OWU’s ‘Still In’ Paris Climate Agreement

President Rock Jones, Ph.D., signed the document June 5, making Ohio Wesleyan one of 183 colleges and universities to endorse the proclamation. “We Are Still In” also has been signed by representatives from 125 cities and nine states, and by 902 businesses and investors.

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University Among Those Supporting Paris Climate Agreement

There’s a familiar name among the 1,219 who signed the “We Are Still In” document in support of the Paris Agreement and its efforts to combat climate change.

President Rock Jones, Ph.D., signed the document June 5, making Ohio Wesleyan one of 183 colleges and universities to endorse the proclamation. “We Are Still In” also has been signed by representatives from 125 cities and nine states, and by 902 businesses and investors.

“It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses,” the document states. “Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.”

There are many reasons for Ohio Wesleyan to sign the document, Jones said. Perhaps most notable is the pioneering work of F. Sherwood Rowland, Ph.D., a 1948 OWU graduate.

A Delaware native, Rowland earned the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work studying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). His research led to significant discoveries in the field, including that chemicals in aerosol sprays, air conditioners and foam insulation were damaging the oxygen layer surrounding the earth’s atmosphere.

At a White House climate change roundtable in 1997, Rowland spoke passionately on behalf of scientists concerned about global warming: “Isn’t it a responsibility of scientists, if you believe that you have found something that can affect the environment, isn’t it your responsibility to do something about it, enough so that action actually takes place? If not us,” Rowland said, “who? If not now, when?”

Woodrow W. Clark II, Ph.D., a 1967 Ohio Wesleyan alumnus, also made an impact through his efforts to protect the environment as one of 30 members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC was a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, along with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, for the film “An Inconvenient Truth.”

The spirit of “We Are Still In” also connects well with Ohio Wesleyan’s academic program and the April announcement that it was creating an Environment and Sustainability Program with a new environmental science major this fall, Jones said.

The Environment and Sustainability Program will include the collaboration of nearly 20 Ohio Wesleyan faculty members who specialize in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. One of the program’s highlights its innovative “Conversations: Toward a Sustainable Future” course. Students will take the course twice – once as newly declared environmental science majors and once as seniors in the program – to provide both a cornerstone and capstone for their study of ecological issues.

In addition, Jones said, Ohio Wesleyan’s signature Sagan National Colloquiumlecture series also has spent a semester examining global warming.

“In 2013, the entire campus focused attention on the ‘Interdisciplinary Impacts of Climate Change’ through the Sagan National Colloquium,” Jones said. “The Colloquium’s founding vision of connecting the liberal arts with civic arts – studying a topic and taking action in response to that study – is reflected in our signing of the ‘We Are Still In’ document.”

Learn more about the “We Are Still In” initiative at http://wearestillin.com.

Neighbors Object to Proposed Denison University Solar Panels

One of the often unanticipated challenges of sustainability is the aesthetic. Solar or wind generated energy may be well supported in the abstract, but in practice even people with strong pro-green beliefs may object to having to see solar panels or wind turbines. Denison University is dealing with this issue as they move to install a series of solar panels in the campus’s biological reserve.

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One of the often unanticipated challenges of sustainability is the aesthetic. Solar or wind generated energy may be well supported in the abstract, but in practice even people with strong pro-green beliefs may object to having to see solar panels or wind turbines. Denison University is confronting this issue as they move to install a series of solar panels in the campus’s biological reserve. Neighbors, some who seem to support solar energy, don’t support it when they have to look at the panels.

An interesting question is how to anticipate and diffuse this type of aesthetic objection to green technologies. A similar issue comes into play when considering more eco-friendly practices on campus, which may interfere with the expected campus grounds aesthetic (green, weed free lawns, for example).

There have been discussions about a potential solar panel installation on City of Delaware property, south-east of OWU’s campus. The project would involve a collaboration between campus and the City of Delaware. That project is on hold for the time being, until the project becomes more financially feasible.

The full Denison story is below. Article and image reproduced from the Columbus Dispatch, Monday February 2, 2015.

