Environment

SOUL speakers discuss progress in OU’s greenhouse gas impact

Photo courtesy Marcel Muench via Flickr.
Written by Kat Tenbarge

Sustainable Ohio University Leaders (SOUL) met Wednesday to discuss ways the university should work toward reducing institutional greenhouse gas emissions.

Four speakers discussed their various programs’ progress so far in reducing OU’s carbon footprint.

Marty Paulins, director of Transportation and Parking Services, said the university is using apps and technology to change behaviors.

His department is using Utility Device Control (UDC) chips to track university vehicles, or as he referred to them, the “fleet.”

Once data can be collected, a plan for a car share can be implemented. The new form of shared transportations will utilize Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts along with charging stations placed strategically around the campus. One such station would be placed alongside the new dorms.

Paulins said another transportation option offered at OU is Zipcar.

“There are more Zipcar students in the first two months (of this school year) on campus than there were Enterprise students in two years,” Paulins said. “Part of the [orientation presentation] is that you don’t need a car on campus anymore.”

Paulins also mentioned an app called ParkMe that lets users view available parking spaces, which he hopes will cut down greenhouse gas emissions by allowing people to more easily find parking spaces.

Lynnette Clouse, director of Interiors and Renovations, gave a description of the Lead in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program.

Clouse works with LEED guidelines to score various buildings around campus. The buildings are measured on a point scale, and the more environmentally friendly they are, the higher the points.

Categories include stormwater usage, roofing, insulation, alternative transportation, windows and water efficiency.

The Walter International building has a silver rating, as well as Schoonover Center and a building on the Chillicothe campus.

Clouse specifically talked about decision making when it comes to building design and brought up an example of low-flow toilets in Nelson that had to be removed because they were not practical.

Joe Lalley, senior associate vice president of Information Technologies and Administrative Services, discussed energy infrastructure further, including recent renovations that allowed for a 30 percent reduction in the amount of water used on campus, saving 7.7 million gallons.

Additionally, Scott Miller, director of the Consortium for Energy, Economics and the Environments, said although he believes that renewable energy sources are the end goal for maximum energy efficiency at Ohio University, there are more practical ways students and staff can make a difference right now.

“It’s not sexy,” Miller said, going on to describe ways the institution can improve, including tactics like more insulation, better fans and more advanced building technologies. “Ohio University is a microcosm of the nation and the state.”

Other ways to reduce emissions listed were managing office equipment energy use, using less energy for commutes, recycling and using green power.

He said buildings that create more energy than they use are the end goal for the entire movement, but that there is a ways to go before it would be possible.

“Renewable energy is very expensive,” Miller said. “Reducing our energy right now is the thing to do.”

About the author

Kat Tenbarge

Kat is the 2016-2017 campus editor, previously the presidential coverage editor and a campus writer. Kat is in her second year at Ohio University, pursuing a degrees in journalism and environmental studies. Kat has dreams of working in magazine, print or online journalism and can usually be found watching Supernatural or freelancing. Follow Kat on Twitter @kat10barge.

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