Wednesday, December 22, 2010
The most obvious benefit of setbacks is monetary, with the savings calculated to be $10,000 per day. This program also helps UF reduce our carbon footprint. More than 70% of our carbon emissions are directly related to our buildings. Thus, building setback programs are an important part of the campus plan to be carbon neutral by 2025.
Hopefully you will help UF save even more money and energy by unplugging unneeded equipment and electronics, turning off what you can't unplug, and remembering to shut off lights in your office and in common areas, such as bathrooms and conference rooms.
University officials understand that many buildings have essential personnel who work on campus even when the students are gone, file servers require fixed temperatures, and some laboratory and research areas cannot tolerate temperature fluctuations.
Before implementing a setback program, buildings are closely studied to determine special circumstances and zoned accordingly.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
While this year’s challenge saw fewer participants than in previous ones, 482 total registrants comprised 82 teams, their dedication remained steadfast. Roughly 169,621 pounds of emissions were avoided throughout the challenge, the result of 20,840 fewer trips and 174.927 single occupancy vehicle miles saved.
“This year’s challenge incorporated some new elements, while maintaining many of the elements that have helped establish the program at UF,” said Anna Prizzia, director of the Office of Sustainability. “We made an effort to focus more on individual action than in previous years, and are pleased to see the frequency and consistency with which participants logged their commutes.”
GreenRide, a system that exists independently of the challenge and is a resource for the campus community to find ride matches also calculates this savings in terms of fuel and dollars saved from reduced incidental costs. For the period of the challenge, August 23 through November 19, participants saved a collective 7,508 gallons of fuel, and approximately $96, 385. The system uses a basic formula to calculate a per mile savings on maintenance and ownership (i.e., car payments, insurance) to further reflect the opportunities and benefits of utilizing alternative transportation modes more frequently.
When taken together, the impact helps UF inch closer to its goal of carbon neutrality, while continuing education on the importance of personal action. “Based on a 2005 greenhouse gas inventory of campus emissions, we’ve estimated that roughly 10% of our carbon footprint is attributable to commuting,” said Prizzia. “In order to get this percentage as close to zero as possible, we each have a responsibility to identify opportunities in our lives, as Gators and as individuals in the larger scale, to make changes toward sustainability.”
Physical Plant Division - Grounds Superintendent, Organic Citrus Vendor
Martin “Marty” Werts has been a dedicated employee to the University of Florida for the past 30 years, incorporating sustainability into his every day routine as naturally as waking up in the morning.
“Marty is a tremendous asset to the game day recycling program. He wholeheartedly supports it week after week, and actively seeks opportunities to best serve the initiative’s needs,” says Jordan Weinstein, intern program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability’s TailGator Game Day Recycling Program. “He is an essential component, and a fierce ally that we are lucky to have at our disposal.”
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
The UF Agronomy and Soils Club manages the gardens and provides information to new gardeners. Garden plots are available in two sizes on a yearly basis: 26 by 21 feet for $35; and 13 by 21 feet for $20.
For more than 30 years, the gardens have provided students, faculty and staff with space in which to pursue and experiment with food production, gardening and sustainability.
“Agriculture is yet another area where each of us can reconnect with something so essential, yet often underappreciated in our culture,” said Anna Prizzia, director of the Office of Sustainability. “With something as intimate as food, the gardens provide a hands-on opportunity for people to explore the origin of what they are eating and recognize the importance of self-sufficiency and being an informed consumer.”
The communal nature of the gardens also provides fulfillment to gardeners of all experience levels.
“There is nothing quite like hands-on experience, especially with something like agriculture,” said student intern Zach Tucker. “The gardens allow people to see a wide variety of crops and methods for growing those crops in a small area, and to connect with each on something so elemental.”
Plots are rented for a period of one year on a first-come first-served basis. It is garden policy that no synthetic pesticides or herbicides be used, and organic practices are preferred. Winter crops are getting under way, so sign up is recommended now.
For information on how to obtain a plot, contact Zach Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: University of Florida News
Friday, October 22, 2010
As a result of the energy summit projects, most of UF’s buildings are now individually metered for electricity, allowing staff to monitor energy use more accurately and customize building systems to operate more efficiently. Major renovations and equipment replacements included chillers, boilers, and air handlers throughout campus. One project, replacing T-12 lighting fixtures with T-8’s had a return on investment of 61%, with $300,000 annual savings! Smaller projects, like installing occupancy sensors, upgrading filters, and replacing windows were also a part of the Energy Summit projects.
The upgrades and efforts conducted in response to the Energy Summit meetings reflect UF’s commitment to sustainability and carry the institution closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. However, based upon information gleaned from the 2005 Greenhouse Gas Inventory conducted, it was determined that around 30% of a building’s energy use is attributable to small equipment and behavioral conditions. This insight helped inform the design and implementation of the “Chomp Down on Energy” efficiency campaign to help educate and empower students, staff and faculty to consider the impact their individual actions have on the cumulative energy use (and footprint) of UF. All Gators can learn tips for energy conservation, and actively be a part of the sustainability story unfolding across campus.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The plan’s transportation policies are very progressive, and Ms. Dixon works with many stakeholders including UF’s Transportation & Parking Services, Office of Sustainability, Physical Plant Division, and Gainesville Regional Transit System to make those policies a reality. She advocates for funding to construct new bicycle and pedestrian facilities, such as the new bike paths through Bartram-Carr Woods and near the Cancer-Genetics building. She also serves on the Parking and Transportation Committee, and facilitates an ad-hoc Sustainable Transportation Work Group that meets regularly to improve conditions such as bicycle parking, carpooling, bicycle safety, and employee transportation options. She herself enjoys using the FPC department bike to get around campus.
