Category Archives: Green Campuses

OPPD partnering with UNMC on state’s largest rooftop solar array

By Jodi Baker, OPPD Blog, The Wire

Darren Dageforde, executive director of utilities and energy utilization for UNMC, said the med center has already made great strides in reducing its energy use and increasing efficiency. “Having a renewable energy source on campus demonstrates our commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030 and parallels our mission to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities.” This solar installation is expected to be the largest rooftop system in Nebraska, said Jared Friesen of Morrissey Engineering, which designed the project. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Morrissey Engineering

Jared Friesen is immediate Past President of Nebraskans for Solar. Our nonprofit has the governing structure of President, President-Elect, and Past President.

OPPD NEWS RELEASE
OPPD To Consider Updating Plant Decommissioning Method
Due to the great strides made by Omaha Public Power District employees in the decommissioning of Fort Calhoun Station (FCS), the utility will consider a timely, more economical approach. In a presentation shared with the OPPD Board of Directors during their committee meetings Tuesday, the district’s senior management team provided the option of shifting from the SAFSTOR (safe storage) decommissioning method to DECON (decontamination) . . . DECON has the potential to save the utility up to an estimated $200 million, due to reduced building maintenance and upkeep.

Inspiring National Solar Example

Here comes the sun: How Hampshire College moved to
100 percent solar energy,
by Adam Wernick, PRI

Hampshire College, with about 1,400 students in Western Massachusetts, has become the first residential US college with 100 percent solar electricity. “This is a great story that people don’t know about,” says Hampshire’s president, Jonathan Lash. “There are a lot of colleges and universities around the country who have decided to just get on with it. Some of their systems are bigger than ours. We’re pretty proud that we decided to go 100 percent and that we’re a small, not-very-well-resourced college out in snow country that’s able to do this.”
Read more here.

This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Living on Earth with Steve Curwood.
Before becoming president of Hampshire College, Jonathan Lash was president of the World Resources Institute.

Photo Credit: Hampshire College

Billion Dollar Green Challenge

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative advocates for the efficacy of green revolving funds (GRFs), and works to increase the number and size of self-managed green revolving funds at nonprofit institutions across the United States.

The Challenge provides support for new and established  green revolving funds at colleges and universities. A GRF is a financing mechanism targeted to campus climate action projects that lower emissions, increase capacity for future projects, and reduce operating costs.

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge was founded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute in 2011. Second Nature oversees and manages US colleges and universities within the initiative. Learn more.

Resources

Case Studies

Participate

US Higher Education institutions can get more information or choose to participate in the Billion Dollar Green Challenge by emailing rwoodside@secondnature.org

Editorial: Creighton is among Omaha institutions spearheading environmental sustainability

Omaha World-Herald Editorial Staff

It’s encouraging to see how Nebraska’s institutions of higher learning are directing growing attention to environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. Construction projects, too, are prompting increased attention on this important need. Here are just a few of the examples: Continue reading here.

Creighton University photo of the campus’ 85-kilowatt solar canopy on the Cuming Street parking lot.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

Editorial: UNL displays impressive success with sustainability

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Among the 11 Big Ten universities whose carbon dioxide emissions are publicly known, UNL ranks first by a wide margin with 182,600 metric tons in 2016. That’s nearly a third better than the University of Maryland at College Park, which recorded 239,800 metric tons over the same interval.

Plus, even as UNL has reported years of record enrollment, added research staff and constructed several new facilities, its energy usage has been nearly halved in the last two decades. The university provides living proof that investing in energy-saving techniques can pay for itself through decreased utility costs. As a result, UNL hasn’t operated its coal-fired power and heating plant to power campus for several years . . . Read the entire editorial here.

Related Reading
UNL inching toward setting greenhouse gas reduction goals, by Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star
No longer does UNL use a coal-fired power and heating plant built at 14th and W streets in 1930 (now the site of the City Campus utility plant), giving the university an advantage over the University of Iowa, University of Illinois and others within the Big Ten still generating electricity on their campuses and expanding their carbon footprint. UNL instead purchases 100 percent of its electricity to power lights and computers, charge cellphones and run other equipment through Lincoln Electric System, which in turn buys power from the Southwest Power Pool and Western Area Power Administration.

