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Going Green at Penn
April 8, 2008, Volume 54, No. 28
Green Fest: April 18
Sustainability at the Penn Bookstore
The Green Campus Partnership
Some Sustainable Solutions
Penn RootsEarth Day: April 22

PEG logo

Green Fest: April 18

Green Fest, Friday—April 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on College Green—will be sponsored by the Penn Environment Group (PEG) and RecycleMania. Various groups concerned with environmental issues will be hosting tables with information, activities, free food and music!

Groups in attendance will include:

Farmecology–free local food

PennDining–selling shopping bags that will save students money on Penn purchases


Penn Outdoors

Engineers Without Borders will have solar cookers

Tap Water Challenge

PEG will be selling t-shirts, and providing tie-dye, hemp and bead-making activities

Please visit the RecycleMania website www.upenn.edu/recyclemania for more information.

Sustainability Month at the Penn Bookstore

Friday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m.—Sustainability Month Arts and Crafts Activity; paper plate butterfly puppet­ kids will make beautiful butterfly puppets out of recyclable material (ages 2 and up). 

Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m.—Penn Democrats and Penn College Republicans Political Debate—these campus groups will present and discuss their views on the pressing issues of the current political race such as national security, energy independence, universal healthcare, and the environment. 

Wednesday, April 16 at 6 p.m..—film screening, An Inconvenient Truth; in this documentary former vice president and long-time environmental activist, Al Gore, discusses the scientific facts behind global warming, its effects and consequences, and shares what each individual can do to help protect the Earth for this and future generations. Candy and healthy snacks will be provided for the movie!

Thursday, April 17 at 3:30 p.m.—discussion on Water Contamination and its Impact on Human Health; Niva Kramek, Penn research coordinator and teaching assistant, will discuss wastewater composition, urban water infrastructure, and the impacts of wastewater on drinking water sources (with potential impacts on human health).

Tuesday, April 22 at 6 p.m.—film screening, The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard followed by a discussion with Trudy Heller, Penn professor of business and the natural environment. This 20-minute film exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. Candy and healthy snacks will be provided!

Tuesday, April 29 at 6 p.m.—Eating for Energy and Eating Local; holistic health counselor Jacklyn Yovankin, will focus her talk on the local, sustainable movement and how eating whole organic, locally grown food is the best way to have optimal energy.

The Green Campus Partnership

This is the consortium that addresses environmental sustainability and stewardship, and advocates for enhanced sustainability policies at Penn. It includes the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC) as well as faculty and student groups, including the Penn Environmental Group.

A Green Campus Partnership website goes live April 10 and organizes in one place a comprehensive inventory of all Penn is doing around sustainability. On the site there will be tips, news articles, descriptions of what Penn does for sustainability and ways to “Become a Partner.” In addition, there will be an initial series of four podcasts this semester, “Five Minutes to a Green Campus,” featuring faculty, students and staff in interviews discussing campus sustainability initiatives. See  www.upenn.edu/sustainability.

Some Sustainable Solutions

Below are some of the many initiatives Penn has taken as part of its continued commitment to the environment.

Best Practices in Design & Construction: Porous Paving—A new standard, the parking lot expansion at 3101 Walnut used porous paving, reducing stormwater runoff. Porous paving reduces potholes by eliminating freeze-thaw damage. Water flows through porous paving, while ponding on typical asphalt.

Moravian Court Recycling Center—Sansom Row restaurants recycle kitchen waste and provide compost to the University’s Urban Nutrition Initiative for local gardens. Daily monitoring by property management and recycling consultants. The first on-site university composting facility in Pennsylvania.

Leaf Composting, since the 1970s­—600 cubic yards of leaves collected annually, saving about $6,000 in landfill costs. The 160 cubic yards of “free” compost save about $3,000 in delivery fees.

Sustainable Holidays—Locust Walk holiday lights: energy-efficient LEDs this year!

School of Design’s TC Chan Center is increasingly active on campus as a partner in reducing energy use on campus. They also completed the campus greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Penn has reduced greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels, due to increased efficiency of our campus systems & utilities and the Wind Power purchase.

Harnwell College House energy monitoring project, to provide feedback to students on utility use. Real-time feedback of energy use will actively engage students in conservation efforts. Installation of meters was coordinated with ongoing renovation work. Was initially suggested by an alumni and University donor. New building meters installed, student participants identified and eager to begin monitoring their apartments. Feedback will provide the basis for establishing House-wide goals and comparison of apartment performance.

Building Controls Optimization—improvements being implemented.  The TC Chan Center analysis of Huntsman & Schattner has revealed over 100 adjustments and modifications to return the buildings to their original performance profiles. The result will be greatly improving efficiency. Future investigations will target other high utility use buildings to generate additional savings to the University.

Campus-wide Energy Modeling—Modeling energy use across campus allows FRES to target investments to reduce overall utility bills. The project makes use of the expertise at the Chan Center and the extensive building performance data maintained by FRES.

Growing Sustainability Curriculum—Toward Environmental Sustainability on Penn’s Campus, a class offered this fall, examining the ramifications of the Presidents Climate Commitment (Almanac February 13, 2007.)

New Certificate Program offered at the School of Design responds to the nationwide 2030 Climate Change Challenge.

Penn Roots—Earth Day: April 22

Earth Day was initially celebrated throughout the US on April 22, 1970 inspired by a speech by Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) in 1969. The Earth Day celebration in Philadelphia was planned and organized by a group led by Ian McHarg, the late professor emeritus of landscape architecture and urban planning (Almanac March 20, 2001) whose book, Design With Nature, introduced environmental concerns to landscape architecture. The department which he founded and chaired was the major focus for the celebration, which culminated in 30,000 people at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park that day. On the 30th anniversary of Earth Day a commemorative plaque was dedicated in the Dean’s Alley in Meyerson Hall citing his environmental legacy.


Data from the eighth week (3/16–3/22) of RecycleMania is now in with Penn at 22%—our highest ever!

Per Capita Classic: Schools compete to see which can collect the largest amount of acceptable recyclables per person—Penn collected 11.22 lbs. per person and ranks 73, up from a starting rank of 97.

Gorilla Prize: Honors the school that recycles the highest gross tonnage of materials regardless of campus population—Penn has increased its ranking to 14.

Waste Minimization: Schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (including both recyclables and trash) per person—Penn is ranked 39th with only a slight decrease from its previous ranking.

Grand Champion: Recognizes the school that, based on their combined results, demonstrates the greatest achievement in both source reduction and recycling—Penn has moved up to 49, again its highest ranking so far!

Support Our Events—Penn’s watching …The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. It’s interactive and you can watch it too at www.storyofstuff.com.

Ongoing Events—Free Coffee Fridays, bring your own reusable mug to Houston Market and Einstein Bros. Bagels!

Let’s keep building on our success. Penn’s RecycleMania website (www.upenn.edu/recyclemania) has lots of tips! If you have questions about how your school, center, college house or department recycles send them to recyclemania@pobox.upenn.edu.

When we stop to think about the environment, everyone wins so remember: Stop! Think! Recycle!

—RecycleMania Planning Committee



Almanac - April 8, 2008, Volume 54, No. 28