Student Environmental Initiatives Fee
In the fall of 2005, by request of student vote during SGA elections, the Student Facilities Fee was increased to establish funding for campus sustainability initiatives (hereafter referred to as the "Student Environmental Initiatives Fee"). This funding has been used to support green power purchasing, upgrade campus lighting to improve energy efficiency, reduce water consumption, fund student energy conferences, purchase hybrid vehicles, purchase recycling bins for student rooms and offices, purchase lighting motion sensors, fund two Make Orange Green Graduate Assistants and undergraduate student helpers, provide materials for awareness education, and other projects.
Beginning fall 2009, funding for Student Environmental Initiatives projects increased from $5/$30 to $10/$35 per semester for in-state/out-of-state students, respectively. This enables the Knoxville campus to increase its green power purchase, and allows us to accelerate work on projects like those listed below. For a complete list of Student Environmental Initiatives projects as of April 2011, click here. Please direct any questions about the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee to firstname.lastname@example.org. Current UT students may submit ideas for new Student Environmental Initiatives projects anytime here.
Stokely Management Center Lighting System Upgrades
In terms of energy savings, one of the most notable student-funded efficiency projects has been a complete lighting retrofit in Stokely Management Center. Prior to the retrofit, the older inefficient lighting fixtures were only able to be turned on and off one half of one floor at a time. If one person was in an office, half of the lights on that floor were on. With labor donated by the Facilities Services Department, the project funded the purchase of new lighting fixtures and controls that use about one-third less electricity and eliminate the need for excessive lighting in the building. In addition, the funding added daylight harvesting technology to the building so that the lighting dims as sunlight shines enters a space. These improvements were originally calculated to save $56,000 per year based on electric rates in 2003. The savings are higher with increased rates.
Green Power Purchase
Since 2005, the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee has been used to
purchase Green-e certified renewable energy credits (RECs) from the Tennessee
Valley Authority (TVA) and Knoxville Utilities Board. As of May 2012, $216,000
of Student Environmental Initiatives Fee revenues is used to purchase RECs
through TVA's Green Power Switch program. The UT Facilities Services Department
contributes another $20,000 toward the program. In total, UT's $240,000 annual
REC purchase supports the expansion and development of 80,000 MWh of new
renewable energy capacity in the southeast U.S. The purchase makes UT one
of the biggest users of green power among U.S. colleges and universities and an
The purchase makes UT one of the biggest users of green power among U.S. colleges and universities and anEPA Green Power Partner.
IEEE Robotics Competition
With $1,000 in support from the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee, the IEEE Student Branch at the University of Tennessee competed in the 2009 IEEE SoutheastCon Robotics Competition. The competition, which was held in Atlanta, GA from March 5-8, had a recycling theme where student teams built a robot to pick up aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and other recyclable materials. The robots then placed each material into a corresponding bag without any human guidance. For more information about the competition or IEEE visit http://ieee.eecs.utk.edu.
Communications Studio Lighting Upgrade
The UT Video and Photography Center (VPC) is a complete broadcast production facility with a full-size television studio, field production capabilities, and editing facilities. The television studio is used daily for both teaching and video production. The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee funded the $70,000 replacement of the existing television studio incandescent lighting configuration with fluorescent lighting. This change will result in the following outcomes:
• Energy savings (power) of 20% – 40% annually – fluorescent lamps require less of a load than incandescent.
• Energy savings (HVAC) of 20% – 40% annually - fluorescent lamps produce less heat, and as a result less demand for energy to cool the studio.
• Labor/cost savings – fluorescent lamps do not need to be changed as frequently as incandescent lamps, reductions in purchases and maintenance costs.
• Improved image quality – fluorescent lamps produce a soft, but distinct light source which results in a more enhanced video image, and better quality broadcast product.
VPC is also using this project as an opportunity to provide environmental & energy savings education and awareness to students, faculty and staff by producing a 30-second Public Service Announcement focusing on how the conversion resulted in energy and cost savings and creating a poster that will be displayed outside the entrance to the studio explaining the conversion and the resulting energy and cost saving. The PSA will on air on UTTV (Campus and Comcast cable).
Steam Valve Controls
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee has funded $13,000 per year for five years to perform upgrades of controls and valves that turn steam on and off in certain buildings. These controls help to eliminate situations where windows are opened and air conditioners have to run to offset overheating of buildings. This also improves the comfort level in the buildings. These devices were installed at Earth and Planetary Sciences, Perkins Hall, Hess Hall, and at Facilities Services. The Facilities Services Department is donating labor for environmental initiatives projects which should result in this project costing less than the proposed $65,000.
Sara Malley (l) and Katie Kimsey (r)
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee has funded several graduate assistants over the past few years. Sara Malley served as a Graduate Assistant from 2009-2011. As a GA, Sara helped launch the Hall Vols program and assisted with various projects to promote environmental stewardship on campus and in the community. Sara is currently pursuing her PhD in environmental sociology and aspires to teach at a college or university striving for carbon neutrality.
Katie Lee Kimsey also served as a Graduate Assistant from 2009-2011. Her duties included public relations, graphic design, and promotions. She coordinated the Friends of Switchie program, and spearheaded the design and layout of the Big Orange Green Guide. Katie is a UT Knoxville alumnus and earned a master's degree in public relations in May 2011.
Electric Vehicle Purchase
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee funded the purchase of four electric fleet vehicles during the 2007-2008 fiscal year increasing the total number of campus electric vehicles to nine.
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee has paid membership dues for University of Tennessee to join the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The
AASHE website hosts a wide range of information regarding sustainability on college and university campuses. Any person with a @utk.edu or @tennessee.edu email address can access AASHE resources by creating a password.
To sign up for a FREE AASHE membership visit http://www.aashe.org/user/register
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Exchange
In the fall of 2007 the Student Environmental Initiatives Fee, University Housing, and Facilities Services, purchased compact fluorescent light bulbs for the annual residence hall exchange. Students living in on-campus Housing facilities swapped incandescent bulbs for energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. More than 1,300 light bulbs were swapped in campus residence halls. By using compact fluorescent rather than incandescent light bulbs residence halls will see a $32,500/semester savings in electrical costs and the elimination of almost 100,000 pounds of emissions savings each semester.
Make Orange Green Education and Support
The Student Environmental Initiatives Fee funds the production of Make Orange Green promotional and education products. This includes the hanging of Make Orange Green banners during the fall roll-out week and in the spring, the printing of Make Orange Green t-shirts and pens, and various other items. Also included in education and support are the printing of table tents for campus dining areas, door hangers for academic and administrative buildings, recycling awareness posters and environmental tip posters.