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Georgia State wins honorable mention by EPA, Student Fee Fund proposal applications open

We are proud to announce that Georgia State was an honorable mention for the EPA Waste Wise award for our 2017 waste prevention and reduction activities. Waste Wise was created by the EPA to reduce the overall waste generated by U.S businesses, governments, and small to large organizations. This program attempts to promote sustainable practices throughout U.S state and federal governments. Waste Wise awards were given out to the top universities that participated in the program. Those two universities were University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and our very own Georgia State University. In 2017, Georgia State recycled 546 tons. Through these efforts, Georgia State University saved $33,758 in avoided landfill costs, and the Office of Sustainability Initiatives received $13,317 in revenue from recycling materials. The EPA also recognized our in-house secure document shredding program and Civic Engagement’s “Trash Talkers” – student volunteers who educate visitors on how to properly recycle and compost their trash at home football games.

This couldn’t have been achieved without the work and support of the recycling team, student interns, and members across the university. Though we recognize there is still some work to be done, we are looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this academic school year.  Keep it green, Panthers!

Read our Waste Wise success story here.

Now accepting Sustainability Fee fund Proposals (August 12th – September 20th)

Now that another year is just around the corner, it’s time for the student fee committee to award efforts for sustainability. If you or your student organization have an idea related to sustainability that applies to Georgia State, now’s your chance! The student fee fund will be accepting any sustainability-related proposals, which will then be voted on by the Sustainability Fee Fund Committee. Proposal submissions will be accepted starting on August 12th and ending on September 20th.

To submit a proposal, visit https://sustainability.gsu.edu/submitting-a-proposal/ If one is submitting a proposal on behalf of a student organization, one will submit the proposal under Sustainability Fee Student Organization Budget Proposal. If one is submitting a proposal on behalf of a department or as an individual, submit a proposal under Sustainability Fee Project Proposal. The application requires writing a short description of your sustainability project, explaining why it is related to sustainability, the proposal’s impact on students and the campus, and a breakdown of all costs associated with the award amount you are requesting. We encourage many to apply as the sustainability fee has funded excellent projects in the past. Some past projects include solar umbrella charging stations, the Student Environmental Team’s (SET) urban garden, and the Sustainability Fellowship Program brought forth by the Georgia State Geosciences department. Read more about past projects at the following link: https://sustainability.gsu.edu/examples-past-projects/

Shut the Sash Initiative is an easy way to make a big difference  

The fume hood is an essential fixture in any properly-equipped laboratory. It ensures that harmful fumes from volatile chemicals are promptly vented to the outside of the building by maintaining a constant negative air flow out from the lab space. This guarantees that toxic fumes from reactions performed under the hood are never allowed into the lab. Although this is necessary for the safety of students and faculty, the process is unfortunately extremely energy-intensive. 

The HVAC systems in laboratories constantly pull in fresh air from outside, which is then promptly evacuated via numerous fume hoods. The constant cycling of air is the main reason laboratories are 4-5 times more energy-hungry than an equally-sized classroom building. In fact, 44% of the annual electricity costs of a modern lab are dedicated to ventilation. And incredibly, a single fume hood can consume 3-4 times as much energy as a house per year. 

University laboratories across the country have begun implementing “Shut the Sash” programs to reduce the air circulation requirements of a lab when the fume hoods are not in use. Students and faculty are reminded to simply close the sliding glass window of the fume hood (called the “sash”) when they are finished using it. Although air is still pulled into the fume hood and out the vent even when the sash is closed, a closed fume hood uses 30-60% less energy than an open one. 

Harvard University, which began its Shut the Sash program in 2005, has demonstrated that incredible savings can be achieved through this relatively easy and inexpensive initiative. They determined that each fume hood included in the Shut the Sash program costs over $1,000 less to operate per year compared to a fume hood not under the program, resulting in an annual energy savings of about $240,000. When the program is expanded to the remaining labs on their campus, they expect an additional savings of $50,000-$73,000 per year. To date, it’s their most successful behavioral program in terms of cost and savings. 

We are all familiar with the rule that we should turn off lights when we leave a room, because it saves energy that would otherwise be needlessly wasted. But the energy consumption of lightbulbs (especially efficient LEDs) is miniscule compared to the massive energy requirements of ventilation systems. If you are a student or faculty member who works in a lab with fume hoods, please remember that you can make a huge impact on the university’s energy usage every day: just Shut the Sash! 

 

For more information on Harvard’s research into fume hood energy consumption, visit https://green.harvard.edu/programs/green-labs/shut-sash-program 

 

You can also download their free sticker/magnet templates to remind your colleagues to Shut the Sash! Thanks to Facilities, who have already placed these on many of the fume hoods on campus.

Introducing the OZZI machine

Funded by last year’s Sustainability Fee fund, the OZZI machine is ready for action in the Panther’s Club retail food location in Student Center West. Designed to make using reusable containers as easy as possible, the program allows customers to pay a one-time $5 fee to use an unlimited number of clean, reusable food containers instead of disposable ones. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Ask for an OZZI container. When ordering your meal at Panther’s Club, ask the employee preparing your meal to put it in an OZZI container.

Step 2: Pay for your OZZI container. You will pay the one-time $5 fee to buy into the program when you pay for your meal.

Step 3: Return your OZZI container. When you finish your meal, bring your OZZI container to the OZZI machine, located in Panther’s Club by the cashiers. Once you insert your used container into the machine, you will receive a token that can be used for a new container.