Waste Reduction Team Update

The Waste Reduction Team has been sorting garbage out of the recycling for almost two semesters now. There are currently five students on the team, and at least one member is sorting garbage out of the recycling every day. We have had a good volume of recycling from the campus community, but we can always handle more, so don’t be afraid to wash out those plastic food containers and add those to your recycling.

Over the course of the past semester, we have found some very strange things in some of the recycling bags we have received from both resident halls and other buildings on campus. One of our most recent discoveries was a dead squirrel in a pizza box, which is most definitely not recyclable. Other than this very unique find, we have also been coming across many half full coffee cups in the recycling. These coffee cups are not recyclable with coffee still in them, and the coffee is also soaking all of the paper in these bags. Throwing your half full coffee cups in these zero-sort bags makes it so we cannot recycle most of the contents within these bags. Also, plastic water bottles that still contain water should be poured out before placing them in the recycling bin.

Now that the Waste Reduction Team is enduring colder temperatures, it would make our job much more efficient if you could only use blue bags to put your recycling in from your resident hall. We have been sorting through all bags that are put in dorm recycling bins due to the fact that some people are not using only blue bags for recycling. As you could imagine we have found some pretty repulsive stuff searching through bags that appear to be recycling but are actually trash.  We would like to kindly ask you to please make sure that what you are putting in the recycling bin is actually recyclable and will not ruin the ability to recycle whatever else may be in the recycling. Thank you!

From Waste Reduction Team Member, Tom Szabo

Fall 2017 Campus Sustainability Vote Update

This Fall, the Campus Sustainability Fund had two over $500 proposals that went to campus wide student vote. The first proposal was for the Paul Smith’s College Beekeeping Association for $1837.70, and the second was for a Capstone project for next semester for $1297, and both were passed! We had 186 students that voted, which is only about 24% of the student body. Two under $500 proposals were also passed this semester. The first proposal was for a guitar making apprenticeship for $500, and the second was for a GIS class to make maps to show the benefits of installing a solar farm for $344.75Since Fall 2013, the Campus Sustainability Fund has funded 35 projects that have helped our campus community. Thank you to all voted. If you would like more information on these proposals, or any previous proposals, please visit our website http://www.paulsmiths.edu/sustainability/campus-sustainability-fund/

PSC Students Attend 2017 ADK Youth Climate Summit

On November 8th and 9th Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn will lead a team of students from Paul Smith’s College including, Jessie McCarty, Matthew Philips, Hannah Rion, Val Hoffman and Sebastian Huber, will be attending the 9th annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The summit began in 2008 after a student from a local area high school contacted the Director of Programs, Jen Kretzer, with the idea hold a conference for high school students to learn about climate change and strategies to lower their carbon footprint. What started as a small conference with about 5 schools, has now blossomed in to a huge event with over 200 students from 30 high schools and colleges.

The summit consists of two days of plenary speakers, hands on workshops, and some motivational activities. Using the information from those workshops, along with goals the schools set before going to the event, each school develops a Climate Action Plan. The climate action plan is a well developed plan for each school to take steps towards carbon neutrality. In a CAP each school sets Climate Neutrality goals for this year, next year, and the years to come. Since the first AYSC at the Wild Center, Youth Summits have since popped up all across the country and even the world. The Wild centers climate action program has even received recognition from the Whitehouse during the Obama administration.

Paul Smith’s college has attended and sponsored the AYCS since it started. Over the past few years the college has even sent plenary speakers as well as faculty that have hosted workshops. Curt Stager will be a plenary speaker at this years summit. Valarie Hoffman and Kate Glenn will be hosting a workshop. This year the Paul Smiths team hopes to accomplish several things, including the update our current Climate Action Plan so it better suits our school’s current sustainability needs. Including to sync the goals of the STARS reporting system with the updated CAP.  This year’s team will also be focusing on plans to redesign a new food waste management system.  Since the North Elba biodigester project was canceled, we need a new plan for our organic waste. We’re looking forward to another Adirondack Youth Climate Summit!!