By Eric Lyttle

GRANVILLE, Ohio — Denison University’s Biological Reserve is 350 acres of woods, walking paths and wildlife.

Lately, it has also become a battlefield of sorts, pitting property owners on its perimeter against the university that owns and maintains the reserve.

Gill Wright Miller enjoys sitting on her two-tiered deck and soaking in the serenity of the view. She said she bought her home eight years ago, and also built the back deck, because of the location. Many of her Welsh Hills Road neighbors bought their homes for the same reason. Their properties abut the Biological Reserve.

But since Denison announced in October that it hoped to cover about 8 reserve acres of trees and undergrowth behind Miller’s house with 5,000 or so solar panels, she and a number of her neighbors have been on a mission to stop the project.

Although she graduated from Denison in 1974 and is chairwoman of the university’s dance program, she has accused the school of moral trickery, a lack of transparency and class warfare in its effort to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel.

“I have nothing against solar power,” said Miller. “I have geothermal. My house is ecologically friendly. I’m all for reducing your carbon footprint. I just think Denison has mismanaged its commitment to the people of this community and that it’s chosen to reduce its carbon footprint at the expense of its modest neighbors.”

Granville’s Board of Zoning and Building Appeals unanimously granted Denison’s application for a permit on Jan. 8, despite protests by residents, including Miller.

Nine neighbors filed an appeal of that decision on Jan. 20. Granville’s Village Council is to hear the appeal at its meeting on either Feb. 18 or March 4.

The first time most people heard of Denison’s solar plan was in October, when the university announced its intent to work with American Electric Power Energy to install solar panels in the Biological Reserve, plus 1,000 panels to be installed near the university’s physical plant on Rt. 661.

AEP Energy would provide the panels and sell the solar-generated electricity to the university. As designed, the solar array would provide about 2 megawatts of electricity, or about 15 percent of the university’s annual electrical use. The installation would reduce the university’s reliance on fossil fuels by 8 to 10 percent.

Jeremy King, Denison’s sustainability coordinator, said it was a big step toward meeting the university’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, a goal that Denison pledged when it signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2010.

When word trickled out that the intended site was the southeastern edge of the Biological Reserve, within 100 yards of houses along Welsh Hills Road, neighbors were quick to respond.

An informational meeting with the community was held on Oct. 8, and residents peppered university officials with questions about the impact on the reserve and how it would affect their lives and property values.

“The Bio Reserve has been deemed a reserve for the community’s use for almost 50 years. The university has promoted it as such. Realtors use it as a pitch for nearby properties,” said Miller. “Then suddenly, we’re told that they’re going to mow down acres of trees and that we’ll be living next to what amounts to a power plant.”

King, who also lives on Welsh Hills Road, said the university attempted to address all of the residents’ concerns, providing research and documents and talking to anyone who asked. It promised to keep a buffer of vegetation between the panels and nearby homes.

“It’s a challenging position to put Jeremy in with his neighbors,” said Seth Patton, the university’s vice president of finance and management. “From my perspective, he’s gone above and beyond.”

Miller is unhappy that the university announced its plans without first talking to neighbors.

She said Denison could find another site or pay for more-expensive but more-efficient solar panels.

“They say they’re not saving any money on electricity with this proposal. They say it’s a financial wash,” Miller said. “But what’s the problem with Denison investing into reducing its carbon footprint to avoid cutting trees, reducing green space, diminishing the Bio Reserve and diminishing our property values?”

Miller and her neighbors based their appeal of the zoning change on their assertion that the project does not meet all of the five criteria mandated for a conditional-use permit. One of those criteria requires that the array will not diminish surrounding property values.

Zoning-board member Neil Zimmers said there is no historical evidence to suggest that a solar array has had any effect, positive or negative, on neighboring properties. Without such evidence, he and his fellow board members voted to approve.

Both sides will have the opportunity to address Granville’s village council during the appeal. Following that, the council can either affirm or reverse the zoning board’s decision. It also can send the case back to the board to reconsider, or modify the board’s decision.