On environmental issues, Ms. Dixon relies heavily on the Lakes, Vegetation and Landscaping Committee as well as Erik Lewis, Senior Planner in Facilities Planning and Construction. Mr. Lewis maintains Conservation Area Land Management (CALM) Plans that prescribe environmental protection measures to be taken in natural areas on campus. Many of these recommendations were recently implemented with student funding from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund and grants from the Department of Environmental Protection.
To round out sustainable measures, Ms. Dixon also devotes significant time to issues such as energy efficient lighting, green building, and historic preservation, but adds that all of these efforts rely on a network of students, faculty and staff that are knowledgeable and willing to learn and contribute – all of which are in abundant supply at UF! Campus Master Plan and CALM Plans can be viewed at University of Florida FP&C Campus Planning .
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
As part of the One Less Car Challenge, a celebration for participants will be held from 11 AM to 1 PM on October 6 on the Reitz Union North Lawn (or the Colonnade should it rain). The event will include free cupcakes for decorating, prize drawings and giveaways, and various games where attendees can have fun while learning the benefits of alternative modes.
Tickets to the Women’s Volleyball match against Tennessee—this season’s green game—will be distributed to the first 200 staff and faculty attendees, compliments of the University Athletic Association. Office of Sustainability Director Anna Prizzia and Student Body President Ashton Charles will also speak and honor those who have committed to alternative transportation through the challenge.
In the evening, Chipotle Mexican Grill on University Avenue will offer free burritos from 5 PM to 7 PM to anyone wearing a One Less Car t-shirt or button and RUB Entertainment will host an Alternative Transportation Forum from 8 PM to 10 PM in the Orange and Brew. The public is invited to join City Commissioner Randy Wells and Alachua County Sustainability Program Manager Sean McLendon to discuss energy conservation and alternative transportation in Gainesville.
The One Less Car Challenge runs through November 19, with various mini-challenges and prize opportunities along the way. For more information, visit www.sustainable.ufl.edu/onelesscar or follow One Less Car on Facebook.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
During the two-day workshop a professional facilitator led discussions about sustainability, environmental issues, the local Florida/Alachua County ecosystem, and the political, economic, social, philosophical, and ethical dimensions of these issues. Local resource experts provided information on local ecology, public health, environmental justice, and an overview of campus environmental efforts. The lectures, discussions, outdoor time, and workshop materials highlighted connections among these issues, the campus, and broader national and international issues of sustainability.
At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant was asked to develop a work plan and become a sustainability resource person within their college. Throughout the school year, Prairie Project fellows will attend follow-up meetings to report on their progress and share their experience integrating sustainability into the curriculum at UF.
As a member of the Division of Student Affairs, New Student Programs is committed to exemplifying these values and behaviors in their facilities, programming and daily work. These efforts come in many forms, from printing double sided to using compostable plates as well as reusable plates, cups and silverware when possible at large events. This year's preview staffers received a specific presentation on sustainability so they can inform incoming students and their families about the various efforts and opportunities that exist at UF, and the selection for the 2010 Common Reading Program (CRP) similarly reflects a commitment to provoking thought and passion around sustainability. In addition to bringing the CRP book author - William Kamkwamba - to campus, other speakers in their Featured Speaker Series focus on topics of social and environmental sustainability. "It is our hope that the students who interact with our staff, utilize our facilities and engage in programs will not only learn about how we incorporate sustainable practices in our daily operations but in turn will learn how they can incorporate sustainable practices too!"
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The challenge continues until Nov. 19, and focuses on individual commitment to commute by foot, bike, bus, carpool or another alternative mode throughout the fall semester.
To kick off the challenge, the Office of Sustainability will host an Alternative Transportation Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday on the Reitz Student Union North Lawn. Clubs and local organizations will have information about the various transportation options available on campus and around Gainesville, as well as games and other fun activities and giveaways.
One Less Car Day will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 6 on the Reitz Student Union Colonnade and North Lawn. The event is a celebration of the benefits from alternative transportation and will honor those who have stepped up to the challenge. The event will also feature games and activities, with the opportunity to win a variety of prizes.
The campus community is challenged to use alternative transportation on One Less Car Day and throughout the semester. Since 2008, nearly 3,000 people have participated, avoiding more than 78,000 trips and keeping 375 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.
“We are thrilled to see the support and excitement surrounding the One Less Car challenge, and look forward to the program’s continued growth among the campus community,” said Anna Prizzia, director of the Office of Sustainability.
Those interested in taking part in the challenge can join the Sustainable UF team and log the miles they commute with the UF GreenRide software. Points are awarded for each trip traveled by alternative transportation, and the challenge encourages participants to earn bonus points through “invite a friend” referrals. Participants can also start or join their own teams to encourage healthy competition amongst friends and colleagues.
Registration is ongoing. Members of the UF community can find out more information, sign up for the challenge, and join a team online at http://sustainable.ufl.edu/onelesscar.
