BGSU plans for going green


In October, 2012, Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey signed on with about 700
other university presidents to a pledge to make their campuses carbon neutral.
Coming up with a plan to reach that goal will not be easy, said Nick Hennessy, the university’s
sustainability coordinator.
"The reality is implementing this plan will be more work than coming up with the plan itself,"
Hennessy told the Faculty Senate last week.
The working group that’s been laboring on putting the plan together for a year, has set a goal of 2040
for the campus to be carbon neutral – that is, producing no more greenhouse gases than it offsets in
other ways.
While that 25-year window may seem long, Hennessy said it puts BGSU on track to achieve the goal a full
decade before most other Ohio schools.
To achieve it will take a 4-percent reduction a year, he said.
First, he said, the working group had to inventory the university’s carbon emissions.
About half, Hennessy said, comes from the electricity the university purchases through Bowling Green.
Much of that, he said, is generated by coal burning plants.
While BGSU doesn’t have a lot of control over the source, he said. "We can change how much we use,
and how much we waste."
Also, another quarter comes from heating. The university made a major improvement, he said, when it
converted from heating with coal to heating with natural gas.
Still in both the case of electricity and natural gas, it is "critical" that the university
uses these wisely.
While sustainable sources of energy, solar and wind, are becoming more feasible, "we can’t predict
what will happen."
Some projects involve converting to LED lighting and using motion sensors to control lights to cut down
on electric use. The university just got funding, he said, to convert the ice arena. The field house and
Jerome Library are also targeted buildings.
The university will also work to get LEED certification, a national standard for energy efficiency, as it
renovates and builds new buildings.
Hennessy said the replacement of the old Greek housing with new townhouses will result in savings because
the new structures will be more energy efficient. On the other hand, renovating the oldest buildings on
campus, the Traditions buildings, means they will now be air-conditioned.
Still, renovations to the buildings should help over all.
Bruce Meyer, vice president for campus operations, said currently only 25 of the university’s 87
buildings have true temperature control. In the majority the heat is either on or off.
That’s not surprising when some of the equipment in the buildings is about a century old, he said.
Another aspect is to cut down on the waste the university creates and disposes of, Hennessy said.
The next step is for the working group to formulate the plan, Hennessy said.
That will involved projects that can be achieved in the short term – under two years – and those that
will take longer.

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