Either party can then appeal the council’s decision to Licking County Common Pleas Court.

elyttle@dispatch.com

 

Campus Event: “A Tax on Carbon” – 2015 Environmental and Natural Resources Symposium: February 18 2015

“A Tax on Carbon: Would It Work for Business, Consumers, and the Environment?” is the topic of the 2015 Environmental and Natural Resources Symposium. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 2015 in Benes Rooms A and B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

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“A Tax on Carbon: Would It Work for Business, Consumers, and the Environment?” is the topic of the 2015 Environmental and Natural Resources Symposium.

7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 2015 in Benes Rooms A and B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

Panelists will include Scott Nystrom, M.A., senior economic associate for Regional Economic Models Inc., and Ian Sheldon, Ph.D., the Andersons Professor of International Trade at The Ohio State University.

The discussion will be moderated by Laurie Anderson, Ph.D., OWU professor of botany and microbiology, and is sponsored by the OWU Department of Economics; Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship; and Delaware Chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a nonprofit, nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on policies to address climate change. Learn more at wcebe.owu.edu.

Spenser Hickey’s Report on OWU Sustainability

During the Fall semester of 2014 Journalism student Spencer Hickey reviewed the state of Sustainability on OWU’s campus, reviewing its history and current status, interviewing students, staff and faculty, and documenting his work as Special Report: OWU Sustainability.

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During the Fall semester of 2014 Journalism student Spencer Hickey reviewed the state of Sustainability on OWU’s campus, reviewing its history and current status, interviewing students, staff and faculty, and documenting his work as Special Report: OWU Sustainability.

OWU’s Sustainability Task Force (Facebook here) is actively addressing many of the issues in Hickey’s report, and a Spring 2015 practicum (Geography 499) will review and address the issues as part of the process of creating a campus-wide sustainability plan.

 

Green Business Survey and Resource Guide

The goal of the Delaware Green Business Project is to create a Green Business Challenge for the City of Delaware in order to help local businesses to become more environmentally sustainable. An online survey and resource guide (downloadable) were created for the project.

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Photograph of historic downtown Delaware, Ohio. Photography by John Hollinger (Source)


Delaware, Ohio Green Business Survey & Resource Guide                      

Spring 2012

Sophie Kiendl, Amy Carr, John Krygier, Sean Kinghorn

Summary

The goal of the Delaware Green Business Project is to create a Green Business Challenge for the City of Delaware in order to help local businesses to become more environmentally sustainable. The Challenge will be initiated with an online survey created for the project. The survey will allow us to monitor various environmental issues related to community businesses over time, and can be connected to the Sustainability Region database. Our main objective is to decrease energy usage, water consumption and waste and improve the performance of commercial and institutional buildings and their operations. We will work with Delaware business to increase the environmentally business practices will decrease their expenditures. The Green Business Project is a business friendly project and will in no way harm participating businesses. We encourage the entire business community to join us and help create a greener community.

Methods and Results

At the beginning of the semester Dr. Krygier informed us that we would be doing class projects involving the environmental sustainability of Ohio Wesleyan University and Delaware County. We had to come up with ideas that both would add depth to the project and interested us. Amy came up with the idea of a Green Business Challenge for Delaware Businesses. The idea came from a previous project she worked on in Charleston, SC, which had the same goal of increasing greener business practices in their community. Amy and I worked with Sean Kinghorn to come up with ideas for what we would like to have involved in our green business challenge to make it effective and applicable to the Delaware County business community. We met weekly to ensure that we could provide our participants with the best possible challenge and resources to complete the challenge. We developed an online survey with 37 questions for the participants to complete with 65 points possible.

Participants will receive this message upon receiving the online survey challenge.

We have sent you the Delaware Green Business Challenge survey. The survey is meant to give you a baseline of how green your business is and an idea of what areas you can improve in. It includes 50 actions that are necessary for a greener business. Once you have completed the survey your answers are collected and your score is generated. There are a 100 points total 4 tiers of achievements. Tier 1 being the highest level of achievement. See the chart below for a breakdown of points needed for each tier.