For more information, contact Ashley Pennington at email@example.com or (352) 392-7578.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
In 2006, UF president J. Bernard Machen was the first to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, committing to reduce our carbon emissions and educate our campus community about climate change. The University of Florida has completed carbon inventory for 2004-05 as a baseline, and is working on an inventory tool that will regularly update. UF has also published a Climate Action Plan and set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.
For more information on what UF is doing and how to get involved, check out Chomp Down on Energy.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Dean’s Office team is making strides in energy conservation by participating in the “Chomp Down on Energy” campaign, as well as promoting recycling and waste reduction. Captain Mary Ring promptly reached out to get some additional bins in the building, and team members have been actively removing the office address from junk mail lists to help cut waste at the source. “Education is key,” says Ring, as is recognition for any and all efforts to help encourage camaraderie in sustainability. “If there's one thing we've all learned during the course of the past 6 months it is that every little accomplishment is an important part of the big accomplishment and everyone should be just as thrilled in results whether large or small,” she said.
The Department of Infectious Disease and Pathology team and their captain, Anna Lundgren, are also getting creative. While the team sends out an e-newsletter to keep staff aware of efforts and provide tips, they are also working to audit vending machine use in the hopes of eliminating one of three machines to reduce energy consumption and encourage the use of reusable bottles.
Captain Barbara Dupont has a number of exciting efforts underway in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. In addition to switching to all electronic exams in the Health Science Center, the team has also put in place a process for saving dry ice packs from deliveries, keeping the environmentally sensitive waste out of the trash and allowing for reuse by others. SACS is also working on a green employee pledge to be included as part of their new hire packet, as well as a similar pledge for current employees.
Jennifer Wallace with the UF Small Animal Hospital made sure to obtain recycling bins for the lobby, while department staff is working hard to shut computers off at night and coordinate with management on adjusting student default printer settings to double-sided.
For more information on Green Teams visit the Green Teams website, or contact Ashley Pennington.
Sustainable Floridians: New County Extension Pilot Program Hopes to Expand Sustainability Conversation, Action around State
The non-credit adult education program is designed for citizen volunteers who enroll through county extension offices. It is a hybrid of instructor-led sessions and a peer-to-peer model. The instructor-led portion ensures provision of reliable, Florida specific information incorporated into a 7-week curriculum, while the peer interaction section brings in local knowledge, fosters group cohesion, and provides for a more dynamic learning experience.
The program is designed to take advantage of extension service institutional strengths to deliver sustainability programming. These strengths include delivery of sound, reputable information in a network of existing communication channels throughout the state of Florida. County faculty will lead the program with technical assistance from state specialists and with involvement from a lead volunteer who receives special training in advance.
The primary goals of the program include satisfying the demand among citizens for sustainability programs, creating leadership groups within the community to take on service projects appropriate to that community, and providing greater resilience for communities by working with citizens at grassroots level. Each class will pick a group project early on, such as creation of a local eating guide, installation of a rain or community garden, or participating in low-income weatherization projects. Planning and implementing this project is the capstone element of the course. As with other master programs, participants will take on an obligation to contribute a number of hours in service equivalent to the hours received in their education and training, and those who complete all these requirements will be awarded certification.
Article is courtesy of Kathryn Ziewitz, Florida Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Visit our UF's Oil Spill Response page for information on what the University of Florida is doing and resources on how to assist with efforts to clean up the Gulf and its wildlife.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
President Machen gave his annual “State of Sustainability at UF” address, emphasizing the importance of individual action and the part every Gator plays in transforming our university. He commented on the solar panels currently being installed on Powell Hall, and what this can mean for both UF and the community at large. These panels, done in partnership with Progress Energy, not only represent a step toward sourcing energy through renewable means, but to also be an engaging, educational piece for the over 200,000 annual visitors to the Florida Museum of Natural History about the prospects of solar energy in sunshine state.
Additionally he remarked on our continued recognition on the national scene. The University of Florida was most recently included in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 286 Green Colleges.
This year also marked the second year of the Sustainable Solutions Awards. There were a number of notable achievements, and the following list helps reflect some of the efforts, individuals and groups who help champion sustainability here at UF:
Most Active Green Team - Finance and Accounting
Most Active Student Organization - 2010 Solar Decathlon Team
Waste Reduction - Online Swap Meet Program
Student Waste Reduction - Florida Alternative Breaks
Water Conservation - “Can You Take A 5-Minute Shower?” - Water Conservation Pilot Program
Energy Efficiency and Conservation - Physical Plant Division, Retro-Commissioning Team
Student Energy Efficiency and Conservation - Neutral Gator Renter’s Initiative
Bright Idea Award - “Pushing the Envelope” Campaign, Susan Smith
Student Bright Idea Award - Clotheslines at Campus Housing Facilities, Ricardo Brown-Salazar
Congratulations to all of our winners and nominees!
“We are always looking for new ways to be sustainable, and we are thrilled to contribute to the university wide goal of carbon neutrality during this premier event on campus,” said Lynda Reinhart, director of the O’Connell Center.
The offsets, purchased through the local nonprofit Neutral Gator and coordinated with assistance from UF’s Physical Plant, help reduce UF’s footprint while simultaneously helping to fund a more energy-efficient Gainesville. Taking such large and interactive events and making them carbon neutral also helps educate the Gator Nation of UF’s dedication to sustainability and how every facet of the orange and blue can go green.
Additionally, more than 350 graduating students signed the Green Graduation Pledge, committing to carry the values of sustainability with them as they move on from the University of Florida.
