It Is Easy Being Green
By Lori Putnam
When walking down Ventura Street on the southside of campus, take a moment to enjoy the beauty of the landscaping. Then remember that the ground cover and plants that surround Bell Tower West and Santa Cruz Village have been chosen not only for their aesthetics, but for their drought-tolerant nature. They represent one of the many ways CI is supporting sustainability on campus.
“Our target is to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015,” said Dave Chakraborty, Associate Vice President for Operations, Planning & Construction (OP&C). “Already we have reduced electricity consumption by more than 20 percent over the last three years.”
This Fall, CI became one of the first West Coast universities to partner with Zipcar to offer the convenience of reserving cars on campus. Students, faculty, staff, and University Glen residents can participate in the program for a $35 annual membership fee and an hourly or daily rate that includes gas and insurance. What’s more, members can also access Zipcars at other participating college campuses.
“We hope to grow this program,” said Deanne Ellison, Community Outreach Administrator for Police & Parking Services. “The fewer vehicles on our campus, the more sustainable we can become.” Currently, vehicles are available at the Town Center and in the A5 Parking Lot near Campus Recreation. Ellison hopes to add more cars as demand increases.
With new building construction, the University looks at conservation first and how best to recycle existing materials. “If we can reuse a building, then we’re not demolishing it and creating more waste,” said Chakraborty, pointing to North Hall where nearly half of the building will be readapted. In new construction, the University also seeks ways to promote sustainability, whether through skylights that allow natural light or operable windows that provide natural ventilation. Energy usage is monitored for all campus buildings to identify better ways to conserve.
The University currently recycles about 50 percent of its waste, according to Raudel Banuelos, Associate Director of Building & Grounds, and a new outreach program designed by student assistant Thao (Jessica) Nguyen and sponsored by OP&C will focus on increasing participation in the recycling program. “Sometimes people get confused about what they should put in the bins,” said Banuelos. He is partnering with student leaders to help educate the CI community in addition to increasing the number of recycling bins on campus.
For more information about CI’s sustainability program, visit www.csuci.edu/sustainability.