Twin Ports universities helping the environment
Twin Ports universities are doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment, as witnessed by two announcements this week. On Wednesday, the University of Wisconsin-Superior received an award for the sustainable design of its new studen...
Twin Ports universities are doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment, as witnessed by two announcements this week.
On Wednesday, the University of Wisconsin-Superior received an award for the sustainable design of its new student center. On Thursday, the University of Minnesota Duluth announced that energy conservation efforts during the 11-day winter break reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 200 tons.
"It shows we can make a difference with even small changes," said Mindy Granley, UMD sustainability coordinator.
UMD reduced heating and ventilation of campus buildings during the break, resulting in reductions of 13 percent in natural gas usage and 6.3 percent in electricity. The measures saved UMD $18,399 in energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by
196 tons -- equal to taking 34 cars off of the road for an entire year.
"Oftentimes, things that help the environment also help our bottom line," Granley said. "We have been working on improving energy efficiency for a number of years."
Those efforts have ranged from small to big. Last year four new outdoor solar-powered trash compactors were placed around campus.
At the large end of the scale, UMD constructed two buildings -- Labovitz and Life Science -- to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, so they'll be less expensive to heat and light.
UWS's $22 million Yellowjacket Union, which opened in January, also was built to LEED standards. Its green features include a design that makes maximum use of natural light, a vegetated roof to reduce heating and cooling costs, insulated floor slabs and efficient windows.
"The students are the ones who really pushed that design and really wanted a design that is sustainable," said Tom Fennessey, UWS director of facilities management.
In addition to the building's features, an estimated 1,339 tons of construction and demolition debris were diverted from landfills to recycling centers during its construction -- one reason the building received the state's Excellence in Sustainable Design and Construction Award from Gov. James Doyle.
Like UMD and UWS, Lake Superior College also has decided to construct energy-efficient buildings. The academic and student services building was built to LEED standards, as will be the planned health and science center.
The College of St. Scholastica has reduced its annual electrical needs by about 20 percent by replacing old lights with LEDs, upgrading ventilation systems and other projects.
"It is little things like that that really add up," spokesman Bob Ashenmacher said.