The Office of Sustainability and the Student Government agency, Gators Going Green, joined to promote the pledge, tabling at various events throughout the spring term and at cap and gown pickup, in addition to adding an online capability to sign the pledge. The site will allow graduates to connect and reflect on sustainability in a global context, as well as stay informed and involved with sustainable developments at UF. A reception was held at Boca Fiesta on April 22 to honor this year’s signatories, foster new relationships, and celebrate these students’ commitment to spread sustainable change.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
UF College of Design, Construction and Planning graduates first Sustainability and the Built Environment students
Long is a member of the first class graduating from UF with the Bachelor of Science in Sustainability and the Built Environment from the College of Design, Construction and Planning.
The program gives students an important grounding in environmental issues and ideas as they relate to designing and constructing buildings.
Long says what the program teaches is invaluable.
"I started off in architecture, but I realized that we really need to focus on making infrastructure more environmentally sensitive," she says. "Instead of making new things, I wanted to focus on improving what we already have."
Because of the program’s unique structure, Long only will need another year of classes before she can receive her master’s degree in urban and regional planning.
The program includes a capstone course, or final project, which asks students to tackle a problem in the field. Long looked into sustainable energy, but other topics included design of a single family home, how to produce food in a sustainable way and reconstructing New Orleans.
Another unique program feature gives students the choice to participate in either a field experience or a practicum course. Long’s practicum involved working with the UF’s Solar Decathlon Team, a team of faculty and students designing and building an 800-square-foot sustainable home for the Solar Decathlon Europe competition
Christopher Silver, dean of the College of Design, Construction and Planning, says the program provides an outlet for students to build upon their more traditional majors in relationship to the larger society.
"We are trying to find ways for students to be more interdisciplinary because that’s what is happening in the real world," Silver says. "From this program, you can go in many different directions. I could envision these students going on to graduate work in a variety of professional fields."
Peggy Carr, associate dean for undergraduate studies, agrees.
"We think this provides an important grounding in issues and ideas essential in society today and in the future," Carr says. "People now recognize that we can no longer waste resources, and the built environment disciplines captured by our college are huge consumers of those resources. These students have been trained to consider the full impact of those decisions."
Long is an example of this awareness.
"The tools and knowledge that are gained through the program are not just relevant to certain sections of society," Long says. "Sustainability is crucial in all walks of life and has aspects that everyone can relate to. Perhaps the greatest impact that graduates of this program can have is to educate others on the importance on sustainability and the small things that everyone can do to help make a difference in the world."
Writer:Alexandra Layos, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-392-4836, ext. 324
Contact:Peggy Carr, email@example.com, 352-392-4836, ext. 308
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sign the Green Graduation Pledge
UF Bookstore, 10am-4pm
Sustainable Products Tradeshow
Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, 10am-2pm
106 Rinker Hall, 6:30pm
CAMPUS EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Plaza of the Americas
Hazardous and Electronic Waste Collection - 10am-3pm
Greening Your Career panel - 11am
Status of Sustainability presentation by UF President, Bernie Machen - 1pm
Sustainable Solutions Awards Presentation – 1:30pm
Earth Days Reception and Movie
Recycle Your Coursepacks
Campuswide, all day
UF Cultural Plaza Earth Day Celebration
UF Cultural Plaza, 10am-3pm
Monday, April 12, 2010
The University of Florida Office of Sustainability is proud to host the first Florida Food Summit, April 12-13. The event at UF’s Reitz Student Union will facilitate networking, dialogue, and visioning among members of the Florida food system, and help develop the connections needed for robust farm-to-institution programs.
Monday, April 12
- Challenges and Opportunities for the Food System in Alachua County
9:45 - 11:00am, Rion Ballroom
- Food on the Lawn Fair and Farmers Market Be a part of the first ever farmers market on campus. Buy local produce and learn about local and state food organizations and efforts, 11:00am - 3:00pm, North Lawn and Terrace
- Challenges and Opportunities for the Florida Food System
3:30 - 5:00pm, Rion Ballroom
- Michael Dimock, Can Food Be Local, Healthy and Fair?
8:00pm, Rion Ballroom
- Basics of Home Gardens
9:30 - 10:45am – JWRU Room 286
- Stories of Local Cheeses, Dairy Farms and Cheese Lovers
9:30 - 10:45am – JWRU Room 285
- Food and Ethics
11:00am - 12:15pm – JWRU Room 286
- Making Food Visible: Practice and Pedagogy in the Arts
1:30 - 2:45pm – JWRU Room 286
- Faith and Seed: Sustainable Agriculture and Religious Values
3:00 - 4:15pm – JWRU Room 286
- The Meaning of Labels
3:00 - 4:15pm – JWRU Room 285
- Range, Furrow and Grove: Images of Florida Agriculture
5:00 - 7:00pm – JWRU Gallery
- Robert Stone and Carlton Ward, Jr., Florida Cowboys: Reflections on the Past and Visions for the Future
7:30pm Rion Ballroom
All Food Summit events are free and open to the public.
For more information visit:
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
FOOD WEEK - 5 Days, 5 Issues Sponsored by UF Student Organizations
Diverse student groups will host events highlighting the problems, solutions, and opportunities presented by our current food system. The events will cover local to global food issues. Come hungry and be prepared to leave with a full stomach and mind.
Monday April 5
Stop Hunger Now!
