Category Archives: Energy Conservation
First Talk of the Semester! (Spring 2019)
On March 6, we hosted CleanBay Renewables. They are a sustainable engineering company based in Westover, Maryland, but with a few locations across the area, including in Georgetown, Delaware. It was founded in 2013 by Tom Spangler and is the only business of its kind. CleanBay Renewables uses anaerobic digestion and nutrient removal techniques to fully recycle chicken waste into clean power.
Their technology processes in a fully closed system to avoid waste stream, protecting local ecosystems from harm. This technique not only strengthens the electrical power grid, but it also provides an auxiliary for farmers. Delaware is a national leader in chicken production, so this technology is pivotal for the area.
CleanBay currently has 12 trucks functioning daily and they process 90,000 tons of chicken litter a day- enough to power 9000 homes. annually The digesters they use consume 1.5 million tons of water, but it is sustainably done so that the water returns into the ecosystem after use. Their technology produces biogas and digestate during processing, with the digestate being turned into phosphorus pellets. Given the high phosphorus in the area which hurts aquatic life, these pellets are transported to phosphorus-deficient areas in the nation to help food production.
This new and exciting technology was great to hear about and we would love to see what happens next. For more information, please go to cleanbayrenewables.com or contact us! Check out our Instagram https://www.instagram.com/udgreenliaisons/ for photos from the event!
An Earth Month Special: UD’s Solar Power Project and the Delaware Nature Society’s Clean Water Campaign
This past April 24th, we held a special two-for-one Green Liaisons Lunch in honor of Earth Month featuring both Zach Platsis, UD’s Energy Manager, and Brenna Goggin, the Delaware Nature Society’s Advocacy Manager.
Zach led a great talk detailing the University’s rather recent solar initiative, which includes solar arrays atop Clayton Hall, 461 Wyoming Road, and the Delaware Field House. The arrays generate approximately 1000 total Mwh each year, which is out of UD’s overall 150,000 annual Mwh usage.
We actually learned quite a bit about some lesser known aspects of solar energy itself, such as how to discern and interpret the difference between “AC” and “DC” energy output, what conditions allow arrays to function most efficiently (it should be relatively cool), and the fact that arrays cannot run on max power for very long, which means that their advertised energy output can sometimes be misleading to the public.
Zach also told us about some of the University’s new energy initiatives, such as their sub-metering project, which will, in an effort to better target energy-consuming utilities, put several individual meters where there are currently full-building meters.
Next, we heard from Brenna about the Delaware Nature Society’s 2015 campaign, Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice, an effort to secure funding for cleaner waters in DE. Delaware, as Brenna explained, has had a long history of contaminated water, beginning with industries such as National Vulcanized Fiber (NVF), which operated without safe building regulations throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and thus released toxic chemicals like zinc and mercury into DE waterways that remain to this day. Delaware water also still receives a regular dose of Dupont chemicals, agricultural runoff, and combined sewer overflow from wastewater treatment plants (which especially affects the Brandywine), in addition to residential runoff from homeowner lawn management and storm drains.
The problem that needs addressing now is that none of that runoff is treated: it goes straight to local waterways. The only way to remedy this on a truly effective scale would be to fund solutions (like rain barrels, best management practices, and pervious outdoor surfaces), and of course, finding that funding is the difficult part. The job of the Delaware Nature Society then, in addition to raising awareness about the state of Delaware’s water, is to secure that funding by way of an increase on property taxes. Residents would have a certain annual rate, and, although perhaps unconventional, larger, otherwise-exempt locations like the University of Delaware (which contributes a great portion of pollution to DE water) would be required to pay an appropriate fee, all in the name of making the water we interact with every single day that much safer.
Thank you to Zach and Brenna for these great talks! If you’d like to learn more about UD’s solar energy, check out the live-stream solar generation tracker, and if you’d like to learn more about the Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign, check out their Facebook page!
This was actually our last talk of the Spring semester, so check back with us in the fall to see what talks we have planned for next semester!