Photo Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

UNL inching toward setting greenhouse gas reduction goals

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star

No longer does UNL use a coal-fired power and heating plant built at 14th and W streets in 1930 (now the site of the City Campus utility plant), giving the university an advantage over the University of Iowa, University of Illinois and others within the Big Ten still generating electricity on their campuses and expanding their carbon footprint. UNL instead purchases 100 percent of its electricity to power lights and computers, charge cellphones and run other equipment through Lincoln Electric System, which in turn buys power from the Southwest Power Pool and Western Area Power Administration. Read the entire article here.

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Small as energy maker, solar farm generates big interest

By Mike Konz, The Kearney Hub

Mayor Stan Clouse said Kearney hopes its solar farm
enhances the city’s attraction among high-tech firms.

KEARNEY — Covering 53 acres in northeast Kearney and comprising 22,464 panels, the SoCore solar farm at the city of Kearney’s Tech oNE Crossing is Nebraska’s largest. Rated at 5.7 megawatts, the solar array’s generating capacity is enough to power about 900 houses or supply 5 percent of Kearney’s energy load . . . The University of Nebraska at Kearney bought 52 percent of the shares — enough to provide about 25 percent of the campus’ electrical needs. Central Community College’s Kearney Center just went online with 350 shares. That’s 5 percent of the solar farm’s capacity and enough power to cover all of the electrical needs at CCC’s $23 million, ultra-energy efficient facility in southwest Kearney. Read more here.

Photo Credit: SoCore Energy

Information Links
Developer: SoCore Energy
Installer: Interconnection Systems based in Central City, Nebraska
NPPD’s SunWise Initiative
SunWise is a community solar program available in participating Nebraska Public Power District retail communities.

Another distinguishing feature of Kearney’s Solar Farm is that it is a nationally-recognized pollinator-friendly site, benefiting local food producers. 

Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy

Iowa university to install NEXTracker solar+storage power plant

By Chris Crowell, Solar Builder Magazine

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0178.JPG

Iowa-based Ideal Energy is constructing a 1.1 MW power plant at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, using the NEXTracker NX Flow integrated solar-plus-storage system. The project will be built on University land and, when completed, it is projected to be one of the largest solar-plus-storage power plants in the state, producing enough energy to cover nearly a third of the University’s annual electricity usage. In addition to those savings, NX Flow will use peak-shaving to significantly reduce MUM’s utility bill during high-demand times. Read more here.

RELATED: Massachusetts’ first community solar plus storage project now operational,
by Chris Crowell

MORE ON SOLAR PLUS STORAGE 

ADDITIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

NEW REPORT

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the progress made by more than 900 public and private-sector organizations that are driving energy efficiency in the U.S. economy through their participation in the Better Buildings Initiative. Moreover, partners across the Better Buildings Initiative are sharing their innovative approaches and successful strategies to accelerate the adoption of energy efficient technologies and practices. The 2018 Better Buildings Progress Report released today highlights this progress in the commercial, industrial, residential and public sectors to improve energy productivity.

CARBON EMISSIONS / CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS

EV NEWS

Colleges & Universities Urged to Shift to Generating 100 Percent of Their Energy From Renewable Sources: Campaigns Underway at More than 65 Campuses

Environment America News Release

BOSTON, MA — Environment America and the Student PIRGs released a letter urging the higher education community to lead America’s transition to using clean, renewable energy sources. Thousands of students from across the country have also voiced their support for their campus to make a commitment to a clean energy transition. Environment America and the Student PIRGs are working with students on more than 65 campuses in 19 states, from coast to coast, to show broad support for 100 percent clean, renewable energy generation. More than 800 students have already participated in the campaign this semester. Continue reading here.

100 Percent Renewable Campuses Campaign

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST
Nebraska Colleges & Universities Leading on Sustainability & Climate Action

Higher Education and Solar Energy: A Partnership Whose Time Has Come

By Geoff Greenfield, Renewable Energy World

Many administrators are not aware of a critical development in deploying clean energy: the majority of modern campus solar projects are built with no capital outlay from the institution. The most popular way institutions are making the shift to clean energy is with solar projects financed by private investors seeking to earn a “clean return” developing and owning these modern power plants. Private investors are able to harvest tax credits that are unavailable to non-taxable institutions, and their investments are repaid by selling clean energy back to the campus over time. In return for “hosting” privately financed solar power plants on rooftops, fields or covered parking areas, colleges are able to purchase clean energy for less than they paid for conventional power. These long-term contracts offer an additional benefit as they replace the volatility and inflation of electricity prices with a predictable locked in rate for 20-30 years. Currently more than 800 colleges or universities across the country offset a portion of their energy costs with some sort of solar array. Read more here.

IN NEBRASKA