Green Scene Newsletter
Grants to Green Award Will Enable Georgia State To Improve T-Deck Lighting and Save More Than $50,000 Annually
Georgia State University has received its first Grants to Green award, to be used for lighting improvements that will reduce energy consumption maintenance costs and increase campus safety in its T-Deck parking facility at 43 Auburn Ave.
The $320,680 matching grant came two years after Georgia State applied for and was awarded a core assessment grant from Grants to Green, a partnership among the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, The Kendeda Fund and Southface. The award allowed Georgia State to receive a comprehensive lighting audit and report for T-Deck energy use from Southface, a non-profit organization focused on energy efficiency.
Lighting at T-Deck costs Georgia State $105,145 each year. With assistance from Grants to Green, the university will reduce site energy consumption by 52 percent, saving about $54,434 annually. The grant not only assists with cutting costs by 50 percent but also equates to saving roughly 298 tons of CO2 emissions annually. A reduction in carbon dioxide emissions can decrease environmental and human health risks associated with it.
Using on-site surveys, building documents, cost data and engineering analysis, Southface’s assessment found that 69 percent of the electricity consumed in T-Deck is from its lighting.
Through last year’s assessment, Southface also identified several steps Georgia State could take to improve its efficiency and reduce energy consumption and costs such as:
- Retrofitting or replacing metal halide and fluorescent lighting with high-performance LED lighting;
- Using bi-level occupancy-based controls for light fixtures, installing a sensor that turns off lights after a predetermined period when sensing a person is no longer in the space;
- Bringing light levels up to increase safety.
“We are honored to receive a Grants to Green implementation award, as having the funding available to complete these vital lighting improvements will not only reduce energy consumption and costs but will also increase safety and visibility in the deck,” said Jennifer Asman, manager of sustainability initiatives. “Because LED lighting has a much longer lifetime than traditional lighting, this will also allow our maintenance staff to dedicate more time to other necessary projects on campus.”
After receiving an assessment of its facility and recommendations for how to improve efficiency, Georgia State applied for and was awarded a $160,340 implementation grant to replace 1,421 lighting fixtures and exit signs with LED lights and include integral and local controls where practical. By matching this amount, Georgia State will be able to implement all of the assessment’s recommendations in early 2017.
Begun in 2008, Grants to Green provides environmentally focused knowledge and funding to strengthen nonprofits in the Atlanta region.
Georgia State University’s School of Public Health Fighting Against Food Deserts
Georgia State University’s School of Public Health has partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center to implement the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative. The initiative is made possible by a $400,000 grant from the Center for Disease Control’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program. The project is designed to address the lack of healthy foods available to the residents that live in communities that have a high number of convenience stores that offer poor quality food choices that have little or no nutritional value. This project focuses on corner stores in neighborhoods Planning Units (NPU) T, V, X, Y, and Z, the neighborhoods located in southeast and southwest Atlanta. Statistically, 90% of the residents in these neighborhoods are black and half of the children are living below the federal poverty rate. The majority of the residents rely on public transportation and supermarkets are not within walking distance. Unfortunately, the inability to purchase nutritious food leads to dire consequences to an individual’s long-term health such as diabetes and heart disease.
In 2015, Lyn and his implementation team, Mary Anne Adams and Margaret Hooker, traveled to Philadelphia to study a program that addresses the problem. The Food Trust, a nonprofit in Philadelphia, has funded and implemented an initiative to address the food desert problem in the city. In Philadelphia they have successfully established corner stores that provide healthy options. The initiative has served as a model for the Healthy Corner Stores Initiative in Atlanta.
The current challenge in Atlanta is that convenience stores’ top-selling items are chips, candy, soda, cigarettes and lottery tickets. Many consumers are not aware of the importance of eating healthy, and often cannot afford the higher prices of fresh foods. In order to address these issues, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative has enrolled eleven stores in the program and is assisting the owners with increasing their inventory of fresh fruit, whole grain pastas, fresh vegetables, reduced sodium canned vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. The Healthy Corner Store Initiative is also partnering with community residents and stake-holders to increase knowledge and interest in healthier options necessary to build a healthy diet, as well as developing and leverage new and existing partners to sustain and improve community access to healthy foods.
Congratulations Georgia State University Dining Services
Georgia State has the distinction of being one of eight restaurants to have earned this certification and has the most Green Restaurant Association (GRA) certifications out of all universities in the state. GRA awards points based on the following categories:
- Water Efficiency
- Waste Reduction and Recycling
- Sustainable Durable Goods & Building Materials
- Sustainable Food
- Reusables & Environmentally Preferable Disposables
- Chemical and Pollution Reduction
GRA certification consists of more than 500 environmental standards, including 40 from external science, environmental and governmental organizations. Each standard earns a restaurant a certain number of GreenPoints™ toward becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®. To achieve the baseline of “1 Star” certification, a restaurant must earn 10 points in three out of seven sustainability categories, with a total of at least 80 points overall. A restaurant must earn 10 points in each of the seven sustainability categories and earn 100 points to be certified “2 Star,” 175 points to be “3 Star” and 300 points to receive the highest status of “4 Star.”
Georgia State’s dining commons were also recognized by the GRA for providing reusable dishes, glasses and utensils, serving vegetarian and vegan dishes, contributing weekly food donations to the Atlanta community, composting and recycling practices and implementation of high-efficiency Energy Star appliances.