Category Archives: Green Campuses

Reenergizing state’s oldest campus

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD News

“We wanted to highlight our partnership with OPPD and show how we can work together.” – Kathy Carroll, vice president of Administration and Finance

The college has updated its electrical system over the last three years . . . Buildings on campus are making the switch to LED lighting, and geothermal cooling and heating was installed in the Jindra Fine Arts building in 2003 and the T.J. Majors building in 2016. Delzell Hall and the Theatre are under renovation and geothermal installations are part of that process. The college recently installed energy metering on their electricity, gas, steam and chilled water services to benchmark usage and determine how to maximize efficiency. So far, these efficiency efforts have resulted in more than $25,000 in rebates from OPPD. Read more here.

Student power: Solar panels to provide energy for first time on campus building

University of Wisconsin-Stout News Bureau, Editor’s Pick, Dunn County News

Driven by students’ perseverance to build on campus sustainability, University of Wisconsin-Stout will tap the sun to partially power a campus building. A proposal to install 36 solar panels on top of Merle M. Price Commons recently was approved by the Stout Student Association, the university’s student government council. Since receiving state approval, wheels are in motion for the university’s first solar panel investments using $66,280 of student Green Fee funds. All students pay the annual fee for campus sustainability-related projects . . . The project aligns with an earlier resolution that SSA passed stating its support for UW-Stout’s Seize the Grid Campaign, led by students who want the campus to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.
Read more here.

Photo by Next Step Energy of Eau Claire

Seize the Grid Campaign – A National Sierra Club Student Coalition Initiative

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & WEBINARS

  • University of Iowa to be carbon free by 2025, Scarlet and Black. The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, or ACUPCC, has been joined by over 650 schools that commit to “measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions, take immediate actions to reduce them, and develop and implement a plan to go climate neutral,” according to an ACUPCC statement.
  • The Climate Leadership Commitments: Second Nature Website
  • Second Nature Webinar: Expanding Access to Renewable Energy – Customizing for Higher Education, March 22, 2017 – 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Register here
  • Second Nature Archived Webinars, including How to Develop a Carbon Credit Project for your College or University.

Midwest startups compete for clean-tech investment funding

By David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News 

A Chicago-based clean tech accelerator is giving eight student-led startups the chance to win tens of thousands of dollars in early-stage funding and to compete in a national competition later this year. The Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP) is an annual competition hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and Spark Clean Energy, a nonprofit that promotes university-level energy innovation. Clean Energy Trust, the Midwest host and coordinator for Cleantech UP, announced the regional finalists in a blog post this week. Continue reading.

ANOTHER INVESTMENT FUND INCLUDED IN UNGER’S ARTICLE
Breakthrough Energy Ventures 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
South Dakota’s Black Hills State University goes solar, Black Hills Pioneer

Solar panels pop up in Northfield

By Philip Weyhe, Northfield News

Northfield has a new way of contributing to renewable energy, as solar panels have risen from the ground on St. Olaf land in the northwest corner of the city. The panels, which are on land leased by St. Olaf, make up five community solar gardens, as defined by Xcel Energy, and in all, produce 5 megawatts (5,000 kilowatts) of power. The site is owned and operated by BHE Renewables, which purchased it from the original developer, Geronimo Energy. Read more.

Photo: Newly built solar gardens on St. Olaf land. The site is leased by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE), which owns and operates the gardens. The company said subscriptions to the gardens are 100 percent filled. Credit: Philip Weyhe / Northfield News

CCC wind turbine source of energy, education

By Tony Herman, Hastings Tribune

“As far as the facility itself, at its peak it will generate enough energy to run the campus,” Campus President Bill Hitesman said. “Everything we get back from Hastings Utilities will be clean energy.” Construction started on the project in October and finished a couple weeks ago. The turbine was online as of Dec. 23 and is now sending power to the Hastings Utilities grid. Hitesman said CCC is in process of putting together a wind energy curriculum. Read more.

Photo: A wind turbine built south of the Central Community College (CCC) campus in partnership with Bluestem Energy Solutions, Hastings Utilities and CCC. Credit: Amy Roh, Hastings Tribune via Associated Press

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Nebraska’s Central Community College recognized for going green, Columbus Telegram

Nebraska Colleges & Universities Leading on Sustainability & Climate Action

Colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world are setting examples of sustainable and carbon-reducing institutions. Nebraska’s colleges and universities are among these leaders, implementing energy conservation measures on their campuses, saving natural resources through comprehensive waste-reduction programs, installing wind and solar energy systems to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, promoting green transportation to cut carbon emissions through shared bike programs and EV charging stations, offering courses on wind and solar energy and community forums to educate the general public about these technologies, creating sustainability and climate action plans, taking part in opportunities abroad to help other communities be more sustainable—plus many other measures. Below are links to just some of the sustainability and climate action initiatives, programs, action plans, sustainability reports and news stories from Nebraska’s colleges and universities.

If you know of others, please email them to Helen Deffenbacher at: nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com

Photo: UNL College of Engineering students participating in an opportunity provided by the university’s Education Abroad Program.

CENTRAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Central Community College’s 3C Initiative
Sustainability Leadership Presentation Series (SLPS) 
Signatory of the Climate Commitment
Signatory of the Sustainability Education & Economic Development (SEED) Initiative

COLLEGE OF ST. MARY
College of St. Mary’s Climate Action Plan

CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY
Creighton University’s Climate Action Plan
Creighton Energy Club

METRO COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Metro Community College’s 2015 Sustainability Annual Report

NORTHEAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Northeast recognized for sustainability, workforce development efforts
Winds of Change: Northeast Community College on leading edge of wind industry’s robust growth

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-KEARNEY
Sustainability Master Plan

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN
UNL Sustainability Initiatives
Extension Education – Biological Systems Engineering
Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN) Program
Nebraska Wind for Schools Project
High Plains Regional Climate Center
Climate Masters of Nebraska – UNL

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-OMAHA
University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Sustainability Master Plan

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER & NEBRASKA MEDICINE 
University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine Sustainability Master Plan, 2014-2023

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Department of Energy awards UNL nearly $1.5 million to set up and operate a regional Industrial Assessment Center

On December 14, 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACS). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management system.

To apply for an assessment, contact UNL’s IAC Program Director:
Dr. Robert Williams
Phone: (402) 472-4755
Email: rwilliams2@unl.edu

Alumna Energized by SunShot Experience

By Kristine Rohwer, Creighton University Magazine

The future looks bright for recent graduate Erin Cheese,
BS ’15, as she pursues her passion in the solar and renewable energy field. A double major in energy science and applied physical analysis, Cheese is currently in her second year as a junior fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, which seeks to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by 2020.

Continue reading.

Erin is also a former Nebraskans for Solar (NFS) board member, having served for two years. One of her many achievements was co-founding the Creighton Energy Club with other student leaders. NFS workshop attendees will recall that Erin, along with Cliff Mesner, owner of Mesner Solar Development, were co-presenters of a public forum on solar development opportunities, locally and nationally, at UNO’s Community Engagement Center on October 12, 2016. Erin’s topics included a discussion of the current SunShot initiative’s Solar In Your Community Challenge.

Department of Energy awards UNL nearly $1.5 million to set up and operate a regional Industrial Assessment Center

On December 14, 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACS). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management systems. Read more here.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy

To apply for an assessment, contact UNL’s IAC Program Director:
Dr. Robert Williams
Phone: (402) 472-4755
Email: rwilliams2@unl.edu

Number of U.S. colleges are walking the talk

EarthTalk, Fayette Tribune

robert-keren-photo

In recent years, colleges and universities have recognized the capacity for their independent communities to lead the nation as examples of sustainable and carbon-neutral institutions. Colleges in the U.S. and around the world have introduced conservation measures to reduce waste, installed solar panels to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and promoted shared vehicles to reduce carbon emissions, among other initiatives . . . Campus solar installations have risen dramatically in the past decade. Large, tall structures — the style of many academic buildings — are ideal locations for photovoltaic panels, especially as peak electrical production correlates with peak demand during daytime hours. And photovoltaic installations are not limited to sunny states; Colby College completed a 1.9 megawatt project in 2015 that is currently the largest system in Maine. Read more here

Courtesy Photo / Robert Keren. Middlebury College students who complete a free class on bicycle repair are rewarded with a free discarded bike.

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Nebraska research shows ‘profound’ economic, environmental benefits of electric cars

By Martha Stoddard, Omaha World-Herald

moe_alahmad“At today’s gasoline and electricity prices in Nebraska, you can spend $50 on gasoline and drive 454 miles or you can spend $50 on electricity and drive 1,666 miles, cutting the carbon emissions in half or more,” said Moe Alahmad, an associate engineering professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the Omaha campus. He reported his research Friday to a special legislative committee charged with working toward a state action plan on climate change. State Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, co-chairman of the committee with Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm, said Monday that he believes that electric vehicles have a role to play in the state’s response.
Read more.

Photo: Moe Alahmad

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Hastings introduces its first electric vehicle charging station for use by publicOmaha World-Herald. Hastings officials gave the traveling public a jolt Monday afternoon. The city introduced its first electric vehicle charging station, as well as the newest addition to its city fleet — a 2016 Ford Fusion hybrid vehicle. The electric vehicle charging station, which is available for public use, is in the parking lot of the Hastings Museum, 1330 N. Burlington Ave.

State senators set to discuss past, future of renewables, Hastings Tribune
ne wind and solar logoOn Monday, Nov. 7 Nebraska State senators Ken Haar, Heath Mello, John McCollister, Patty Pansing Brooks and Ken Schilz will discuss what has happened in the Legislature regarding wind and solar energy legislation, and what needs to happen in the future to advance those industries. The discussion begins at 8:45 a.m. during the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference. “This is a great opportunity to not only hear from but meet the State Senators who have been instrumental in the legislative changes made in recent years to improve the competitiveness of Nebraska wind and solar energy,” said Adam Herink, conference co-chairman. Click logo to link to the Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference website.