Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carbon Fund Receives Highest Number of Applicants Yet, Funds Over 20 Projects

The UC Santa Cruz Carbon Fund has had a successful and record-breaking funding round this year. In the fall quarter, the Carbon Fund Committee was pleased to receive a total of 40 project applications, the most the Committee has ever received in its four years of existence. The Carbon Fund, which is funded through student fee measure 44, is a valuable resource for students, staff, and faculty to receive funding for their projects that work to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions either on campus or in the Santa Cruz community.

This school year, the Carbon Fund has allocated over $200,000 in funds to over 20 new projects that work for reduce the carbon footprint both on campus and in the Santa Cruz community. Here are just three of the projects that received funding for the 2013-14 funding round:

Green Labs Certification Program
Allocated Funds: $1,500.00
The Green Labs Program strives to reduce energy use and waste from laboratories at UC Santa Cruz. They will be monitoring the energy use in labs and laboratory buildings that are part of their certification program in order to assess the efficacy of the energy conservation efforts they are encouraging. By monitoring, analyzing, and acting upon the electricity usage data gathered, they will be able to share actual energy consumption of the labs with personnel and improve their strategies for reducing energy consumption. Such efforts toward energy conservation will directly decrease the amounts of greenhouse gasses emitted at UC Santa Cruz.

UCSC Transit System Electric Vehicle Conversation Feasibility Study
Allocated Funds: $3,600.00
This project will conduct a feasibility study of a phased conversion of the current campus shuttle and vanpool system from gasoline and diesel to electric vehicles recharged by a campus solar PV system. Because the fleet vehicles must be replaced at the end of their useful lifetimes, an analysis of the costs, benefits and possibilities of purchasing smaller EV or hybrid vehicles--20 person vehicles and 6-8 person commuter vans--could show significant emission reductions. In combination with (a) a destination-demand system and (b) autonomous vehicles, the fuel use and operating costs of the system might also be significantly reduced. The present carbon footprint of UCSC's existing transportation shuttle system (buses and vans) is considerable. If properly designed and incentivized, a solar-powered EV shuttle and carpool system would offer an alternative to the current transportation fleet. The success of this new transit plan will cut down on independent car emissions as well as road congestion.

Compost Heated Water System

Allocated Funds: $5,000.00
The purpose of this project, taking place through the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UCSC, is to investigate the possibility of energy production and waste mitigation through compost, as repurposing waste is crucial to fulfilling campus commitments to goals of zero waste by 2020. This project explores the possibility of composting woody biomass and other plant debris or “green-waste” in aerobic conditions at high heat, which is then used to heat water for cleaning and washing. The hot water produced by the composting process will reduce the campus carbon footprint by offsetting fuel or energy traditionally used to heat water. In addition to energy use reductions, this project will support other campus goals. The production of compost will improve the water-retention properties of soil, thereby reducing the demand for irrigation and helping the campus towards its goal of water-neutrality. The compost will be applied to PICA garden beds, increasing yield of the PICA garden beds by boosting soil fertility. This will help the campus achieve its 40 percent “Real Food” by 2020 goal.

To see a full list of the 2013-14 Carbon Fund Awards, visit project descriptions page on the Carbon Fund website.

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