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Students, faculty, institutions honored for sustainability efforts

A net-zero-energy demonstration home on the Wellsville, N.Y., campus of Alfred State College has earned the school a 2012 Sustainability Leader Award from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

The project was one of several sustainability initiatives recognized by the association.

“Our award winners show us that higher education does make a difference in advancing sustainability and that it can lead the sustainability transformation,” says Paul Rowland, executive director of AASHE.

Alfred State was honored for best case study from a community, technical or tribal college with 5,000 or fewer full-time students. Alfred students in a construction-related programs built a 2,200-square-foot net-zero energy demonstration home as part of their coursework, the AASHE says.

The facility was designed to be highly energy-efficient and incorporates renewable energy technologies, including solar photovoltaic, small wind, solar thermal, and geothermal energy, as well as a high-end monitoring and control system used to enhance teaching. It serves as a living laboratory for educating the future construction workforce as well as the public in green building techniques.

Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio, received the award for best case study from a community, technical or tribal college with more than 5,000 full-time students for its “Harvest Project,” a food pantry and community garden program on its campus.

The award for best case study from a four-year or graduate institution with 10,000 or fewer full-time students was given to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for its district geothermal system.

The University of British Columbia, based in Vancouver, was recognized for the best case study from a four-year or graduate institution with more than 10,000 full-time students for its climate action plan.

The University of Wisconsin, Madison, received the Innovation in Green Building award for its Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Individuals who received sustainability awards:

  • Nico Larco and Marc Schlossberg, professors at the University of Oregon, received the Faculty Sustainability Leadership Award for their roles in creating the Sustainable City Year Program at the university. The program enables students to work over an extended period of time in a local community to address real-world problems. In the three years since this program was launched, it has helped to direct 75 courses across 13 academic departments and two universities, encompassing 1,300 students and 200,000 hours of effort on more than 40 sustainability-related projects for three cities in Oregon.
  • Maria Rosales from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was given the Student Sustainability Leadership award for spearheading a campaign to raise $1 million to be used for energy-efficiency projects on campus.
  • Kelley Doyle, who attends the University of California, Berkeley, won the undergraduate student award for her paper,"Converting University Spending to Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Supply Chain Carbon Footprint Analysis of UC Berkeley."
  • Rachelle Irby of Humboldt State University won the graduate student award for her paper, "Student-Driven Energy Independence: A Case Study of Humboldt Energy Independence Fund."

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