycling efforts can be supported - and is beneficial - on campus," said Joel Brown, fire and safety manager in the Office of Environmental Health and Safety which makes use of the units.
"The purchase of a second baler eliminates the cost of leasing a baler," Brown said. SRU will continue to lease two balers through next year and the end of the contract then will consider the next move.
William Rudloff, director of environmental health and safety, who applied for the grant has said the operations are "win-win" with the University being able to dispose of used cardboard and being paid in the process, rather than have to pay to have it hauled away. The price for baled cardboard is based on weight and fluctuates with the market.
Earlier this academic year, five other projects, totaling $19,500 were approved. They included occupancy sensors for classrooms; high-tech electric meters; a biofuels processor project; a Sustainability Across the Curriculum Program; Sustainability Educational Programming for Students; and a campus screening of the documentary "Food Inc."
In addition to the Green Fund program, SRU has been a longtime leader in environmental issues both in the classroom and the community. SRU offers academic majors in environmental education and environmental science and a master's degree in sustainable systems.
The University also signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment as a way of helping spotlight regional reduction of greenhouse gas emission starting with the SRU campus. More than 660 other colleges, universities and other higher education institutions have signed the ACUPCC.
SRU has shown leadership in greening throughout its most recently constructions projects, including the $140 million, suite-style apartment buildings, which include on-demand hallway lighting, energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning units, improved insulation techniques for energy efficiency and recycled materials use in making the wallboard. The buildings earned LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
SRU's Macoskey Center, which recently underwent $250,000 in renovations making use of green building techniques, is the on-campus think-tank laboratory that serves as a demonstration site for a photo-voltaic array showing electrical generation from the sun and is the home to SRU's wind turbine for electrical power generation. The laboratory site also demonstrates straw-bale construction and other sustainable system projects allowing students and visitors to see firsthand how sustainability and environmental projects can actually be put to work in saving energy.
Similar "green" construction techniques are being used in the renovation of Vincent Science Center. The University recently appointed Herbert Carlson, assistant vice president for construction design and management as senior officer for institutional sustainability initiatives.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives. -