The S.E.E.D. Initiative

Campus Energy Reduction Project: Main Campus Computer Center

computer center pdfThe University of Toledo has pushed sustainability to the forefront of important issues. In 2013, the lighting fixtures in many campus buildings were changed to contain more sustainable bulbs and reduce the overall expenditures on energy. Each week, the SEED blog will feature a different on-campus building and highlight their energy savings.

This week, our focus is on the University Computer Center. The center, located on the University’s Main Campus near the Student Recreation Center, is home to the University’s IT Department. In 2013, the computer center received an update to include more energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Now, the building has reduced energy usage by 17%, saving the University more than $1,300 per year. Additionally, the switch to efficient energy usage saved 22,540 kWh, and over 80 metric tons of CO2 emissions. All this energy saving is equivalent to the energy savings of taking more than three cars off the road, saving over 1,700 gallons of gas, and conserving 13.02 acres of forest per year. The attached diagram provides more information on the energy changes. 

Keep an eye out every week as we begin to feature different on-campus buildings and their energy savings over the past two years! To monitor the energy usage of your residence hall or classroom, log on to the University of Toledo’s Energy Dashboard at https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/.

 

Campus Energy Reduction Project: McComas Village

Mccomas village corrected lightingThe University of Toledo has pushed sustainability to the forefront of important issues. In 2013, the lighting fixtures in many campus buildings were changed to contain more sustainable bulbs and reduce the overall expenditures on energy. Each week, the SEED blog will feature a different on-campus building and highlight their energy savings.

This week, we will be featuring lighting savings from McComas Village! The Village opened on campus in 1990, and houses various fraternities and sororities. Each house has three floors, and features both single and triple rooms. In 2013, McComas village was one of the campus buildings that updated their lighting to include more energy-efficient bulbs. Now, the building has reduced energy usage by 9%, saving the University over $1,000 per year in this residence hall alone. Additionally, the switch to efficient lighting reduces usage by 19,529 kWh, and saves over 14 metric tons of CO2 per year. These savings translate to taking 2.8 cars off the road, saving over 1500 gallons of gas, and saving 11.2 acres of forest per year. The attached diagram provides more information on the energy changes.

Keep an eye out every week as we begin to feature different on-campus buildings and their energy savings over the past two years! To monitor the energy usage of your residence hall or classroom, log on to the University of Toledo’s Energy Dashboard at https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/.

 

 

SEED Initiative Hosts Social Media Competitions for the Month of April

Looking to get more involved in sustainability on campus? The SEED Initiative is holding two contests during the month of April to encourage community engagement and spread awareness of the Energy Dashboard. SEED prizes will be offered to students and staff who participate, and more people on campus will have the ability to track their energy usage. By encouraging students to check the energy dashboard, we hope to inspire a sense of consciousness and conservation, and to increase traffic to this important resource.

  • Our first contest is a Twitter contest! Students and staff can log on to https://www.utoledo.edu/sustainability/dashpro/ and complete the Tutorial (located on the top right corner of the screen). Then, take a picture or screenshot of the completed Tutorial and tweet it to the SEED Twitter account, @GreeningUT! Respondents will win a SEED water bottle and will learn about energy usage on campus! This contest is happening now until April 4th
  • Our second contest is a photography contest! For a chance to have work displayed online, students, staff, and community members can submit 200×200 JPEG images of buildings on campus for consideration. Selected photos will be displayed on the energy dashboard as building images. We are looking for creativity and innovative thinking, so feel free to get your student organization, classmates, or friends involved! Send all photos to SEED@utoledo.edu. Winners of this contest will receive SEED T-shirts and will have their work displayed online! This contest will take place April 11th– April 25th.

Please contact SEED@utoledo.edu with any questions. The flyers for both contests are attached below.CORRECT Flyer 2                                                        CORRECT PHOTO FLYER 2

The SEED Initiative Presents the 2015-2016 Scholarship Application

Are you a student who has taken steps to advance sustainability efforts at the University of Toledo? Do you have a passion for living green? If so, the SEED Initiative has an opportunity for you! The 2015-2016 SEED Scholarship application is now available.

The Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design (or SEED) Initiative was created at the University of Toledo from energy efficiency rebates. SEED’s purpose is to act as a method of conceptualizing and implementing sustainability projects on campus. SEED believes that promoting a culture of “green thinking” at the University will foster the growth of future sustainability projects for years to come. One of the best ways to promote our initiatives is to honor students who put a focus on conservation every day. Individual projects that live out the mission of the SEED Initiative deserve recognition!

This is the first year that the Initiative will be offering this scholarship. Four, $250 scholarships will be offered to continuing undergraduate students at UT who have undertaken a project or made an effort that has contributed to sustainability on campus. Awardees will be recognized for their commitment to creating a greener Toledo, and the hope is that by continuing this scholarship, more students will be encouraged to share their sustainability work.

