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This week’s good ideas in campus sustainability: 11/2/09

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

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There’s a lot happening this week in the world of campus sustainability, including several campuses rolling out green buildings, solar electricity installations, and renewable energy purchases.

Three initiatives stand out as innovative:

(1) Franklin Pierce University announces new M.B.A. in Energy & Sustainability Studies

Here’s another example of a school re-framing traditional degree programs like the MBA.

Excerpts:

Franklin Pierce’s program differentiates itself from other “Green M.B.A.” offerings in that it focuses on energy issues and resource management. Resources such as food, water, energy and raw materials are examined in conjunction with issues of conservation and exploitation and their effect on business enterprises and communities. Topics include the examination of traditional non-renewable energy sources, like oil, coal and nuclear, as well as renewable sources, like solar, wind and geothermal. Students are exposed to worldwide markets for energy and the need for conservation, further exploitation and improved technology of all energy resources.

Dr. Michael Mooiman, an Assistant Professor in the M.B.A. program, said, “We believe that in the 21st Century organizations will have two CEOs – a Chief Executive Officer and a Chief Energy Officer. The M.B.A. in Energy & Sustainability Studies provides graduates the skills, knowledge and credentials necessary to effectively lead in either position.”

(2) Illinois Institute of Technology Leads Statewide Initiative to Create Jobs and National Hub for Smart Grid

This one is interesting for showing how universities can collaborate with surrounding regions to make innovations happen more quickly.

Excerpts:

The Illinois Smart Grid Collaboration is a statewide public-private partnership led by IIT and UIUC to speed the adoption of the Smart Grid in Illinois and nationally. Key private and municipal partnerships include Commonwealth Edison, Ameren, the City of Chicago, the Village of Oak Park, the Galvin Electricity Initiative and more than 50 companies.

The Collaboration applied as a Smart Grid Regional Demonstration project, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, seeking $60 million (50% match) from the US Department of Energy (DoE) for the project.

The Collaboration is nationally significant in that it is working to speed the effective adoption of the Smart Grid through a unique community, consumer, and market-based approach. With engagement at each of these levels, this project provides a format to ensure the expected benefits of SmartGrid adoption are widely adopted.

(3) Department of Energy Awards $338 Million to Accelerate Domestic Geothermal Energy

This example shows the kinds of impacts possible with more serious federal investment in alternative energy technologies.  It’s not just that all of these schools will lead by example of having a better heating and cooling system; the effect gets multiplied because these institutions can now use geothermal as learning tools for students, faculty, and staff.  Not to mention the green jobs it produces.

Excerpts:

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $338 million in Recovery Act funding for the exploration and development of new geothermal fields and research into advanced geothermal technologies.  These grants will support 123 projects in 39 states, with recipients including private industry, academic institutions, tribal entities, local governments, and DOE’s National Laboratories.  The grants will be matched more than one-for-one with an additional $353 million in private and non-Federal cost-share funds.

“The United States is blessed with vast geothermal energy resources, which hold enormous potential to heat our homes and power our economy,” said Secretary Chu.  “These investments in America’s technological innovation will allow us to capture more of this clean, carbon free energy at a lower cost than ever before.  We will create thousands of jobs, boost our economy and help to jumpstart the geothermal industry across the United States.”

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