Broward Basement, 630pm-830pm
Tuesday April 6
Be Organic & Slow Food
Plaza of the Americas, 1pm-3pm
Wednesday April 7
Young Farmers and the Future of Agriculture
New Physics Building 1002, 630pm-830pm
Thursday April 8
The True Cost of Food
Williamson Hall 100, 630pm-830pm
Friday April 9
The Bitter Side of Sugar
CSE E119, 6pm-8pm
Saturday April 10
The Old Homestead Trail
Dudley Farm, 10am-12pm
Sunday April 11
Food and Faith: A Panel Discussion on Sustainability, Food and Religion
Friends of the Music Room, University Auditorium
Next week's events include the Florida Food Summit (April 12 - 13). The event at UF’s Reitz Student Union will facilitate networking, dialogue, and visioning among members of the Florida food system, and help develop the connections needed for robust farm-to-institution programs. All FFS events are free and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, follow the links below.
Food Summit Day 1: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=105157976186258&ref=ts
Food on the Lawn Farmers Market and Fair: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=108291702532173&ref=ts
Food Summit Day 2: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=108765575813525&ref=ts
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The summit is part of the Office of Sustainability’s 40 Days of Change campaign – a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
The event will commence with a welcome reception, followed by public panels focusing on local food systems at the local and state level. Additional events include film screenings, multimedia presentations and a “Food on the Lawn” fair and farmers market. “Food on the Lawn” will take place on UF’s Plaza of the Americas from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12, and feature food demonstrations, educational displays and local produce for sale. A photography exhibition, “Range, Furrow, and Grove: Images of Florida Agriculture,” will also be on display April 5-17 in the Reitz Student Union Gallery.
Michael Dimock, executive director of Roots for Change, will present a keynote speech on sustainable food system development. The presentation will take place the evening of April 12. Robert Stone, outreach coordinator for Florida Folklife Program, will present “Florida Cowboys and Agricultural History” the evening of April 13.
A special workshop will be held April 13 for local and national stakeholders invited to share their knowledge on and ideas for creating and accelerating farm-to-institution programs.
Additional programs hosted in the days leading up to the event will complement the summit program and include movie showings, student-led programs and a panel entitled “Food and Faith,” featuring local religious leaders.
Sponsors of the event include Alachua County, Aramark Higher Education and Darden Restaurants, along with considerable support from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in planning and participation.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The events culminate in an open house Friday where the public can tour the home that will compete in Solar Decathlon Europe, an international competition designed to advance innovation and research in solar, sustainable and industrialized housing.
The Project: RE: FOCUS team will encourage the UF community to “Make a Change, Not a Footprint” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Plaza of the Americas with an expo featuring solar panels, renderings of the home, the home’s floor plan staked out to scale, and other information on the project.
On Thursday morning, Project RE:FOCUS will take over the 34th Street wall to inspire the Gainesville community members to make a small change in their lives to reduce their carbon footprint.
Friday’s open house will feature tours of the home, information about the project and presentations by College of Design, Construction and Planning Dean Christopher Silver, team leader and building construction professor Robert Ries and student team leader and doctoral student Dereck Winning.
“The Solar Decathlon gives students from across the university the opportunity to work together on a real-world project, and Friday will be the first opportunity for the team to present their work to the sponsors and the community,” Ries said.
The open house will take place at the UF Solar Energy Park, 2610 S.W. 23rd Terrace, from 3 to 6 p.m., with the presentations delivered at 3:15 p.m. Those who attend are encouraged to carpool to promote sustainability and due to limited parking.
The UF team, comprised of more than 125 students from four colleges and eight disciplines, will compete in Madrid this June in 10 categories that include solar power, innovation, sustainability and communication. The team’s entry fuses innovation with the design of the historic Florida Cracker House to further the field of solar energy and inspire solutions for sustainable living that fit market needs.
For updates on the house, visit http://www.floridasolardecathlon.org/
Writing Credits: Kathryn Watson
Campus-wide cost savings, as a result of this competition, were moderate and are viewed in the context of a year-long budget for utilities. The utility charges campus residents pay are a pass-through cost included in semester rent. Utility charges for the fiscal year are set each March and are based on usage averages established over many years and the prevailing water rates charged by local utility providers.
“Our Eco-Challenge contests focus on saving resources rather than on saving money,” said Sharon Blansett, Housing Green Team captain. “We encourage residents to practice behaviors that will reduce their environmental footprint now and in the future.”
“Eco-Challenge: Battle of the Halls” competitions are cosponsored by the Inter-Residence Hall Association and the Department of Housing and Residence Education Green Team. The winners of the energy challenge and overall winner will be announced later in March. The winning residence hall communities will be recognized campus-wide prior to Finals Week.
Credits: Sharon Blansett, SharonB@housing.ufl.edu
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
The lights around Century Tower and lights on fountains and on outdoor art installations will be off from Friday evening until Monday morning. The University Athletic Association also confirmed additional campus spots that will go dark for the weekend include the stadium north end signs, the basketball lobby, the Gate 18 donor lights and Ben Hill Griffin signage on Stadium Road West. Additionally, the electronic marquees at several entrances to the UF campus will be dark from 5 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday.
This is the third year UF has encouraged students, faculty and staff to participate in Earth Hour and the second year campus landmarks have been turned off. Turning off lights at Century Tower and other campus icons will symbolize the school’s commitment to sustainability without affecting lights on streets, sidewalks or parking garages to ensure campus safety isn’t compromised.
