On September 17th I attended, and presented, at the The Power of Green SUNY, the 2013 State Universities of New York Sustainability Conference. It was a stunning day in Buffalo and the venue was an old mansion. While I enjoyed representing FIT and presenting on the Council and the Mayor’s Challenge, the most interesting part was hearing about initiatives at other SUNY campuses.
The keynote speaker was Samina Raja, a Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Buffalo. Her project, Building Food Connections, aims to enhance food security and the capacity of local and regional governments to improve community food systems. This will also benefit small and mid-sized farmers and underserved community residents. She made the interesting comparison of college campuses to food deserts, where residents don’t have easy access to fresh food.
There was a panel of presentations on Organic Waste Diversion. I learned that schools can do a waste audit in their cafeteria. It’s low tech and serves as a great baseline for making changes- the leftover food from student’s plates and from the food service is literally weighed on a scale. Many schools have found that going tray-less in cafeterias makes an impact on reducing food waste. Three different methods for composting that are being practiced on different SUNY campuses were presented: O2 Compost Microbins, black soldierfly composting and heavy duty grinding and composting machinery from Korea. In the former 2, there is ongoing student involvement in keeping the systems running and the projects serve as campus “science experiments” that faculty will bring their students too as part of course curriculum.
One of the most interesting presentations was from SUNY New Paltz, “Measuring, Tracking and Contracting for Food Using the Real Food Calculator and the SUNY Sustainable Dining Service Benchmarking Tool.” These 2 methods help evaluate if food items are indeed local and promoting health across communities.
Finally, Stony Brook University shared their experiences building a bike share program. They started with 25 bikes and locks that they issued out to students by semester. Demand for the bikes grew quickly and they recently expanded to 4 solar powered bike stations and 48 bicycles (similar to the ones recently installed in New York City). The students use these bikes for free for the first hour and pay a nominal fee after that. Each student pays a transportation fee each year. Investing this money into the bike share program will lead to reduced air pollution from buses and cost savings as the college will not need to purchase as many new buses as they have in the past.
It made me start thinking about what more can be done on our own campus. I’m excited to plan events for FIT’s No Impact Week in Fall 2014.
Responding to Climate Change in New York State: An overview of climate change, its impacts, and proactive actions that cities and towns can take to adapt to a changing climate
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Center for Excellence in Teaching, B502
Climate change is already affecting the people and resources of New York State, and these impacts are projected to grow. Fortunately, there are many steps that state and local government actors can take to reduce the negative impacts of climate change and take advantage of possible opportunities. The ClimAID webinars will provide vital information and resources to help local government agencies take action to reduce local impacts of and adapt to climate change. NYSERDA is pleased to offer these webinars at no cost.
The webinar series will draw heavily from findings in the comprehensive report, ClimAID: the Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation Strategies in New York State. Read the whole report or its components at: http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/climaid
Arthur DeGaetano, Northeast Regional Climate Center, Cornell University
Daniel Bader, Columbia University
Radley Horton, Columbia University
Moderator: Amanda Stevens, NYSERDA
If you wish to join on your own: https://nyserda.ilinc.com/register/tpbwfwm
Every year on one of the first weekends in October the door of interesting buildings in the city open up to the public. It is an amazing opportunity to learn about old and new architecture of New York. This year I had a chance to participate in a tour of newly open Visitors’ Center at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
Elegantly designed by Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, the Center proves that the building can be environmentally responsible and beautiful at the same time. BBG is reaching for LEED NC Gold and employs many wonderful strategies that limit its’ environmental footprint.
Fritt on the glass controls glare and heat gain, and prevents birds from colliding with windows.
The building responds to the location in its form that brings visitors gently into the gardens. The interiors are skillfully detailed and benefit from high level of transparency and views of the surroundings.
The ceiling in the main space reference a leaf, echo floor design, house indirect lighting, and provide superb acoustics.
You can learn about all environmental features of the building from very informative signs placed in and around the Center. I highly recommend a visit!
Data about energy consumption in buildings can revolutionize energy use and, if analyzed effectively, has the potential to transform buildings’ market value. This eBriefing examines ‘big data’ in the real estate industry and focuses on new systems for energy management.
Can Oysters Save New York Harbor?
Award-winning journalist Andrew Revkin led a panel discussion with some key players in the movement to restore New York oysters, who hope to revive the Harbor and train the next generation of environmental leaders. This eBriefing also features a special presentation by students from the Harbor School.
Across the United States, people are newly inspired to recapture nature in cities, but can these efforts rebuild biodiversity? In this eBriefing, leading scientists, authors, and urban conservationists discuss the science behind and the promise of today’s urban conservation efforts.
Society has often looked to science to create a utopian future free of worry and disease and full of gadgets and toys. Join us as we explore the potential world of the future and the unfulfilled scientific promises of the past. Part of the Science and the Seven Deadly Sins Series.
Join a panel of scientists, urban planners, and fitness experts for a talk on how designing and building better cities and towns may make us a healthier—and leaner—nation. Part of the Science and the Seven Deadly Sins Series.
Improving Product Lifetime Through Sustainable Design Thursday, Sept. 6, Noon PST / 3 pm EST
While some products should last a lifetime, improving a product’s life isn’t always just about making it last. Learn how to decide on the right strategies for optimizing a product’s life and end-of-life and how to get the most use out of the materials and energy that your product uses throughout its lifecycle. To register: http://students.autodesk.com/?nd=form__365