Although taking steps to protect the environment is “the right thing to do,” it doesn’t stop people from wanting to know their efforts are making a difference. An energy dashboard can be the answer to communicating the results of campus initiatives.
With dropping solar prices, state and federal incentives, and innovative financing models, the crop of campus solar installations has become a healthy one. In fact, installed solar capacity grew 450 percent from 2008 to 2011, when the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) launched its Campus Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Installations Database.
Campus water use is high, particularly in residence halls, at a time when The U.S. Drought Monitor (operating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) estimates that as much as 60 percent of the contiguous United States is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Thirty-seven percent of that area was at drought levels as of April, an increase from 27 percent a year ago.
Every action starts with an idea. That’s why, for the seventh annual green issue, the University Business editorial team decided to share some great ideas that have resulted in changes in the way campuses think about food, water, energy consumption, and solar energy.
Move over LEED, there’s a new certification in town. It’s not just buildings getting a green stamp of approval these days—events are, too. Colleges and universities across the country have begun implementing “certified green events programs” to limit the impact campus events have on the environment.
Sometimes the way to improved efficiency lies in a spreadsheet. Sometimes it lies in a piece of software.
And sometimes it lies in a restroom.
Advancement officials at Southern Polytechnic State University (Ga.) had both practical and aspirational reasons to reconsider how it ran its faculty/staff annual giving campaign.
Most colleges and universities attending EduComm send one or two, sometimes three, people to the conference. Last June, Life University (Ga.) sent seven of its administrators and faculty to learn from the breakout sessions and see the latest higher education technology on the EduComm exhibit floor.
The second year of the ongoing Models of Efficiency program continues to demonstrate that campus departments can be innovative and inspired when it comes to finding ways to provide superior service and maximize resources.
Harvard University has long been known to take the lead in research, public administration, and business and law studies, so why not sustainability? The university has become the first higher education institution to have earned 50 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for new construction or renovation to existing buildings.
In higher education, sustainability and green design have moved beyond buzzwords to become real practice. Programs such as the U.S.
Albert Einstein had this to say about problem-solving: "You can never solve a problem on the same level on which it was created." In other words, the solution lies at a higher level. That is certainly the truth for many efforts in higher education, where overcoming administrative challenges?
This issue marks our sixth annual "green guide," looking at sustainability trends and technologies at campuses around the country. Some students even base enrollment decisions on an institution's commitment to the environment. "Green" and "sustainability" seem to have become ingrained in the collective higher education consciousness--which, of course, was the idea all along.