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Green Fund Awards: Nine Sustainability Projects
April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31

Nine sustainability projects ranging from composting office food waste to reusing storm water to monitoring and reducing energy use will begin this spring at Penn with Green Fund support.

This is the University’s second round of Green Fund awards, designed to seed environmental project ideas from faculty, students and staff with one-time grants of as much as $50,000. The Green Fund was established as part of Penn’s pledge to create a more sustainable campus.

The projects must support goals and objectives as outlined in Penn’s Climate Action Plan, a long-range strategy launched last fall to reduce the University’s carbon footprint and enhance its overall sustainability.

The 2010 projects include:

• The Annenberg Public Policy Center will use worm composting to reduce the amount of food waste in the building and to educate staff about composting. Sealed collection bins with instructions will be placed in kitchen areas, and the compost will be used for both indoor and outdoor plants.

• The student-driven Addams Hall Shades of Green project recommends a number of ecological modifications of Addams that will focus on energy and water conservation in the most heavily used areas. Students will film a documentary during the installation of the retrofits that they will incorporate into an educational exhibit.

• Penn’s department of chemistry will install a 20-yard recycling compactor and a six-yard trash compactor in its loading dock to enable the department to start a lab glass and lab metal recycling program. The equipment will also increase the department’s capacity to recycle and decrease the number of pickups by Facilities to two-three times per week from the current 10-12 pickup rate.

• Meter installation at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s rural New Bolton Center will measure energy use.

• A pilot room heating/cooling occupancy sensor program in the Quad calls for installation of 30 sensors that monitor and control energy for heating and cooling units.

• The Vet School’s storm-water-harvesting project is designed to improve the Old Vet Quad Courtyard green space using sustainable-landscape maintenance practices and drought-resistant plantings. A 1,000- to 2,000-gallon storm-water-collection tank will be installed to supply filtered storm water to the irrigation system. The use of solar collectors to power the pump in the collection tank will be investigated.

• The Greening of the Castle fraternity house combines energy modifications for the Castle and an educational lecture series about sustainability to educate the chapter, the Greek community and the wider campus community.

• The Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services and the School of Medicine will install an automatic capacitor bank and associated equipment at the Translational Research Lab to improve the building’s energy performance. A 10-20 percent reduction in monthly electrical bills, equaling $22,500, is expected.

• The Warmth from Waste Wood project, designed to heat the Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Garage with wood from trees damaged on site, will make use of a cost-effective, low-emissions and EPA-certified hydronic heater unit. This outdoor wood-fired boiler will heat the garage with the waste wood, generating an expected fuel cost savings of $1,200 to $1,850 in the first year.

Related: Tree Planting on College Green; Penn Honored in "Guide to 286 Green Colleges"

Almanac - April 27, 2010, Volume 56, No. 31