 

 

 

2016-2017: A Year in Review

Wow, what a busy but very successful year for us! We know many of you are busy preparing for finals, but we would like to take a quick moment are share some of our major accomplishments with you:

  • Funded over $50,000 worth of Campus Sustainability Fund projects
  • Supported SAM Fest & our local March for Science
  • Represented PSC during the Wild Center’s Youth Climate Summit 
  • Led a trip for students to visit the Biodome & Biosphere in Montreal
  • Held our annual Spring Residence Hall Energy Competition from April 1st to April 22nd
  • Established a new Waste Reduction Team and hired four students for the position
  • Formed the Eco-Leaders– This group served as our official CSF voting committee, and contributed lots of excellent ideas for greater sustainability all around campus!
  • Expanded our marketing and community engagement efforts through our website, monthly newsletters, and Facebook page
  • Adopted AASHE’s STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) as a framework for future climate action planning at our institution

We are happy for all of the great things we have completed, and are excited to see the rest of them through into the near future. Stay tuned for more awesome opportunities and events we’re offering next year! And as always, feel free to email us at campussustainability@paulsmiths.edu with any questions or ideas you may have!

Final Week of the Energy Competition

Congratulations to Currier hall for winning week 3!!!! Upper St Regis Hall has won the 2017 Energy Competition!! Overall we saved 2,095 kWh of electricity. How awesome is that?! Behavioral changes can make a huge impact on electricity bills. Have a wonderful summer and keep saving energy!!!

Residence Hall Energy Info Displayed on the Flat Screen in the Student Center

Check out the display on the flat screen in the Student Center this month- April 1st to April 22nd. We are running our fifth annual Energy Conservation Competition. Electric meters were purchased and installed in all 15 residence halls on campus in 2013 by student Jon Buyl. The goal of the energy meters was to show that changes in behavior can make a big difference in how much electricity is used on campus. This was a $43,000 project that was funded by the Campus Sustainability Fund.  Below is a description of what the colors represent. All color changes are based on BASELINE data that has been collected throughout the semester.

COLOR SCHEME:

Red: Legend will read “Worst Energy Use.”  This value is a KW/sqft value which is above the “High Energy Use” value (yellow).  This boils down to the worst performing buildings at any current time.  Students should react to this by working to shut off devices to lower their present demand and move them into the “yellow”

Yellow: Legend will read “High Energy Use.”  This value is a KW/sqft value which is above the neutral building load value (Brown) but not as high as those in red.  To summarize, these buildings are use more energy than the neutral and students should be working to move these buildings back down into the “Neutral Building Load” range.

Brown: Legend will read “Neutral Building Load.”  This value is a KW/sqft value which falls in an acceptable range (tbd) of energy use.  Students in this range should be concerned that they possibly could jump into the Yellow if additional load occurs.  They should be working to get below this range and turn their background Blue which would show low energy use in their building.

Blue: Legend will read “Low Energy Use.”  This value is a KW/sqft value which demonstrates the building is performing better than the average (Brown) building.  Students who live here, should be excited that they are doing their part in conserving energy, but should continue to push forward to get their building into the Green.

Green: Legend will read “Best Energy Use.”  This value is a KW/sqft value which demonstrates the building is performing in the best range possible.  Students who live in these buildings should continue to do what they are doing in their conservation efforts and should be proud that their buildings are in this range.  The buildings that spend the most time in this Green range will have the best chances to win the overall prize.

VALUES:

Total KWH- This value is Total KWH for the building.  This is a value that is accumulated continually.

KWH/sq/ft – This value is Total KWH divided by sq/ft per building.  This is a value that is accumulated continually.  This gives an overall equal playing field no matter the size of the building.  This will be the value which will continue to be accumulated over the month to award the overall winner of the Green Games Contest.

KW/sq/ft- This value is based off of present demand.  This value is the driver for the changing colors throughout the day.  This value is changed in intervals of every 15 minutes.  To sum this up, if the colors are going to change, the changes will occur once every 15 minutes based on the current usage in each building.