Peter Staye, associate director of utilities for Physical Plant-Facilities, was featured in the May 16 edition of The Hartford Business Journal. In the article, titled “Energy Saving Projects Focus on Measurable Results,” Staye explained how Wesleyan has invested more than $6.5 million into a variety of innovative, energy-saving measures. Wesleyan has reduced energy about 22 percent since 2005, but the focus is now shifting to a more challenging initiative – changing the culture of energy use on campus.
“Not that long ago, energy was abundant and cheap. Now it’s neither, but there is still the feeling that everyone should have their own refrigerator and coffee machine and so on,” Staye says in the article.
The Wesleyan Green Fund is a student-financed and student-managed fund for sustainability that will finance initiatives that decrease waste and increase visibility of environmentally responsible practices on campus.
The newly-established Wesleyan Green Fund Committee is supporting initiatives that move the university forward in sustainability and environmental stewardship.
On Dec. 3, the student-managed committee will finance projects that will decrease the carbon footprint of the university, decrease waste, increase Wesleyan’s use of energy from renewable resources, or increase visibility of environmentally responsible practices on campus.
The committee will select projects proposed by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.
Through a $15 fee, collected voluntarily from students during the Fall 2010 semester, the committee raised about $40,000. These “green funds” will be applied to several sustainability-focused projects at Wesleyan that otherwise would not be possible. The Green Fund Committee already has granted funds for composting equipment on campus.
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Bill Trousdale, professor of physics, emeritus, stands near a statue of inventor Nikola Tesla. Trousdale taught at Wesleyan for 30 years and has had an interest in global warming since 1972.
This issue, we ask “5 Questions” of Bill Trousdale, professor of physics, emeritus. He recently lectured on “Global Warming and Energy Options” and “The Pros and Cons of Nuclear Energy.”
Q: Professor Trousdale, you researched solid state physics at Wesleyan for 30 years, retiring in 1989. Did you always have a side interest in energy creation, consumption and global warming?
A: Yes for almost as long as I can remember, in the early 1950s when I learned about the second law of thermodynamics. I was appalled by burning oil at 2,000 degrees to maintain a house at 72 degrees. That is a thermodynamic abomination.
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In the foreground, Gary Rawlings, lead energy auditor technician at Lantern Energy, shows Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability, a gap between the register and air duct at 24 Fountain Avenue. The space allows cold basement air to seep through the vent.
In 1900, when the student residence at 24 Fountain Avenue was built, heating oil was cheap. Insulation wasn’t a concern. Window sealant didn’t exist. Hot water gushed from the shower heads.
“We call homes like this ‘balloon framed,”’ explains Gary Rawlings, lead energy auditor technician for Wesleyan’s contractor Lantern Energy. “Air from the basement flows up through the walls and escapes through the window frames, the area around plumbing pipes, doors, and attic. In this particular house, there’s a big gap around the air duct. That’s never a good sign when you can see down into the basement.”
The 24 Fountain residence is one of eight homes on the street that took part in the Home Energy Solutions (HES) program on Aug. 18. Eventually, all 150 homes on campus will receive an energy audit, which may save the university more than $200 a year, per house, explains Bill Nelligan, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability.
The HES program is administered by Connecticut Light and Power Company and subsidized by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund through a charge on customers’ energy bills. Wesleyan pays
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Michael Jacobs ’85
Two Wesleyan graduates, Michael Jacobs ’85 and Arthur Haubenstock ’84, joined five other experts in the field of renewable energy in Washington, D.C., on April 26, on a Capitol Hill panel. The seven offered a presentation to Congressional staff on advances needed to integrate renewable resources—including wind and solar energy—into the electric grid. The panel was organized by the EESI (Environmental and Energy Study Institute) and WIRES (the Working Group for Investment in Reliable and Economic Electric Systems). Jacobs, a senior engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focuses on wind power, and Haubenstock is chief counsel and director of regulatory affairs with BrightSource Energy, a large-scale solar energy company.