Green Power: The UD Wind Turbine
This past February 25th brought the Green Liaisons our first lunch and first guest speaker of the Spring 2015 semester: Professor Jeremy Firestone, a faculty member in Marine Science and Policy and the Director of UD’s Interdisciplinary Center for Carbon-free Power Integration, joined us to share his experiences leading and contributing to the development, permitting, and construction of the Lewes Campus Wind Turbine.
Professor Firestone gave us an excellent look into the work that is involved when a university plans and produces a piece of green machinery such as a wind turbine. UD’s wind turbine began generating electricity in 2010, but, as Professor Firestone told us, this was the result of years working through the development stage of the process. (One really interesting aspect of this process was the extensive number of studies that were required in order to gage public interest and opinion before and after the wind turbine was built, of which Professor Firestone gives a great overview in his talk!).
Today, five years after it first began turning, the wind turbine is still owned and operated by a partnership between UD and the turbine manufacturer, Gamesa Technology Coporation. It generates enough electricity to power the Lewes Campus, and any excess is sold to the residents of the Town of Lewes, whose continued support plays a large part in the success of the turbine. The turbine also serves as a research and educational platform for the university, and there are even opportunities for students to become certified to go to the top!
Check out this Professor Firestone’s awesome talk to learn more about this green project UD is working on!
Delaware Sea Level Rise Awareness Week
Did you know?
At only 60 feet above sea level, Delaware has the lowest average elevation of any state, making our 381 miles of shoreline particularly vulnerable to the serious consequences of sea level rise.
September 14 – 22 is Delaware Sea Level Rise Awareness Week. Get on board!
For more information please visit http://www.sosdelaware.org/
Campus Sustainability Day Schedule
Campus Sustainability Day is coming up next week on Wednesday October 24th, so please mark your calendars with out exciting list of events. All events are free and open to the public…show up, learn about sustainability on campus, and enjoy!
- No-Waste Breakfast- Peter Krawchyk our University architect and campus planner will be on hand to discuss the new buildings and infrastructure on campus and their various forms of green design. The no-waste breakfast will feature hot tea and coffee and light breakfast options, all of which will be composted or recycled after the event. The breakfast will be held in the Perkins Gallery beginning at 8:30AM.
- Keynote Lecture: What’s Gotten Into Us: Toxic Chemicals, Our Health, and the Environment– Dr. McKay Jenkins, Tilghman Professor of English, will discuss his research concerning synthetic chemicals in the environment and how they invade in our own bodies. These are not just the toxins leaking out of industrial dumps–they are the chemicals leaking into us from the product we use everyday. Join us for this enlightening lecture to learn where these chemicals come from and how we may avoid excessive exposure to them. The lecture will be held in 004 Kirkbride, 11:15-12:00PM.
- Green Expo on the Green- Diverse groups from across campus will come together to showcase their sustainable actions at UD, network with other groups, and encourage sustainability at all levels of involvement. There will be sustainability-themed giveaways, interactive sustainability exhibits, green artwork by students from the College School, and UD Creamery ice cream samples. The expo will be held on the Main Green in front of Gore Hall, 12:00-2:00PM.
- Hands-On Composting Workshop- The UD Food and Garden Policy Committee will host a hands-on composting workshop at the English Language Institute Garden led by Jason Begany. Jason will run the composting demonstration at an active compost pile where he will discuss the evolution of composting in our society, the dos and dont’s of successful compost piles, and all the composting options for your home. The workshop will provide hot tea and coffee, which will be added to the compost pile at the end of the event! The workshop will be held at the ELI Garden, located at 189 W. Main Street, 5:15-6:15PM.
- Live Music at Laird– Students 4 the Environment will host outdoor evening activities featuring tye-dye (please bring your own clothing item), live music from UD’s own a cappella groupds, and a compact fluourescent lighbulb (CFL) giveaway. These activities will be held on Laird Turf, 6:30-8:30PM.
For more information about Campus Sustainability Day events and scheduling, visit our website www.udel.edu/sustainability/event.
Free Webinar on Delaware River Basin Source Water Protection
The Delaware River Basin Source Water Collaborative is hosting a free webinar dedicated to source water protection throughout the Delaware River Basin on September 25. Please see their website for more details: http://www.delawarebasindrinkingwater.org/events/webinar-contamiants-emerging-concern-delaware-river-basin/