Along with the challenge businesses will receive a Resource Guide to help green their business. Once each business has finished the challenge we will compute their scores and personally work with them on ways to better their businesses. As well businesses will receive a plaque or certificate showing the public that they have participated (in no circumstances will the businesses scores be shared with the general public, we are here to help not harm!).

See the two documents generated for this project:

  • Green Business Challenge Survey (PDF)
  • Green Business Resource Guide (PDF) (Word)

The survey is in Google Docs format and can be modified and sent to businesses if students are interested in continuing the project. The resource guide, with some updates, can also be used for future projects. Contact John Krygier for more information.

Recommendations (2012)

  1. Consult the City of Delaware Chamber of Commerce. Allow for critique and adjustment of the survey to meet the needs of Delaware businesses. With the approval and backing of the Chamber of Commerce it is possible that more businesses will want to participate in the survey and Green Challenge program. Inquire as to methods of promoting the survey and program.
  1. Consult additional local business organizations, such as Downtown Delaware. Again, allow critique and adjustment of the survey and the Green Challenge program. Inquire as to methods of promoting the survey and program.
  1. Develop educational programs on sustainable practices that are open to the public along with programs only for those that are participating in the program. The educational programs should be hosted by Ohio Wesleyan, which opens the possibility to involve students in the programs. The involvement of both the City of Delaware and Ohio Wesleyan in the program will lead to a stronger relationship between the City and the University. Reach out to the Economics Department to see if students and faculty may be interested in moving the survey, Green Challenge, and additional sustainable practices programs forward.
  1. Directly link the results of the survey to the Sustainability Region database. Institute a program to periodically resurvey businesses to track change over time and assess the impact of the programs promoting sustainable practices.

 

Building Energy Monitoring and Analysis

A student theory-into-practice project focused on processing, analyzing and mapping energy data for the Ohio Wesleyan campus. A significant part of the project focused on the development of an equation so that the relative energy efficiency of buildings on campus (which vary widely in size, usage, age, etc.) could be compared.

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A student theory-into-practice project focused on processing, analyzing and mapping energy data for the Ohio Wesleyan campus. A significant part of the project focused on the development of an equation so that the relative energy efficiency of buildings on campus (which vary widely in size, usage, age, etc.) could be compared.


 

Building Energy Monitoring and Analysis

Ohio Wesleyan University and Delaware, Ohio Sustainability Region

August 2012

Silas Jolliff, Adam Pinkerton, Jon Rux, Mason Tice, Keegan Varner, John Krygier, Sean Kinghorn

Summary

The purpose of the Energy Monitoring and Analysis project was to process energy data and create a map showing energy usage and efficiency on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. The map displays energy use and efficiency in relation to building hours, building size, and number of people per building. The data is, then, normalized to take into account important differences from building to building. This map is based on the most recent full-year utility data (2010) and has the ability to be updated annually as new data becomes finalized. Proposed developments include real-time utility monitoring (in addition to data from utility bills), the inclusion of City of Delaware-owned buildings (and other public buildings) in the project, direct feeds of utility data into a database for the sustainability region, and access to and display of the data in a real-time interactive map linked to the sustainability region database.

This map will help raise awareness of the patterns of energy usage on campus for students, faculty, prospective students, and alumni. It would also be of use to school administrators when determining where to focus efforts to improve the school’s environmental footprint. As the project spreads to off-campus buildings, similar impacts can be expected. Students, city employees, and others can experiment with energy reduction strategies and document pre- and post-experiment utility usage, thus providing significant empirical evidence for evaluation and assessment.

Methods and Results

OWU utility data was acquired from the OWU Sustainability coordinator, Sean Kinghorn, for a majority of the buildings on campus. The data was normalized using three separate methods:

  1. Average kWh per person
  2. Average kWh per hour of operation
  3. Average kWh per square foot

For the residential side, we isolated the utility data and extracted the buildings that were not in use or had since been removed. This data was coded using street addresses, so we used Google Maps to locate buildings and come up with the building names recognized by OWU. We also had to take monthly averages for the utility data to account for summer and incomplete months. Next, we developed a methodology to normalize the data. The average kWh per person was calculated based on a housing count from the OWU Residential Life office for the two academic semesters included in the data. Because the number of inhabitants changed between semesters, we took an average of these two numbers. We then divided the monthly average electricity usage by the number of inhabitants. The Average kWh per hour of operation was based on results from a campus-wide survey we undertook. The survey found that students spent an average of 14.74 hours in their dormitory, fraternity, or SLU. Next we divided the monthly average electricity usage by the 14.74 statistic. Lastly, average kWh per square foot was calculated with building data acquired from Sean Kinghorn. Finally, we divided the monthly average electricity usage by the gross square footage.

