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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Innovative Approaches to Sustainability at Other Campuses

Here are a few selections of the innovative approaches to sustainability taking place on other college campuses. Each of these examples was chosen because they represent ideas that UCSC could potentially implement in some form, or in some cases, already has begun to. If you see something here that you want to make a reality at UCSC, contact the Sustainability Office and we will help you direct your ideas toward fruition!

UC Davis Biodigester to Power Campus
Leftover pasta and other unfinished food from the dining commons will be put to use as the newly established UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (UC Davis READ), which converts organic waste into campus electricity. During the digestion process, a mix of microbes are used to quickly break down the organic waste, which is converted into biogas that mainly consists of methane and carbon dioxide. Once the electricity is produced from the biogas, it will be directly fed into the UC Davis microgrid where it will provide power for the campus.

Sculptural Bike Racks
Students at the University of New Hampshire are welding sculptures that function as bike racks. They did all stages of fabrication: cutting, welding, bending, forging, and grinding of the metals. The University will be utilizing a U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration grant to add these artwork bike racks to the campus. We should get the Art Department and the Bike Coop to work together on something like this at Santa Cruz!

University of Oregon Operations Makes Good Use of Fallen Leaves
To cut down on the fuel consumption and the noise pollution caused by leaf blowers, University of Oregon facilities services decided to let nature take its course and not gather fallen leaves. They are experimenting with the areas where they might be able to leave the leaves in the landscape rather than hauling them away. For example, areas on campus where there is a big shade tree during the summer, they are letting the leaves sit so as to kill the grass. They'll eventually plant more shade loving trees beneath rather than having the grass turn brown every summer. What a more natural approach to landscaping!

Bike Safety Launches Boston University Bike Accident Toolkit
UCSC needs to make an app like this for our bike riding community! Bike Safety has launched the BU Bike Accident Toolkit, which helps users report a bike accident. The phone’s built-in global positioning system (GPS) can automatically record the location, date and time of the accident. The app also allows the user to create an accident report that captures the driver’s name, license plate number, insurance policy and contact information in addition to photos of any damage incurred and audio witness testimony. The user can even contact police or medical emergency services directly from the app. As bicycle ridership increases, it is important to educate people on bikes, drivers in cars, and people walking about their rights and responsibilities on the road and this app will serve as a great educational resource.

Campus Tracks Cycling With First Digital Bike Counter at a University
UCLA Transportation’s bike counter uses magnetic detection embedded in the roadway to count people on bikes as they glide by in the bike lane. A new digital sign flashes the total number of people on bikes who have ridden by in the past day and a bar measures the year's total. By automating the count at one of UCLA’s busiest bike entrances, the campus can better show the need for things like new bike lanes on campus and on city streets leading to campus. UCSC students in the IDEASS internship program are working to install automated bike counters from the same company as UCLA's counter, though the counters they're hoping to purchase will not have a digital display like at UCLA... to get a digitalized counter like that costs nearly $20,000!

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