Applications are due to Plant Operations 1170 by March 7th. Any questions or concerns can be directed to SEED@utoledo.edu. The application can be found by following this link: http://www.utoledo.edu/financialaid/ans/uploadedApplications/2016/SustainabilityEnergyEfficiencyandDesign(SEED)InitiativeScholarship_30909M.pdf. We look forward to reviewing your applications!

SEED Initiative Highligthed in 2015 Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report

Each year, the Efficiency Advisory Committee (composed of members from each public institution of higher education in Ohio) compiles an annual report, highlighting the progress made in efficiency and revenue-saving throughout the year. This report is available to the public and puts a particular emphasis on areas where there is a cost saving or cost avoidance to students. This year, the University of Toledo was recognized in a variety of categories involving efforts to make our campus a more efficient environment. SEED was directly mentioned in the Energy Efficiency category. The energy efficiency elements highlighted in the report are defined as “seeking and refining sustainable energy methods utilized by institutions to procure and use energy in the most cost-effective manner.” In 2015 alone, public universities in Ohio reported that more energy efficient changes saved them almost $80 million dollars. This huge monetary amount is a telling indicator of exactly how much impact a focus on sustainability can mean for the modern institution of higher education.

SEED’s efforts to improve energy efficiency have played a large part in reducing operating costs for the University. The Efficiency Advisory Committee’s recognition further solidifies the impact that offices like these have on making their respective universities relevant and up-to-date in terms of sustainability. SEED was specifically recognized for its “efforts to improve energy performance,” which has led to “far lower energy use per square feet than comparable universities in terms of climate and student population.” It went on to recognize that the reductions “amounted to $2.8 million dollars in cost savings per year in utilities for the University.”Ohio Efficiency Report

Although the stated “efforts to improve energy performance” is vague, the University is actually making sweeping changes to attempt to operate on a greener scale. Initiatives involving renewable energy, increased cognizance in building and design, and sustainability-based purchasing all play a significant part in this cost and carbon footprint reduction at UT. Engaging students in these projects and in the idea of sustainability and pushing them to evaluate the “green-ness” of their choices can encourage them to lead a more environmentally-conscious life, even after their time at the University has ended.

Additionally, the University was also recognized for excellence in Fleet Management and Operations Efficiencies (for downsizing the number of vehicles it utilizes), as well as for excellence in Public Works Efficiencies for its internal recycling program’s partnership with Toledo Public Schools, another SEED project. The recycling program, which is staffed by students, has expanded its reach to the community- saving TPS an estimated $40,000 per year. As a university located within the heart of an urban community, this mutually beneficial relationship further strengthens the partnership between UT and the surrounding areas.

Congratulations to each group and initiative recognized in the 2015 Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report. By contributing to the efficiency and sustainability of the University of Toledo, these projects are creating a culture of learning and progress for students, staff, and future generations. To view the entire Ohio Efficiency Advisory Committee Report click here.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Email SEED@utoledo.edu or give us a call at (419) 530-1042.

 

Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk

UT to Host Community Electronics Recycling Drive Saturday, February 6th from 10am-1pm

It is no surprise that many houses have more than a few electronics that are no longer in use. Whether it is an out-of-date laptop, an obsolete VCR, or your college speaker system (good at house parties, but little practical application in the real world), electronics around the house can start to pile up. Today, technology develops so rapidly that it can be difficult to properly dispose of electronics before purchasing the newest model. Luckily, the University of Toledo and AIMecycling are here to help.

SEED will host a community electronics recycling drive on Saturday, February 6th from 10am-1pm. Located in Parking Area 25 near Rocket Hall, this event will collect personal electronic items such as printers, VCRs, and speakers- all for free! Additionally, this event kicks off our eight-week Recyclemania initiative, where campuses across the nation will work to increase the amount of materials diverted from the landfill.

Electronic Recycling Drive

So I know what you’re probably thinking- why waste time recycling my old electronics, when I could just throw them away? There are many reasons to consider this method of disposal during your spring cleaning:

  1. Electronic waste contains a variety of valuable resources, such as aluminum, copper, or gold. Instead of producing all new equipment from brand new resources, utilizing these recoverable parts can save significant amounts of money, energy, and resources.
  2. Electronic waste also contains toxic materials, such as lead and chemical flame retardants. If these materials sit in a landfill, they have the potential to seep into our soil and water supply.
  3. We save energy, lower pollution, and reduce emissions by reusing resources instead of mining new ones.
  4. By recycling electronics, you are helping others. The community benefits by the transfer of these materials to those in need- “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”
  5. Finally, e-cycling preserves landfill space, and increases the area for items that actually need to be there.

Overall, there is a very low risk and a very high reward for taking the time to recycle your unused electronics. Help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint by joining us on February 6th!

Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk

The SEED Initiative Welcomes Jessica Mysyk!

