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  • Getting to Green

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

SCUP-43 Monday 7:00 pm
July 21, 2008 - 7:26pm

The last concurrent session for today was a pastiche of ACUPCC success stories from the University of Connecticut, Rider University, and the University of Maine. Each school was represented by a senior staff member, and a senior representative from the engineering firm which served as a consultant on the GHG inventory for the PCC.

I was somewhat surprised that all three schools had relied on consultant talent to do their inventory -- at Greenback, the thing was done entirely by staff and students. I know of a lot of other schools which have completed GHG inventories with no outside help. Then it struck me -- schools which use an outside consultant may not be in the majority, and may be no more likely to complete their audit successfully. What schools which use a consultant are more likely to do is to present that audit as a success story at an international conference. The consultant is more motivated to present than the school, necessarily, might be.

None of which is to say that there wasn't good information presented. UConn spoke about how difficult it is to do transit planning in their suburban environment. Maine spoke of how the longitudinal orientation of their campus made wind a problem -- strong enough to such the heat out of the buildings, but not strong enough to be of use for power generation. And Rider talked about how they were able to save 30% of their water usage just by installing efficient off-the-shelf plumbing fixtures (toilets, showers, spigots, etc.).

One interesting resource that was listed was, a database of state and federal energy efficiency incentive programs. Not all states have programs targeting universities and other non-profits, but it's certainly worth a check.

Afterwards, I finally got a chance to check out the exhibit hall in a reasonably complete manner. Based on the firms present -- architects, engineers, landscape architects, architectural component vendors, office furniture vendors, space management software firms -- I think I've finally got a handle on what "planning" means, in a SCUP context. The organization wants the term to be all-inclusive (academic planning, sustainability planning, financial planning, etc.), but they're not there yet. They'll probably figure out how to bring in the companies who sell enrollment management tools, development tools, branding approaches, and all the rest. But for now, those types of planning are still the exceptions.

My read is that SCUP is in something of a transition. It seems like a good group of people, so they'll probably make it just fine. But it's going to take a little while.


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