A touch screen kiosk in Posada San Pedro residence hall lobby that displays real-time energy metrics as well as total energy yields, cost savings, and how much CO2 output is avoided from the solar panels on the buildings roof. The data collected by the monitoring system will be available online, thus offering the unique opportunity for students across many disciplines to assess and quantify how solar arrays perform in real-world situations.
A rainwater harvesting system collects rainwater from the roof of the Science Center, stores it in cisterns, and uses it to irrigate a renovated landscape with seating for students and staff. Students measured and mapped site contours and existing drain lines, and gathered rainfall data from nearby weather stations in order to design the most effective collection system. Four cisterns with a combined capacity of just over 5,000 gallons are ready and waiting at the UA Farm and will be installed as soon as excavation of the site is complete.
Arizona Cooperative Extension, an outreach arm of the UA and a department of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is providing opportunities for UA students to get out into state communities and work on real-world sustainability issues during summer “externships.” While these communities benefit from the experience, skills, and enthusiasm brought by the university students, students gain experience building sustainable communities as they work with local leaders and on real-world projects.
Students and employees in Parking and Transportation Services noticed that the energy from 2nd Street Garage solar panels was being used to fuel inefficient light bulbs. In the summer of 2011, students and employees tested 15-Watt and 18-Watt LED light bulbs in the garage, but noticed that summer temperatures were causing many of the LED lights to fail. The project managers reevaluated their plans and decided to test more advanced products: PrimeStar LED lights with upgraded “military grade” Driver Tubes that can withstand temperatures of over 150 degrees. Testing began again the following summer.
Researchers at the Arizona Health Sciences Center and UA’s BIO5 Institute are evaluating and validating a novel room-temperature “dry” storage technology which, if successful, could reduce the need for cumbersome storage freezers, save the university millions of dollars in energy costs, and free up significant amounts of lab space. Students and professors are now working to assess the biostability of this new technology in comparison to that of traditional -80°C freezers.
With the support of the Green Fund, two professors in the school of Retailing and Consumer Sciences developed a new offering for INDV 102, a course titled “Consumers, Environment & Sustainable Consumption: A Class and Research Project for The Next Generation of Wildcat Consumers.” The course is dedicated to the exploration of consumer attitudes and behavior related to the sustainable consumption of goods, services and natural resources, as well as the role of retailers and manufacturers in promoting environmental sustainability.
With the support of the Green Fund, UA students and faculty are converting waste cooking oil into biodiesel that can be used to power UA vehicles. Tucson-based Grecycle has been collecting used cooking oil from local businesses to produce biofuel since 2005 and is now serving as an industrial partner to the campus project. Students will learn not only the process for converting waste cooking oil into biofuel; they will learn important quality control standards and testing. Students and faculty are continuing to work on construction of the biofuel conversion center, located at UA’s Campus Agricultural Center.
The UA Campus Arboretum consists of 7,810 mature trees spread across 387 acres. Using i-Trees software, which accounts for the location, species, size, and age of each tree, students are assessing the value of campus trees both in economic terms—maintenance expenses and energy cost savings—as well as environmental—atmospheric carbon reduction and air quality benefits.
The OCHSC worked as a consultant to Residence Life's Featured Lister apartment complexes. They provide sustainable programs and information for infrastructural change to apartment complexes in the Tucson Community. They also educate UA students through apartment complex programming.
Working with local non-profit Desert Harvesters, a group of UA students, employees, and community members collect, harvest, and mill mesquite tree bean pods into flour to use in deserts and baking mixes. In the summer of 2011, volunteers from the UA community collected over 80 pounds of dry pods for milling. The pods were frozen, dried, and then milled at the Rincon Market in October, producing over 40 pounds of edible mesquite flour that was transformed by UA Dining Services into a line of baking mixes and foodstuffs sold at the Student Union.
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