Officials work to continue meeting sustainability goals

By Rachel Scott, Chattanooga, TN–

Reduce, reuse, recycle
Reduce, reuse, recycle: Kimmy Nguyen, a Knoxville freshman, does her part in keeping the University an enviromentally friendly place by recyling her water bottle in the Boling Apartments.

The University has been working toward implementing the Climate Action Plan (C.A.P.) since 2008 when Chancellor Roger Brown signed the American College & University Presidents’ and Universities Climate Action Commitment (ACUPCC).
The climate commitment group requires the University to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory, draft and apply a Climate Action Plan, implement key evident actions and present a report every two years with the results.
According to the strategic plan, “as a metropolitan university, UTC will focus on partnerships, both within the institution and outside the institution, that are designed to advance the educational, societal and economic development aims of the University, the University of Tennessee System, the Chattanooga region, the state, and the nation.”
Last spring, the University conducted a campus-wide energy audit for its first annual alternative spring break, Lisa Darger, Sustainability Coordinator, said.
According to the University Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee, computers, electronics, podiums, lighting, building occupancy and temperature were all inventoried in five academic buildings.
The audit findings revealed in the report that more than 316 computers and 435 monitors were left on over the nine day period in which the study took place.
The potential energy savings from the audit have been calculated and reported, Dr. Deborah Arfken, Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management, said.
The findings were organized into three categories of interest, or scopes.
The second scope is the largest and the main contributor is purchased electricity, she said.
All the efforts to be more energy efficient are steps the University is taking to reduce the amount of purchased electricity we have to buy, she said.
The University’s sustainability goals are to minimize use of non-renewable energy sources through use of green and alternative power; incorporate energy efficiency and sustainability in green space, construction and renovations projects, operations and maintenance, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste, communicate and provide support for grassroots and academic education, Darger said.
“We are making great strides, Knoxville has made great strides, Sewanee has made great strides, Rhodes has made great strides,” Arfken said. “For us though, it all came together to make a really good impact because until then, there wasn’t a particular focus, but this plan brought the focus to all our efforts.”
In the 2012-2013 school year, the University hopes to host a second annual alternative spring break, update the arboretum, continue expanding the recycling program, install another bike rack, add over 80 trees, upgrade tile and lighting systems in the University Center, and host a second annual energy efficiency symposium, Darger said.
The University will be recognizing the 10th annual National Campus Sustainability Day, Oct. 24, and extending it into a sustainability week following fall break. Oct. 24 through 26 there will be information booths, venders, and activities on campus to support and show what is being done to help UTC sustainability grow on our own as well as working to grow with the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.

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