Wednesday, October 17, 2007

share with my teammates

One of my classes required me to go to the survey center and call people across Ohio tonight, so I missed the meeting with my teammates. As we discussed last Thursday, I contributed my thoughts in a written form. But probably I sent out to them too late today. Anyway here is an outline about my suggestions:

After a rough examination over current energy policies of Ohio University, carbon neutrality report of Middleburry College and renewable resource development plan of Ohio State, I would suggest we take the following steps to build our solution package for Ohio University.
1. Settle down the major areas that require immediate solutions to reduce the carbon emissions
My suggestions:
1) Electricity use for lighting, heating and machine running in each building, including student dorms
2) Transportation, including campus fleet and private cars
3) Fertilizer use
4) Personal consumption habits
5) Education
6) Offset activities
2. Map out possible solutions for each area
My suggestions:
1) Electricity:
A) Lighting: change all lighting bulbs into LEDs or compact fluorescent bulbs
B) Heating:
According to Middleburry College, the possible ways to reduce the power use for heating are updating windows facing the south to energy-saving windows in each building, adopting biomass as the energy source and resorting to solar energy as an alternative. These solutions are all applicable, but at considerable expenses. Placing meters in each building and student dorms to help control power use will be a more down-to-earth step currently and can be used as the first step. Cost evaluation must be conducted first before replacing windows and switching to biomass or solar energy.
It is also advisable to suggest the school maintain indoor temperature during winter time to around 26 C (about 78.8 F), the recognized temperature that saves energy and keeps people warm.
C) Machine running:
Computers, projectors and printers are among the most frequently used machines in the campus, not to mention those big machines to mowing the grassland and maintenance the golf course.
The first solution would be to diversify the power source of the campus, such as developing biomass and solar energy, to reduce the carbon emissions as well as to save the costs in the long run.
The second solution would be to educate machine users including the maintenance staff and students to keep the machines running in a low consumption manner. Good habits should be developed to reach the goal, including shutting down the computers if they are not supposed to be used in a considerably long time and avoiding leaving the machines running while not really working.

2) Transportation:
A) Campus fleet:
Adoption of biofuel or natural gas instead of diesel or oil is the first solution to reduce carbon emissions of cars and buses. Compared to private cars, campus buses are actually much better a way of transportation for students and faculties and therefore should be encouraged to develop, in my personal opinion.
B) Private cars:
Athens does not have an advanced transportation system that people can rely on to reduce their activities on cars. However, it is also because the place is small and most of the areas are within the walking distance. Therefore, encouraging less driving is the foremost solution. And like campus fleet, resorting to alternative fuels is also a good way of reducing carbon emissions.

3) Fertilizer use
So far I have little idea about how fertilizers are used in Ohio University. The possible solution I can think of is to reduce the usage as much as possible, and to purchase environmentally-friendly solutions instead of chemical ones as much as possible. But it is an area that requires further examination.

4) Personal consumption habits
This would be a big part of solution package that we can immediately start doing. It is an area that actually has many overlaps with above areas.
The habits that usually lead to high consumption of energy include: leaving computers, lights or air conditioning machines on while they are not in use; driving most of the time even within short distances; wasting papers in printing; keeping water running while it is not in use; never recycling wastes.
The solution to this can be combined with the following area – education. Notices can be posted in classrooms, libraries and labs to remind everyone save energy. Campaigns can be held to encourage people to drive less. For example, take the advantage of a soccer match to reward people who don’t drive to watch with T-shirts or extra tickets. Different clubs and associations in Ohio University can be included into a campus campaign that encourages them to integrate the notion of “low energy consumption” into their respective activities.
This is an area that we can do a lot of about.

5) Education
It will be advisable to persuade the school to set up an introductory course for freshmen and new staff of Ohio University about climate change effects and consumption behaviors. It can be a course that other levels of students or faculties can also take to earn some extra credits, but should be a compulsory course for freshmen.
I believe once this course is set up, it can have a more extensive effect than any other campaigns or activities we hold occasionally.
It is also advisable to cooperate with some non-profit organizations in this area. They can give lectures or hold activities in the campus to promote the notion of climate friendliness.

6) Offset activities:
Anyway OU will emit carbon dioxide. So, offset activities cannot be disposed. Tree planting is a common way of offsetting carbon emissions. Buying wind power or solar power can be another way. But it depends on the school budget and how we can first save the energy use for the school.
3.Evaluate costs and benefits on each area by using valid data.

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