To obtain data for the academic side of campus we started by analyzing utility data given to us by Sean Kinghorn. We had monthly totals for total electricity consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh). To make this data more accessible to the general public, we normalized the data in a manner similar to the residential side. We started by data scraping class lists from the OWU Self Service website. Importing the data to Excel, we then took the total number of people for each building and multiplied it by 2.5 to obtain a weekly number per building (this was assuming an even distribution of 3 day per week and 2 day per week classes). We then took this total and multiplied it by 4.21, or the average number of weeks per month. This gave us the monthly average of students per building. We also determined the average number of faculty per month, per building, considering faculty spend far more time in the buildings than students. After obtaining the numbers from the OWU website, we multiplied them by 5, assuming 5 office days per week, and then again by 4.21. Combining these two totals, we had an estimate of the number of people in each non-residential building. We then divided the number of people per building per month by the energy consumption per month, giving us our monthly average.

We then looked at the gross square footage of each building. We found the size of each building in the utility data provided to us. To determine the efficiency of each building in relation to its size, we simply divided the size of the building, in square feet, by the energy consumption per month.

Finally, we found building hours for as many buildings as possible. Some buildings were found by contacting the Public Safety office, while others were found manually. We found the hours for approximately 90% of all buildings on campus. As with the other buildings, we took the posted hours and multiplied them by 5, and then by 4.21, giving us a monthly average of hours spent open. We then divided the monthly average by the energy consumption per building.

In general, the data variables we chose and methods used to collect the data should be critically reviewed by experts in building utility efficiency and adjusted to more adequately reflect efficiency criteria. However, we believe we have established a valid approach to generating energy use and efficiency data that allows for valid building-to-building comparisons.

Finally, we imported the data into ArcGIS. To do this, we had to convert our spreadsheet data to a DBF file, then join it with an attribute table in ArcGIS. We picked the simplest parameter we could, Building Code, and then matched the two files up manually, editing the attribute table as we progressed. Once finished, we joined the tables in ArcGIS and created a series of maps. The classification (categorization) of the data on the map is based on generic map classification schemes, and should be adjusted to match external criteria for assessing building energy efficiency. See Appendix A: Maps for examples of the maps that can be generated.

Recommendations

  1. An expert in building energy efficiency should evaluate our methodology for normalizing building energy use and efficiency, as well as the classification of the data on maps (to match external criteria for assessing energy efficiency).
  1. Acquire building utility monitors for more buildings and establish direct links from utility monitors in buildings to a database for the sustainability region. Establish direct links from digital data sources of the other variables (student, faculty numbers in buildings, hours, etc.) to the database when possible to maintain accuracy of the normalized data.

Building Utility Monitors: The OptoEMU Sensor Energy Monitoring Unit

Information: http://www.opto22.com/site/pr_details.aspx?cid=1&item=OPTOEMU-SNR-3V

Cost: X units at $1,295 per unit: = $XXXX total

  1. Extend the utility monitors and data normalization methods to City of Delaware buildings and analyze and map the data in a manner similar to what was done with campus building utility data.
  1. Develop energy reduction and efficiency projects that can be documented with the normalized real time utility data available in the Sustainability Region database and mapping software.

Appendix A: Maps

Map 1: Energy efficiency based on the average number of people in OWU campus buildings:

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Map 2: Energy efficiency based on the amount of time OWU campus buildings are open:

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Map 3: Energy efficiency based on the square footage of OWU campus buildings:

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See the full PDF report here: Building Energy Monitoring and Analysis

Continue reading “Building Energy Monitoring and Analysis”