Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going Green-Staying Green

Going green is big business.

Wind turbines are sprouting up all around. I’ve heard that farmers are being approached to lease corners of their land for a wind farm near Arcadia, and last weekend I noticed that a solar field is being installed near Upper Sandusky.

Going green is very visual – or is it?

Bluffton is going green, but you’ll not see wind turbines out by the Emery Sears Athletic Complex, nor will you see solar panels attached to Neufeld Residence Hall. We’re changing light bulbs. Seriously.

Mustaq Ahmed ‘77, director of buildings and grounds, wrote in a note to all faculty/staff, “This project is part of our ongoing effort to be environmentally responsible at Bluffton University. We have taken a slightly different approach to joining the going green movement. We are slowly and methodically moving forward with our established objective of making simple, inexpensive adjustments that have big payoffs in the long run.”

A total of 83 fixtures and 166 lamps in Musselman Library have been replaced to provide more efficient and brighter lighting. It is estimated that this change alone will reduce energy consumption for lighting at the library by 40 percent, for an estimated annual savings of $3,200 a year.

Now that is impressive.

Then there is the ever-popular “Trayless Tuesdays” where there are no trays in Marbeck Center. This saves both on water and soap to wash used trays, and reduces food waste as people only take what they can carry. I’ve eaten in Marbeck on Trayless Tuesday. While it is a challenge to balance a plate, salad bowl, beverage and utensils, the concept is a good one. There are some universities who have removed trays completely.

And that isn’t all, B&G has, or is planning to, install
  • Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
  • Motion-sensor light switches
  • Thermostatic radiator valves, which keep rooms from overheating by regulating the heat coming out of radiators
  • Energy efficient windows
  • Small high efficiency boilers for heating
  • Insulation on exposed pipes
  • Using carpeting and flooring material with high recycled content

Bluffton has gone green. For in Mustaq’s words, “At B&G we believe the greenest energy is one that is not produced.”

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