UT has received the Green Light Award from the East Tennessee chapter of the US Green Building Council. The Green Light Award is the highest award given to an organization for advancing sustainability through green building practices and design.
Switch Your Thinking News
The spring semester is under way, and with it, a new semester of recycling at UT. The program provides services to all classroom and office buildings on campus, and collects paper, aluminum cans, and plastic, as well as compostable and other materials. Every office desk should have a blue recycling bin for paper, and there should be a blue recycling bin for paper next to every copy machine. If you notice any places where these bins are missing, e-mail UT Recycling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As classes resume this spring, you will see some big changes in the lighting in four campus buildings. As part of a comprehensive energy conservation project, work is under way in the Jane and David Bailey Education Complex; the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building; the Student Services Building; and the Communications Building. Old fixtures are being replaced with energy-efficient lights, manual switches are being replaced with on-off sensors, and other upgrades are being done.
Massey Hall has won the eighth annual Make Orange Green POWER Challenge, earning the title of “greenest” residence hall on campus. Hosted every October by the Office of Sustainability, the POWER Challenge encourages resource conservation, recycling, and environmental awareness in the university’s twelve residence halls.
Over the past four years, the campus community has worked together to avoid more than $5 million in energy costs through changing their daily habits as part of our Switch your Thinking effort. The winter months offer a significant opportunity for Volunteers to conserve energy and have a positive impact on the campus’s environment—and its wallet.
By altering our daily habits, students, faculty, and staff have prevented the release of 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This reduction in greenhouse gases is equal to the annual emissions from 9,400 passenger cars, the electricity use of 5,900 homes, or the burning of 260 railcars’ worth of coal.
As the holiday season draws closer, Facilities Services requests your continued support for campus energy conservation efforts. With fewer visitors on campus during holidays and other campus closures, we have a tremendous opportunity to realize additional energy and cost savings.
Since UT launched its ‘Switch Your Thinking’ campaign in September 2008, campus electricity use per square foot has decreased by approximately 7 percent. With this improvement, the university has cut more than 68,000 megawatt-hours in electricity usage equaling a cost avoidance of $5.2 million.
About 40 percent of energy in the US is produced by coal. Yet this power leaves behind the largest carbon footprint. A professor in the College of Engineering has received funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to help change that. Professor Peter Liaw and colleagues have received a $300,000 Clean Coal Research Award for Improved Structural Materials.
The ‘dog days’ of summer are upon us, which means it is peak energy use time on campus. From June 1 through September 30, UT will pay significantly more for energy used on weekdays between the hours of 2:00 and 8:30 p.m. Faculty and staff should make every effort to limit their energy use during the peak times.