From June 23 to June 25, the TGIF Program Associates, Kareem Hammoud and Claire Kaufman, attended the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The conference pulled together students, university staff and faculty, and professionals to discuss the future of sustainability in higher education. Hammoud and Kaufman represented The Green Initiative Fund and networked with others involved in Green Funds programs and those who have successfully completed projects at other schools. It was an exciting atmosphere that presented a promising future through an increased idea exchange network.
Amid the various workshops, networking sessions, speakers, and exhibits, UC Berkeley won three Best Practice awards. Maximino Martinez Commons took the prize in the category of Overall Sustainable Design. Martinez, which has both apartment and dorm style rooms, has indoor communal spaces, several courtyards with native and drought-resistant plants, and natural ventilation and a narrow floor plate that maximizes day light. Sixty-five percent of the hot water demand is met with an onsite solar-hot water system. These energy-saving measures, along with high-efficiency plumbing and sustainable building materials, enable the building to strive for LEED Gold. In the category of Student Energy Efficiency, Fight the Flow, run by PowerSave interns, took the award for their low flow shower valves that save energy and water. UZLOW shower valves, which at the flick of a switch decrease hot water flow when shampooing, shaving, or soaping up, were installed in Unit 3, Unit 1, Christian and Slottman and are expanding to Unit 2 and University Village. 570,000 gallons of annual water and 950 therms in annual energy have been saved. UC Berkeley’s LeanPath won the award for Sustainable Foods Service and has successfully diverted 33% of pre-consumer food waste thus far. The LeanPath scale and touch-screen weighs and logs information on food waste before discarding it. Cal Dining can then address the categories where the most food is wasted. Continue reading