The Guilfordian

Guilford College says: go green or go home

Composting Composting is an ever-present topic around Guilford, but where does it all go? Every scrap from the dining hall, along with collected student material, ends up in the Earth Tub. This giant composting vessel, which requires manual rotation, allows for solid trash to cure out for use in the community gardens.

Data from last year’s Recycle Mania showed a rise in recycled solid waste from between 17 and 20 percent without the Earth Tub, to 50 to 55 percent with it in use. To increase the amount of recycled material, another Earth Tub has been ordered and is on its way.

“Composting here at Guilford has a lot of potential and needs student involvement. It’s really important that other people interested step up,” said senior Chesapeake First.

After an independent study on Guilford composting last year, First is one of the main contributors to campus composting.

Want to try it yourself? Drop off food in the orange buckets around campus or contact Jim Dees to help.

Electronic Waste Disposal Program

Up until last November the old electronics around campus were stashed in basements and closets. Removal of the equipment was required after a routine Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit.

Historically, electronic disposal has consisted of shipping equipment overseas to be stripped for parts which are hazardous for both people and the environment. As an alternative, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Jim Dees organized their collection by Synergy Recycling.

“It’s great we didn’t throw it away,” Dees said. “It would have ended up in the landfill.”

Based in Mayodan, N.C., Synergy’s basis for collection includes essentially anything that plugs into the wall and scrap metal. The company is local and everything is done on site.

Since this January, Synergy reported processing over 14,000 pounds of electronic scrap from Guilford.

Energy Allowance

In effort to conserve energy, energy consumption limits were introduced last year to the North Apartments and theme houses. The limit was determined by the historic average taken over the last three years.

Students have to pay for any energy usage exceeding that limit.

Last year only two suites went over. The penalty was less than ten dollars per person.

“It was developed so the penalty is not the emphasis of the program,” said Dees.

The program’s goal is just to raise awareness on their energy consumption. No technology is required, just time spent educating students. The program has been successful, reducing electricity usage last year by 24 percent.

Live Energy Metering

Current energy metering around campus can only be observed on a monthly basis. Starting this November energy dash-boarding will be active at Guilford. This technology will allow for real-time, live energy use data to been viewed for Binford, Milner, Mary Hobbs, Archdale, Duke, King, Founders and Hege Library.

“One guy turning the light off is not going to make that much difference,” said Dees. “(The live data) shows how collectively we can make that much difference.”

While useful to facilities, Dees plans to use this information help educate, forming a connection for building residents on the effects of their behavior.

Dees described the potential use for the data. For example, with the real time date, coordinating all the residents of a hall to unplug all electronics in their rooms at the same time the drop in electricity usage could be observed live.

“Being able to see that data live has the potential to raise awareness on how much energy we use,” said Ryan Phillips, a first-year Binford resident.

Education

“I believe the real impact a college like Guilford can have is in educating students to be principled problem solvers in environmental and sustainability fields,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Kyle Dell. “It is in changing our minds, not light bulbs, that a truly sustainable future will be realized.”

“Tying together a student’s area of study and how it is affected by environmental factors can make it much more relevant to them,” said Bryce Bjornson ’10. Bjornson now works for Guilford as an Energy Consultant.

Students are being provided with the resources to make a difference, but their behavior will be what determines the success.

“We are trying to appeal to people on whatever level makes sense to them. We don’t want to have a green ego. We’re careful not to have ‘green snobbery’ in our reputation,” said Vice President for Administration Jon Varnell.

While the likes of Dees and Varnell have little time in the classroom, they hope to reach students though events such as the Solarpaloza on Oct. 27, which will give students the chance to be exposed to and feel part of Guilford’s sustainability program.

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Guilford College says: go green or go home

Composting Composting is an ever-present topic around Guilford, but where does it all go? Every scrap from the dining hall, along with collected student material, ends up in the Earth Tub. This giant composting vessel, which requires manual rotation, allows for solid trash to cure out for use in the community gardens.

Data from last year’s Recycle Mania showed a rise in recycled solid waste from between 17 and 20 percent without the Earth Tub, to 50 to 55 percent with it in use. To increase the amount of recycled material, another Earth Tub has been ordered and is on its way.

“Composting here at Guilford has a lot of potential and needs student involvement. It’s really important that other people interested step up,” said senior Chesapeake First.

After an independent study on Guilford composting last year, First is one of the main contributors to campus composting.

Want to try it yourself? Drop off food in the orange buckets around campus or contact Jim Dees to help.

Electronic Waste Disposal Program

Up until last November the old electronics around campus were stashed in basements and closets. Removal of the equipment was required after a routine Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) audit.

Historically, electronic disposal has consisted of shipping equipment overseas to be stripped for parts which are hazardous for both people and the environment. As an alternative, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Jim Dees organized their collection by Synergy Recycling.

“It’s great we didn’t throw it away,” Dees said. “It would have ended up in the landfill.”

Based in Mayodan, N.C., Synergy’s basis for collection includes essentially anything that plugs into the wall and scrap metal. The company is local and everything is done on site.

Since this January, Synergy reported processing over 14,000 pounds of electronic scrap from Guilford.

Energy Allowance

In effort to conserve energy, energy consumption limits were introduced last year to the North Apartments and theme houses. The limit was determined by the historic average taken over the last three years.

Students have to pay for any energy usage exceeding that limit.

Last year only two suites went over. The penalty was less than ten dollars per person.

“It was developed so the penalty is not the emphasis of the program,” said Dees.

The program’s goal is just to raise awareness on their energy consumption. No technology is required, just time spent educating students. The program has been successful, reducing electricity usage last year by 24 percent.

Live Energy Metering

Current energy metering around campus can only be observed on a monthly basis. Starting this November energy dash-boarding will be active at Guilford. This technology will allow for real-time, live energy use data to been viewed for Binford, Milner, Mary Hobbs, Archdale, Duke, King, Founders and Hege Library.

“One guy turning the light off is not going to make that much difference,” said Dees. “(The live data) shows how collectively we can make that much difference.”

While useful to facilities, Dees plans to use this information help educate, forming a connection for building residents on the effects of their behavior.

Dees described the potential use for the data. For example, with the real time date, coordinating all the residents of a hall to unplug all electronics in their rooms at the same time the drop in electricity usage could be observed live.

“Being able to see that data live has the potential to raise awareness on how much energy we use,” said Ryan Phillips, a first-year Binford resident.

Education

“I believe the real impact a college like Guilford can have is in educating students to be principled problem solvers in environmental and sustainability fields,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Kyle Dell. “It is in changing our minds, not light bulbs, that a truly sustainable future will be realized.”

“Tying together a student’s area of study and how it is affected by environmental factors can make it much more relevant to them,” said Bryce Bjornson ’10. Bjornson now works for Guilford as an Energy Consultant.

Students are being provided with the resources to make a difference, but their behavior will be what determines the success.

“We are trying to appeal to people on whatever level makes sense to them. We don’t want to have a green ego. We’re careful not to have ‘green snobbery’ in our reputation,” said Vice President for Administration Jon Varnell.

While the likes of Dees and Varnell have little time in the classroom, they hope to reach students though events such as the Solarpaloza on Oct. 27, which will give students the chance to be exposed to and feel part of Guilford’s sustainability program.

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