“We are glad to be a part of this global movement to bring awareness to energy conservation,” Prizzia said. “We hope darkening our campus icons will inspire people to contemplate their own energy impacts.”
The office will also urge students, especially those living in residence halls, to turn off nonessential lighting during Earth Hour.
Earth Hour started three years ago in Sydney, Australia, and became a global event in 2008 when more than 400 cities turned off extra lights, including those at the Sydney Opera House, the Coliseum and the Empire State Building, according to the World Wildlife Fund Web site.
For more information about Earth Hour nationally visit https://www.myearthhour.org/home
Contact: Ashley Pennington.
Monday, March 15, 2010
40 Days of Change Kickoff Activities
UF Lacrosse and Softball Green Games
Alternatively Fueled Vehicles Display and Panel Discussion
Friday March 3/19
1st Annual Gainesville Environmental Film & Arts Festival
Saturday March 3/20
Kanapaha Spring Garden Festival
Follow Sustainable UF on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sustainableUF
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
From March 16 to April 24, members of the local community and Gator Nation are invited to make a change in their lives, homes and world by participating in sustainability-focused events throughout the area.
“40 Days of Change” will launch on March 16 with a series of interactive activities at the Reitz Student Union. Participants can plant their own edible greens, make jewelry from recycled materials, and learn more about the campaign.
The campaign encourages participants to be active both socially and physically through interactive events including University of Florida Lacrosse and Softball “Green Games” on March 17, the Gainesville Environmental Film & Arts Festival on March 19-28, a handmade natural soap workshop on March 20, “Range, Furrow, and Grove: Images of Florida Agriculture” photography exhibition on April 5-17, walking tours of Paynes Prairie every Thursday and “5 Days 5 Issues” presentations by UF student organizations April 5-9.
The focal point of “40 Days of Change” will be the 2010 Florida Food Summit, hosted by the UF Office of Sustainability, on April 12 -13. The event will take place at the university’s Reitz Student Union and will facilitate networking, dialogue, and visioning among members of the Florida food system, and help develop the connections needed for robust farm-to-institution programs.
The campaign will culminate with Earth Day events on campus and in the community April 19-24. UF’s campus Earth Day celebration on April 21st will include the annual State of Sustainability address by President Bernie Machen on the Plaza of the Americas, followed by the presentation of this year’s Sustainable Solutions Award recipients. Sustainable Alachua County and the UF Office of Sustainability will host “Earth Days,” the movie, at the Hippodrome during the week, and on April 24, the Florida Museum of Natural History will hold a community Earth Day celebration and Rebuild Together will provide a chance to volunteer in the community for National Rebuilding Day.
“40 Days of Change” is an opportunity for community members to learn more about sustainability initiatives while contributing and interacting with each other. The full schedule of events, with information on times and locations, can be found here.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
The award was presented to UF, PGAL and James Cummings Inc. for their strong collaboration. PGAL, a national architecture and engineering firm, designed the complex. James A. Cumming Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, was the design/build team leader.
The team built a six-level, 313,000-square-foot parking garage with 927 spaces and an attached two-story Transportation and Parking Services office building.
The most outstanding feature of the complex is its exceptional sustainability for both the garage’s design and construction.
The complex was named the nation’s first LEED Gold parking garage facility. To be considered for this award, LEED ranks facilities on their site planning, water management, energy management, material use, indoor air quality and innovation and design process. To receive gold certification, the second-highest rating, a building must earn 39 of a possible 69 points in those six areas.
“We are delighted that UF has achieved the first parking facility in the nation to receive the LEED Gold certification,” said Scott Fox, director of the UF Transportation and Parking Services.
The new facility is part of the university’s pioneering “green” master plan.
“Without question it was UF’s commitment from the first day of design to construct a truly sustainable parking facility,” Fox said.
The parking garage is also a candidate to be certified as LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. If certified, the complex will be the nation’s first LEED Platinum parking facility. There are only 141 LEED Platinum buildings of any type worldwide.
In 2001, the university adopted LEED criteria for design and construction of all major renovation projects on campus. The Heavener Football Complex is the nation’s first LEED Platinum athletic facility. The campus also has two LEED Gold buildings, one of which is the first LEED Gold facility in Florida.
The complex provides parking for students, faculty and medical personnel.
Monday, February 22, 2010
The nomination deadline is at the end of March. The awards program will held June 4 at the Florida Green Building Coalition Green Trends conference. And, the Governor and Cabinet usually honor the winners with a resolution at a later meeting.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Housing placed light switch covers throughout residence halls and Student Affairs facilities to remind students and staff to turn off lights when not in use, and initiated a “Computers Off!” campaign for staff and residents. Residents are educated on power-saving practices for their personal computers and encouraged to be more mindful of consumption.
“The Housing and Residence Education Green Team is focusing on energy and water conservation in residence facilities,” said Sharon Blansett, green team captain. “Our education programs and messages emphasize that small, consistent individual effort can make a difference.”
They are also close to wrapping up the 2010 “Eco-Challenge: Battle of the Halls.” In the challenge, residence halls compete to see which group of students can reduce their water and energy consumption the most. January focused on water conservation and February focuses on energy use. Points for the waste reduction competition accrue throughout the challenge. The winners will be announced April 21 at the campus Earth Day Celebration.
Additionally, staff are continuing with other structural efforts such as expanding motion-sensor lighting, replacing older windows with higher efficiency ones, and retrofitting lighting systems.