Arthur Haubenstock ’84
“One of the greatest challenges in developing an alternative power source is developing a transmission structure,” says Haubenstock. “Unlike fuels in other sources, renewable energy tends to be intermittent, yet we need
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Wesleyan students are camping on Foss Hill to promote clean energy.
Student activists involved in Students for a Just and Stable Future were featured in an April 18 Middletown Press article titled “Wesleyan students raising awareness of clean energy, camping outside a week.”
The students want state leaders to work toward requiring that all electricity in the state comes from renewable sources such as solar or wind power by 2020. They are “rejecting the dirty electricity of their dorm rooms and are instead camping on Foss Hill.”
“What we want is that anytime you are in your house in Connecticut and you turn on a switch, all that electricity is coming from clean sources,” said Dan Levine ’11 in the article. “We’re making the statement that there are people in Connecticut who really care about clean energy.”
About a dozen students are sleeping outdoors in tents, which were mostly borrowed from Wesleyan’s Outing Club.
The Allbritton Center, formerly the Davenport Campus Center, was a renovation project completed in August 2009. Wesleyan considered sustainable measures throughout the redesign and construction, earning a Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett Drake)
Wesleyan has reached the gold standard in sustainable structures.
On March 15, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Wesleyan’s newly-renovated Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life building a Gold Certification based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
LEED is an internationally-recognized green building certification system that verifies that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
“The Gold Certification demonstrates Wesleyan’s commitment to sustainable design, operation and maintenance of its buildings,” says Alan Rubacha, construction services consultant for the center. “From the salvage and reuse of existing materials, to the design and specification of new materials and even into the site design, LEED was consulted for every decision.”
The Allbritton Center, formerly the Davenport Campus Center, was a nine-month renovation project completed in August 2009.
LEED awards points based
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Between now and Earth Day in April, Wesleyan employees who seek greener ways to commute to campus will have the opportunity to earn rewards through the Earth Day Commuter Challenge 2010: “Race to the Finish.” The event encourages all forms of green commuting including carpooling, vanpooling, telecommuting, biking, walking and taking the bus, and is projected to eliminating more than 140,000 vehicle trips state-wide. This level of participation would result in 5,000,000 fewer miles of driving and the elimination of 2,000 tons of emissions.
“Our hope is that the Earth Day Commuter Challenge will encourage employees to get out of their single occupancy cars and use alternate green modes of transportation,” explains Cliff Ashton, director of Physical Plant. “It’s the right thing to do for the environment and hopefully it will save employees money at the same time.”
The event is endorsed by Governor M. Jodi Rell and culminates with a reception at the State Capitol for the employers who have successfully encouraged their employees to participate.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans take 1.1 billion trips a day. Of these trips, 78 percent are single-occupant trips, which clog roadways and account for about 50 percent of urban air pollution.
Several Wesleyan faculty and staff already make green choices in their to-and-from-work
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Patrick Osborne, executive director of the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri - St. Louis, will speak on climate change during the Where on Earth Are We Going symposium Nov. 7.
During the last 50 years, humans have degraded rivers and lakes through excessive water abstraction, pollution and by over-harvesting aquatic organisms. River flow has been impeded by dams, and floodplains have been converted for agriculture and urban areas.
The human population has doubled to nearly 7 billion and, per capita water availability has declined on all continents. During the past 50 years, global climate change has further impacted water resources.
On Nov. 7, three climate experts will speak on “Global Environmental Change And Freshwater Resources: Hope For The Best Or Change To Prepare For The Worst?” during the annual Where On Earth Are We Going? Symposium. The event is sponsored by the Robert Schumann Lecture Series in the Environmental Studies Program.
At 9 a.m., Patrick L. Osborne, executive director of the Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will look at ways climate change and global warming have altered river and lake function and the water resources on which humans rely. He has 30 years experience in tropical ecology research, education and environmental consultancy and was the head of the biology department at the University of Papua New Guinea and deputy director of the Water Research Center at the University of Western Sydney in Australia.
At 10:15 a.m., Frank H. McCormick, program manager of Air, Water and Aquatic Environments at the Rocky Mountain Research Station,
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