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica, and I am so excited to begin my time as a PR & Communications Intern for the SEED Initiative here on campus. As a student studying economics and marketing, I love analyzing how the choices we make every day affect the world around us- and that may be why I take such an interest in sustainability. Especially as an urban university, there are many opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint and make our campus more sustainable. From encouraging recycling in dorms on campus to efficiently tracking our total energy usage, the SEED Initative does an amazing job of keeping the University of Toledo relevant in the push toward a greener world.

According to a 2008 Princeton Review survey, nearly 2/3 of potential college students have stated that they want to know information about a college’s commitment to the environment when deciding on which institution to attend, and almost ¼ state that this information strongly plays into their final college decision. Even to an administrator who takes no interest in environmental issues, these statistics are very telling. Obviously, a university’s investment in sustainability can directly correlate with high school students’ interest in pursuing a degree at that institution. Investing in greener strategies across campus is a win-win situation- students appreciate the effort to pursue sustainability, and the campus reduces its waste and footprint on the Earth. There has never been a better time for our SEED Department on campus to become a part of the conversation.

Again, I am so excited for the opportunity to be reaching out and connecting through this internship opportunity. I look forward to learning a lot and tuning up my marketing and communication skills. My challenge to you for the day is this- try to go a day without using any plastic water bottles or coffee cups! Utilize reusable thermoses and bottles to ensure less unnecessary trash! Stay Green!

Contrary to the blurb below, this post is produced by SEED PR & Communications Intern Jessica Mysyk

UT Leads MAC in Game Day Challenge Waste Minimization

The results are in and UT showed up strong, winning the Waste Minimization category of the Game Day Challenge recycling competition for their efforts to reduce materials used on the October 10th Homecoming football game against Kent State. The Game Day Challenge is a recycling, composting and waste reduction competition between higher education institution across the US. Categories of participation include recycling rate, pounds of recycling, diversion rate, composting and greenhouse gas reductions. This was UT’s first year participating in the competition. Gameday_Recycling_Challenge

Waste Minimization results were based on the sum of trash and recycling totals divided by the number of fans in attendance, with the University of Toledo edging out Central Michigan University with 0.240/lbs per attendee and 0.296/lbs per attendee respectively. While this is a great start, there far more room to advance as UT looks to improve its standing in other categories and challenge for the greenest game day in the MAC and nationwide. View more about the competition and UT’s success at gamedaychallenge.org.

Looking to help green another UT game day? Email SEED@utoledo.edu about joining the UT Basketball Green Teams. More details to come soon.

Questions? Email SEED@utoledo.edu

MacKinnon/Scott/Tucker and Delta Delta Delta win BlackoUT 2015

The results are in and the conglomeration of MacKinnon, Scott and Tucker Halls, and Delta Delta Delta have taken home the 2015 titles as BlackoUT Champions for the Residence Hall and Greek House designations respectively. Through smart conservation practices, active engagement and favorable weather MacKinnon, Scott, Tucker were able to achieve a 30.9% reduction in electricity their November electricity consumption compared to last year. Delta Delta Delta went even further, realizing a 31.5% reduction from 2014 values.

As can be seen in the results, almost every competitor made significant leaps from last year, with 11 of 14 Greek Houses seeing reductions from last year and five of six Residence Halls doing the same. Again, while warmer temperatures this year versus last had effects on lowering electricity consumption, these savings are still a great indication of all of the effort put in by students and Residence Life Staff to making this a successful competition and learning experience for participants. As students transition into professional careers, or just move off campus, energy saving behaviors can be excellent traits to build upon not just for going green, but also saving some money in the process.

2015 Greek House Results2015 Greek House Results

Want to learn more about energy savings? Check out this great list of 100 ways to save more.

We hope you’ve all enjoyed this year’s competition and look forward to more fierce competition next November. Until then be sure to get ready for Recyclemania this spring as UT competes nationwide to flex its recycling might.

Questions? Email SEED@UToledo.edu

 

 

 

 

 

SEED Initiative Now Hiring

Want to join the SEED team? We’re always willing to take on interns, but right now we have a few special opportunities to share.

The SEED Initiative is looking for a strong writer passionate about sustainability to fill a position as SEED Communications & PR Intern. This person will work with the sustainability specialist and other SEED team members to produce newsletters, other content and handle SEED social media to further communication of sustainability at UT. If interested please look for the position on Rocket Jobs ID #23518.Rocket Recycling

Rocket Recycling is looking to hire a few more students for 5-8 hours a week. Students looking for an active job in a teamwork based setting can apply at Rocket Jobs. Look for ID #23509. Applicants must be registered for at least 6 credit hours and be in good academic standing to be considered.

Have a great weekend everyone, and as always, stay green!

Neil

About SEED

The University of Toledo’s SEED Initiative, housed within but not limited to Facilities & Construction, focuses on Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, and Design to ensure the University is operating in a manner that betters our neighbors, economy, and planet. Through environmental sustainability projects, energy conservation measures, innovative building renovation and design, and a comprehensive educational campaign, SEED commits itself to leaving behind a better planet than when we started.

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