Getting to Green

Getting to Green

An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

February 22, 2008 - 6:11am
Apparently, an electric utility has offered Kansas State $2.5 million on the condition that the state government reconsider and approve two new coal-fired power plants. The utility — Sunflower Electric Power Corp. — says that the money is for energy research, and will be paid over a 10-year period. They say it’s not a bribe, but that funds simply won’t be available if the new plants aren’t approved. Right.
February 20, 2008 - 10:36pm
A couple of posts ago, I threatened to explain more about some of the reasons it’s hard to get people to save energy on campuses. Let’s use Greenback U as an example.
February 18, 2008 - 7:51am
It’s funny, how sometimes the best way to understand big issues in big, complex, institutional contexts is to solve little problems in little, simple, personal contexts. A case in point ... Last Friday, a terrible thing happened in my house. I put coffee in the filter, put the filter in the basket, added water, hit the button and nothing happened! (If you want to take a moment to recover from the sheer horror of that situation, it’s OK. I’ll wait for you. Just say when.)
February 16, 2008 - 8:28pm
Sustainability’s a huge topic. And higher education is an industrial sector not renowned for the agility of its participants. So where do you start greening a campus, and how? To the extent that there’s an orthodoxy in this emerging field, it goes like this:
February 13, 2008 - 10:33am
A column by a British (sometime-) academic may point the way toward research opportunities for American universities.
February 11, 2008 - 4:03pm
Erin O’Connor, an English prof at Penn, blogs about higher ed, sometimes from a position politically to the right of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Last Friday, her post spoke about the sustainability groundswell on campuses as a “stealth ideological movement.” This in spite of the fact that proponents of sustainability have been doing everything we can to get on people’s radar screens, and the movement (hey!
February 9, 2008 - 3:56pm
If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll keep getting what we’ve been getting. What most of us have been doing, all our lives, is making choices and forming habits which make sense, given our circumstances as we understand them. No one that I know consciously goes out of her way to make her life more difficult — when that happens, it’s usually as a result of lack of attention, lack of information or lack of good choices.
February 8, 2008 - 11:37am
It’s said that the modern university consists of a large number of academic and administrative departments united by a common heating system. We’ll get to academic and administrative “siloing” at a later date, but let’s talk about that heating/cooling system. It’s probably working a lot harder than it should have to. And burning more energy. And responsible for more emissions.
February 6, 2008 - 10:12pm
I’m not sure what my pet peeves #2 through n are, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out in time. #1 is pretty clear, though. It’s students (some staff, a few faculty, but mostly students) who open the doors to go into or out of campus buildings by pushing the “handicapped” button. You know, the big square blue one with the picture of a person in a wheelchair?
February 5, 2008 - 9:48pm
In days of old, when students were bold, computers were both more impressive and less powerful. They also generated a tremendous amount of heat, so that data centers invested almost as much in cooling equipment as they did in the computers themselves. Yesterday, I was walking down an office hall when I overheard a co-worker discussing how he “underclocked” (ran at a speed slower than maximum) his home PC’s graphics processor in order to let it run cooler. Cost and scale might change, but the basic considerations remain pretty much the same.

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