Housing’s efforts help exemplify the need for unique and focused action across campus. Not only are these efforts critical in cutting facilities’ consumption and modifying staff behavior to be more sustainable, but they are helping transform the student culture around sustainability at UF.
For more information about Housing visit here.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Plenary presentations by evolutionary ecologist Robert Rosenzwieg, author of “Win-Win Ecology,” and city planner Darrin Nordahl, author of "Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture," will kick off the Friday morning tracks.
A Friday lunch event titled Restoring the Trust: Water Resources and the Public Trust Doctrine, will feature legal scholars and policy analysts from the Washington D.C. based Center for Progressive Reform discussing the use of their Manual for Advocates.
Saturday workshops will focus on the nuts and bolts of the rezoning and land development approval process using a case study approach presented by the Public Interest Committee of the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar, and on cultivating a new generation of environmental leaders, sponsored by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service and the UF Office of Sustainability.
Keynote speakers bring these themes home. On Thursday evening, the conference will pay tribute to Professor Julian Jurgensmeyer, who has had a profound influence on Florida land use law and trained generations of Florida Land Use lawyers. Friday’s banquet will feature author Bill Bellville, author of "Losing it All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate my Cracker Landscape."
Content provided by UF College of Law
Nominations open Monday, February 15 and run through Friday, March 26. Nominate here!
The awards recognize individuals or teams which have made significant contributions toward advancing sustainability at UF. Qualifying projects will have helped to realize the Vision for a Sustainable UF in the categories of Waste Reduction, Water Conservation or Energy Conservation.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The NASA Land Use Land Cover Change Program grant will fund an interdisciplinary project that will analyze relationships among climate variability, climate change, land use and land cover change. Using remote sensing applications and socio-economic surveys, the project aims to create models that could enhance planning for sustainable resource use and help the people in these areas adapt to climate change.
“We hope the grant allows us to better understand the social-ecological systems response to climate variability and so to allow us to develop understanding for future climate scenarios,” said geography professor Jane Southworth, the principal investigator. “Ideally, it will allow for better adaptation strategies for local communities under changing environmental conditions.”
The grant will support graduate students and allow the project to conduct summer fieldwork in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
To better illustrate the human suffering in this area, six doctoral students created a video documentary called “Living With Thirst,” which looked at the Vende people in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and their troubles related to climate variability. The video was funded by an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship grant, pertaining to Adaptive Management, Water, Wetlands and Watersheds.
“We hope this video provides an introduction to the uncertainty and trade-offs faced in a region with high variability in rainfall,” said Andrea Gaughan, one of the students who worked on the video, “and how that will affect conservation initiatives balanced with sustainable livelihood decisions toward water allocation/resources.”
Living with Thirst Part One
Living with Thirst Part Two
Author: Aubrey Siegel, University Relations
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The program, made possible by the George A. Smathers Libraries in partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability, worked to engage faculty, staff, students and the local community around renewable energy topics.
During the month of January, exhibits were arranged in both Marston Science Library and Library West. The Department of Energy held two workshops, where faculty, staff and local business owners came together to learn how to better navigate and search the many DOE databases. For a copy of the PowerPoint from this workshop please request a copy.
There was also a screening of “The Great Squeeze,” an award-winning documentary exploring at what price modern-day prosperity has come. The event was co-sponsored by the Reitz Union Board and the film is now available for checkout at Library West.
The week came to a close on Thursday with the SolorCycle Expo on the Plaza and the Solar Cyclists’ presentation. Campus and community groups and organizations tabled on the Plaza of the Americas, raising awareness on alternative energy and sustainability. Kathy Viehe of GRU spoke on the Gainesville Solar Feed in Tariff program. Read more about the groundbreaking program here.
In their keynote presentation Wheeldon and Vinning spoke candidly about their cycling journey, how and why it came to fruition, and what it took to make the trip happen. There was a solar book-bag door prize, courtesy of G24 Innovations, followed by a Q&A session. A video of their presentation can be viewed here.
To mark the arrival of the cyclists, members of the Gainesville Cycling Club escorted the pair into Gainesville, while members of the Bikes and More cycling team met at the Reitz Union colonnade to escort the cyclists out of town – despite the rainy Saturday morning – as they continued on their way to Miami and back to the United Kingdom 9 months after embarking on their journey.
For more information on the Solar Cyclists, visit here.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The main campus of the University of Florida uses approximately 470,000 megawatts of power annually, and spent roughly $38 million for electricity in 2008, with lights and equipment, such as computers and copiers typically accounting for roughly 30-40% of a building's energy use. Currently, UF is conducting a number of building retrofit projects, including replacing T-12 fluorescent fixtures with T-8 ones, with a projected costs savings of $1.4 million over 10 years.
During this first phase of the campaign, department Green Teams can order light-switch stickers that serve as reminders for individuals to turn off lights to rooms when not in use, and are encouraged to designate of a "Last To Leave: Turn Off" person or group to ensure lighting and qualified office equipment (such as computers, copiers and coffee makers) are powered down at the end of the day. Turning off lights not only cuts down operating costs, but also extends the time between bulb replacements.
The next phases will target IT power management and labs and research areas, aiming to determine what equipment is suitable for end of day shut-down. Anna Prizzia, Director of the Office of Sustainability, notes that energy conservation can yield considerable savings for the university that can then be reallocated in more sensible ways. “In these budget constrained times, we all have to play our part in cutting costs. If we can capture both the structural and behavior opportunities for conservation at UF, there is tremendous opportunity for cost savings in the long term.”
