Back to green school
Renewable energy technologies are everywhere, but nowhere are they more prevalent than on collegeand university campuses around the globe.
Sustainability is the name of the gamewhen it comes to curriculum development,research funding, student initiatives andmuch more, including even the overall design of the campuses themselves.
The Association of University Leaders
for a Sustainable Future supports sustain-
ability in all of these areas and maintains a
list of those who have signed the Talloires
Declaration, a 10-point action plan for in-
corporating sustainability and environmen-
tal literacy into teaching, research, opera-
tions and outreach at colleges and
universities. More than 350 university
presidents and chancellors in 40 countries
have signed on to the program.
In this issue’s GreenLight section, welook at green endeavors at the collegelevel across the globe. Perhaps the greatestdisplay of photonics-related green activityis the Solar Decathlon, which pits 20colleges and universities in a competitionto build a home that is powered fully bysolar energy.
Sustainable initiatives take other approaches on campuses as well. Industry/university partnerships are working to advance solar technology, examples of whichare the Arizona State/Advent Solar partnership and a unique project in the Netherlands.
As campuses worldwide commit not
only to teaching green but to being green,
In other cases, cutting-edge research on
materials and production techniques is
rapidly advancing solar technology and
manufacturing, as is the case with a new
approach to copper indium gallium
selenide production at the University of
California, Los Angeles.
This section just skims the surface ofsustainability on campuses around theworld. We look forward to bringing youmore examples, and we welcome yourexamples of cases where the sciences offerreal solutions to today’s environmentalissues. ;
BY ANNE L. FISCHERSENIOR EDITOR
Zero-net energy on the Washington Mall
The 2009 Solar Decathlon will take place Oct. 9-18 on the National Mall in Washington, where 20university teams from the US, Canada,Spain and Germany each will build aself-sufficient 800-sq-ft solar home. Theycompete in 10 contests proving that thesolar design is producing enough electricity and hot water to perform the normalfunctions of a home. Added to this year’scompetition is a net-metering contest,which will test each home’s ability toproduce its own energy.
Each team is made up of students andadvisers from multiple disciplines, withthe majority focusing on architecture andengineering. Team Boston is mostly architecture students from Boston ArchitecturalCollege (BAC) and Tufts University.
Regardless of their fields of study, all
teams divvy up the responsibilities of
fundraising, marketing, lighting design,
construction and more. To achieve this
end, according to Jeff Stein, dean of BAC,
the students have created “collaborative
design studios with interior designers,
landscape architects, engineers; they have
brought consultants into their classrooms –
like folks from the Biomimicry Institute,
modular builders, HVAC [heating, ventila-
tion and air conditioning] consultants,
fundraisers, Web designers, Autodesk
computer programmers … . In addition,
they are working with high school
students on the issues of design that they
confront. This is an experience rarely
afforded to students of high school age,
yet Stein is certain of their capabilities.
One of the many tasks that may be
unrelated to what the students are studying
in school is transportation logistics.
Mostly, the students are concerned with
designing the most energy-efficient off-
the-grid home, but they have to get it to
Washington – undamaged. Logistics is,
therefore, supremely important, especially
Twenty 800-sq-ft solar-powered homes will be transported to the Washington Mall in October, where they’ll be
competing in 10 contests. Some entries, such as the one pictured here from the University of Puerto Rico, come
from overseas. Photo courtesy of the University of Puerto Rico.