Program takes eWaste off universities’ hands, replaces it with cash

The United States produces about 2 million tons of eWaste – obsolete electronics and accessories like empty inker cartridges — each year.

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the United States produced 2.37 million tons of eWaste – obsolete electronics and accessories like old computers, dead phones, and empty inker cartridges.

Only a quarter of those materials were recycled, meaning more than 1.7 million pounds of eWaste that could have been reused or broken down into parts was just disposed of or incinerated.

College campuses, with their abundance of printers, computers, and tech savvy students, can be one of the main sources of this waste. Now FundingFactory, a recycling program for schools and nonprofits, has created a new initiative targeting universities’ eWaste recycling habits.…Read More

Arizona State University, Canon work to create a more sustainable university

ASU’s partnership with Canon began in 2006.

Seven years into a system-wide sustainability initiative, Arizona State University is on track to become completely carbon neutral by the year 2025. And it’s not just the campus environment that’s being saved — the university has reduced costs by $2 million a year.

The project, called Sustainable Digital University, is a partnership with Canon, the imaging and electronics company. Through the arrangement, the university uses discounted Canon technology to reduce both costs and the number of printing and copying devices on campus.

For example, a Canon multi-function device can copy, fax, print and scan, potentially replacing four different machines. Canon also plans on introducing digital replacements for traditional print methods.…Read More

Virtualization taking root on campus

Virtualization saves colleges money while conserving resources.

Virtualization technology is taking hold in higher education, helping colleges reallocate existing resources to save space, time, energy, and money—while often extending the life of older computers.

Using virtualization, specialized software tricks a single desktop or server into thinking that it’s many systems simultaneously, each with its own independent operating system.

A single computer or server is able to project mirrored images of its operating system onto other platforms, but these platforms are independently capable of completing different tasks simultaneously. The virtualized environments look identical to the standard computer to which users are accustomed, and users are free to access applications and programs normally.…Read More

Green projects used as recruitment tools in higher ed

EIU will save $140 million over the next two decades.

An environmentally unfriendly coal-burning plant on the Eastern Illinois University (EIU) campus was once a deterrent for prospective students. Closing the facility and launching a massive bio-energy initiative has proved a recruitment boon for the university.

EIU decision makers committed last fall to building a Renewable Energy Center, one of the largest university biomass installations in the country, after a coal-burning facility on the Charleston, Ill., campus had drawn considerable public and media scrutiny, becoming a headache for EIU recruiters.

The Renewable Energy Center, a 19,000-square-foot steam plant that will provide heat for buildings and classrooms, uses wood chips from forest residue for fuel, and will slash the campus’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 20,000 metric tons while saving the school $140 million in energy costs over the next 20 years.…Read More

New devices will help track UC Merced’s water usage

Water conservation could help the university save thousands annually.

The University of California (UC) Merced has partnered with a start-up company in the Silicon Valley to use a new technology that will help the university better track its water usage.

The university hopes that the technology will also help create a water-saving culture on campus.

This summer, the university bought 40 Aquacue Barnacles for about $40,000 and attached them to the 40 water meters around campus. An Aquacue Barnacle is a device that monitors water usage and tracks data in real time.…Read More

Campus technology departments going green

Campus technology departments are reducing their environmental impact—and saving money—by consolidating servers.

Campus technology departments across the country are finding that investing in energy-efficient technologies has an economic benefit as well as helping to save the environment.

“We projected a 30-percent increase in power efficiency … and [are] looking at about $7,700 in annual savings,” said Daniel Lichter, director of data and network infrastructure at Saint Xavier University. Much of these savings have come from consolidating servers, Lichter said.

CDW Government LLC (CDW-G) surveyed 756 technology professionals for its 2010 “Energy Efficient IT Report” and found that three-quarters of respondents are working to reduce energy use in their IT operations. If current energy use rates don’t change, greenhouse gas emissions from data centers will outweigh those from the airline industry by 2020, the company warns.…Read More

Tossing inefficiency to the curb

In a pilot project, Iowa State cut its trash collection costs by 90 percent using BigBelly solar trash compactors.
In a pilot project, Iowa State cut its trash collection costs by 90 percent using BigBelly solar compactors.

Taking out the trash is about to get a whole lot greener at a number of campuses this fall, as colleges and universities invest in solar trash compactors that are expected to save them money in the long haul.

Eleven new BigBelly solar compactors are being installed across the Iowa State University campus in areas where traditional trash receptacles used to need to be emptied multiple times a day, said ISU Director of Sustainability Merry Rankin.

The devices are cutting trash collection costs as a result of their built-in solar-powered compactors. They store up solar energy throughout the day, then when the container fills to a certain point, the compactor crushes the trash.…Read More

MIT turns to smart ventilation as campus greening continues

MIT's green efforts could save the campus $50 million.
MIT’s green efforts could save the campus $50 million.

An advanced ventilation system that adjusts airflow according to outdoor temperatures and how many people are in a room could help the Massachusetts Institute of Technology save $100,000 annually as the university continues to trim its energy use.

MIT teamed up with air quality company Aircuity on Aug. 16 to equip the university’s Hayden Library and the Sloan School of Management with a ventilation infrastructure that will help reduce electricity use by 15 percent in the next three years, according to Aircuity’s web site.

The new system, called OptiNet, includes an HVAC optimizer mode and sensors that constantly measure air quality–critical elements for schools and businesses looking to bring down energy costs.…Read More

Colleges appeal to students with green policies

Universities are touting green initiatives to draw eco-conscious students.
Universities are touting green initiatives to draw eco-conscious students.

Small private colleges and large research universities alike have adopted green policies in recent years in an effort to trim energy bills, encourage sustainability, and lure environmentally conscious students to their campuses. Now, a college counseling company has named five schools in particular as the most eco-friendly.

Such lists could carry weight among prospective students. In fact, nearly seven in 10 high school students surveyed by the Princeton Review last year said they would evaluate a college’s environmental policies and commitments before attending classes there. And with Earth Day approaching on April 22, schools are touting their green credentials in the annual springtime recruiting blitz.

IvyWise, a counseling company based in New York City and headed by admissions expert Katherine Cohen, released its list last week of schools that appeal to the greenest of prospective students: the University of Washington at Seattle, Arizona State University, Bates College, Emory University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder.…Read More