For questions about the campaign or to request stickers, contact Ashley Pennington.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Campus Kitchens works with a strong volunteer base that meets periodically in the Reitz Union kitchen to put together nutritionally balanced meals from the surplus food they acquire, including unused food from campus dining and catering services. They have an output of around 150-200 meals a week, which are delivered to various locations around the community.
Partnering organizations include Porter's Community Center, Woodland Park Boys' and Girls' Club and Lake Forest Elementary School. "We'll be picking up another partner agency this semester", said chapter president Nicole Johnson. "It is a facility for pregnant teens and teen mothers who are victims of abuse or neglect or who are homeless while they continue their education. We're excited to work with them since they need our help and it helps us diversify our clientele."
Sustainability is an important part of Campus Kitchens' mission. "The Campus Kitchens project seeks to more equitably distribute our resources of food, intellectual capacity, and space for a long-term goal of community development", said Treasurer and Fundraising Chair Amanda Monaco. "We use food that would otherwise go to waste to create meals for those in need, we draw on students' and adults' creative capacity to link community resources to increase social well-being, and we make maximum usage of kitchen facilities by using the Reitz Union kitchen while it would otherwise be sitting unused. Campus Kitchens invests itself in giving these resources to those who need them most, and assuring that this creates a positive and long-term change in our local community."
There are plenty of ways to get involved with the work Campus Kitchens is doing. Volunteers can help with the cooking shifts, participate in their nutrition education programs, or staff their special events, such as their "Stop Hunger Now!" banquet this spring. To volunteer, email Community Relations Chair Sonia Hudson.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
“We have around 20 captains on campus, mostly students,” said Susie Lewis, Sustainability Coordinator for Gator Dining. “These leaders serve as idea generators for new ways to incorporate sustainability into their respective locations while promoting a culture of sustainability among all employees.”
Monthly meetings address various areas of sustainability - educating captains on relevant issues and developing action items for all captains to implement. In a few short months, captains have already achieved such successes as implementing water conservation policies at their locations and conducting a comprehensive food waste audit to create a master plan for waste reduction. Many captains have also gone above and beyond and developed new programs on their own.
Bailley Carr, Green Team Captain at Einsteins at the Hub, developed a reusable cup policy for employees to cut down on their waste stream. Around 770,000 disposable cups are used on campus each year.
“I am very excited about the changes that are happening at Einsteins,” said Carr. “The other employees have been very cooperative and it seems like almost everyone is willing to contribute to reuse, even though it means a little extra work here and there.”
For a closer look at Gator Dining’s Green Team, visit their website.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
UF’s design is unique among the competition as it takes inspiration from Florida’s own vernacular buildings, specifically the Florida Cracker House. The UF house includes passive, natural techniques – such as a central breezeway, porch and elevated platform – for a design approach that integrates traditional means of housing with innovative solar technologies to create a house that is both efficient and functional.
The competition itself has brought together students and faculty from all over the university, from as many as eight different disciplines. There is a core group of about 15 students working on the project, but approximately 120 students have had a hand in the designing or planning. Students were separated into teams with some working on design, some on communications and some on construction, according to their specific skill set.
The house is being constructed by the students at a University of Florida site, appropriately known as the Energy Park, and construction will continue this spring. Steel and wood flooring have been delivered to the site recently and students have begun construction on the Project RE:FOCUS house. Interiors and mechanical systems are the next construction tasks, followed by the deck and outdoor area.
To learn more, or to join the effort to showcase the talents of UF students in this international competition, please visit their website.
Friday, January 15, 2010
After completing the self-evaluation check list available online, Pinellas County staff will provide support to implement many green practices and help maximize the ability of businesses to operate in sustainable way. The program is open to all businesses in Pinellas County that choose to implement resource conservation measures and demonstrate a culture of environmental, social and economic awareness in their business practices. An on-site assessment will be conducted to verify the performance of applicant businesses to the Green Business Partnership recommendations.
When all applicable criteria are implemented, the Green Business Partnership will be awarded and the business will be eligible to use the Green Business Partnership logo and window decals will be provided. This badge of honor can serve to highlight green business practices to those customers that would choose a Green Business among competitors. Partnerships last for three years, after which a reevaluation process will be required.
As a Green Business Partner, participants will have access to professional advice and training, listing on the Green Business Partner website and special recognition by Pinellas County. Sustainable businesses also benefit from cost savings, increased productivity and a healthier work environment.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The UF Surplus Warehouse offers goods and services to the university and the public. The Surplus Warehouse web site has a link for available property listed by department, so that offices can obtain assets directly from one another. Contact information for the department and person listing the item is available. Additionally, the Surplus Warehouse hosts a Swap Meet website for campus departments to obtain office supplies from other departments instead of purchasing them new.
Another link shows the available property in warehouse in which one can obtain through Asset Management. Items can be seen online without having to physically go to the warehouse. Reservations can be made online for 3 days so that the items can be picked up at a convenient time. The warehouse is open for departments on Mondays through Wednesdays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
After 14 days of UF availability, items are placed up for public auction. Possible items include computers, projectors, printers, automobiles, bikes, and a varied array of scientific equipment.
For further questions or comments, please contact Asset Management at 392-2556.