Archive for April, 2012
Today marks the completion of another Net Impact Initiative!
One-sided paper bins:
In the business school, we have a problem with paper. The business school students have at least eleven public printers available for use in at least seven different locations. Each time a student prints, the document is not automatically sent to the closest printer but is instead sent to whatever printer the student has selected. As I’m sure you can imagine, when a student is in a rush sometimes they just don’t check their printer settings. This leads to a high rate of printing mistakes and consequently lots of unused “mistake” paper lying at each printing station.
Thanks to the Student Sustainability Fund, we’ve been able to take one step toward solving this printer problem. Since we can’t affect computer capabilities on the prevention end of the problem, we have instead focused on improving the current situation. We have installed one-sided paper bins next to every printer in the business school with signs that encourage students to reuse their printer paper before recycling it. On the signs, we have suggested alternative uses such as scratch paper for problem sets or combining multiple sheets to form reused note pads. Next semester we hope to roll out an awareness campaign in the hallway to educate students on the purpose of the bins. These bins are one step towards a sustainable lifestyle for students. First stop Simon Hall, next stop… campus wide.
Contribution from Initiative Leader, Austin Spurlock. Austin sits on the executive board as the Membership Vice President, in addition to leading the DOT:Do One Thing (for Sustainability) campaign in the business school.
Tonight marks the first ever State of Renewable Energy in Missouri Symposium – featuring leading professionals from around the area, it will highlight the current industry and future opportunities and challenges in our state. We hope to see you there at 6pm tonight in Simon Hall.
This corner has been a space for me to discuss updates about the chapter, the school, or the work of different committees. This week I have two announcements. The first is that I want to thank everyone who helped out this weekend at ThurtenE. Selling Dippin’ Dots was a blast and seeing the kids play the DOT game, DOT Rocket Blast, left everyone in good spirits. Rain couldn’t stop us from having a good time. A special shout out goes to Austin – the event would not have been the same without you, and I want to thank you so much for all of the amazing work you do not only for DOT, but for Net Impact, and this school. You are a true leader for social change, and have inspired me since we started working together. I hope that our friendship, and ability to make some pretty cool things happen, will only grow as we continue our work together to create positive and beneficial change at Wash U.
On the energy side of things, I have some major news. The business school administration and operations have agreed to start the process of acquiring a solar powered solution to night-time lighting in the Simon Hall Courtyard. Once implemented, this project will be the first of many solar demonstrations to come on campus – powering lights and electric loads without the burning of fossil fuels. No matter the obstacles we face to create change, successes like this one will lead to bigger, bolder, and more impactful iniatives coming out of Wash U Net Impact.
For Sunday’s St. Louis Earth Day event in Forest Park, one of the sponsors was Schlafly. This local leader in sustainability:
- Emphasizes local sourcing for its restaurants, and was the 1st member of the Green Dining Alliance started in late 2011, with a 4-star rating
- Grows some of their own food at Schlafly Gardenworks
- Hosts a Farmers Market
- Renovated two abandoned buildings for the Schlafly Tap Room and Schlafly Bottleworks
- Earned grants for a pilot composting project
- Charter supporter of Ameren’s Pure Power renewable energy program
- Uses energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units
- Hosts and supports many local sustainability organizations, such as St.Louis Earth Day, Slow Food St.Louis, BUILD St.Louis (Businesses United for Independent Local Development) and St.Louis Originals.
Learn more! And eat local!
State of Renewable Energy in Missouri
Please join us next week for the “State of Renewable Energy in Missouri”: learn about the renewable energy industry in MO and forecasts for the future of solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and more. The event features leading professionals in the region paving the way towards a brighter future in Missouri by harnessing clean energy resources. Please see attached and below for information on the event – and please spread the word!
Tuesday April, 24
Simon Hall, Washington University in St. Louis
6pm - Technology Demonstrations and Appetizers, Courtyard
6:30pm - Presentations and Panel Discussion, May Auditorium
8:30pm - Networking Reception, Kiefer Foyer
Wind—Jan Anderson, President of JCA Ventures
Solar—Marc Lopata, President of Microgrid Energy
Geothermal—Dominique Durbin, Vice President of Durbin Geothermal
Biomass—Doug Bice, Project Development Manager of Abengoa Bioenergy
Electric Utility—Rich Wright, Managing Executive of Renewables at Ameren
RE State Initiative—Jill Miller, Regional Organizer of Renew Missouri
Join the event on Facebook!
Please refer to the attachment “parkingmap 2010-1″ below for a detailed map of parking at Wash U’s campus. Parking will be free for this event as long as you display the flyer on your dashboard! Thefree parking applies to all yellow parking zones, noted on the map. In the spirit of the symposium and sustainability, carpooling is recommended if you will be driving to campus.
An Example of Integrated Sustainability
Last week, Pi’s founder, Chris Sommers spoke in Jay Swoboda’s class on Sustainable Operations. He shared that Pi was started with a green mission, a major differentiator when it opened on Pi Day in 2008. Since then, sustainability has always been integrated and never an afterthought, which explains the growing restaurant chain’s low-key sustainability profile. Besides recycling and standard eco-friendly practices, Pi strives to source locally and uses natural cleaning products. Mr. Sommers has also recently invested in the Tower Grove Farmers Market to demonstrate commitment to local produce. The company previously bought carbon credits to offset long-distance ingredient shipping, but has reconsidered their effectiveness. Every store is designed with sustainability in mind as well, including reclaimed wood and local artisan workmanship. This includes their 6th store at the MX mall on Wash. Ave., due to open this summer!
With his experience and leadership, Mr. Sommers is active with the Green Dining Alliance, helping St. Louis restaurants achieve certification from reducing, recycling and composting restaurant waste, as well as sourcing sustainable food, to-go ware and cleaning supplies. Now that Pi is running sustainably on its own, Mr. Sommers is launching two tech ventures. If you’re interested in his background and Pi, take a look at the St. Louis Business Journal “40 under 40″ spotlight. Yet another example of a sustainability-minded, highly successful entrepreneur!
Looking for an internship or job? Get weekly updates on sustainable and socially responsible job postings in CareerLink – Just sign up for the WashU Office of Sustainability e-newsletter!
Solar Installation, Energy Efficiency Consulting, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
At last week’s Alternative Career Week, the Sustainability Day panel included Microgrid Energy President, Marc Lopata. “Microgrid” refers to onsite power generation at a company or house, independent from the municipal power grid. This small and fairly young company’s goal is to make Clayton the United States’ first EPA-certified “Green Community,” although their client base extends throughout the region. Microgrid Energy operates by the Triple Bottom Line philosophy – People, Planet, Prosperity.
Microgrid specializes in solar panel installations for local homes and businesses, such as the first “net zero” house in town and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Microgrid also installs electric vehicle charging stations, such as for Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union and Novus International (described in a previous spotlight). Other clients include Nestle Purina, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the DESCO Group (real estate) and Drury Hotels. Microgrid is also the energy manager for Busch Stadium — “it saved the Cardinals $500,000 in 2010 through energy efficiencies and expects to top $1 million in savings next year” (Source).
For a small firm, Microgrid has an impressive Sustainability Policy guiding its operations, with specific goals and partnerships addressing carbon neutrality, green purchasing and recycling. Take a look! Overall, Microgrid Energy is setting an example in the region and helping to educate both homeowners and businesses, so be sure to keep an eye on them!