Are we green?

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A review of UVU’s environmental protection policies shows the school is very eco-friendly

 Sean Stoker | Editor-at-Large | @TheRoyalThey

Like an alien race from a low-budget sci-fi movie, we Wolverines bleed green. But no amount of rhetoric or half-hearted sentiment can make up for a lack of environmental consciousness.

So when it comes to being green, how does UVU stack up? As it turns out, quite well.

UVU has taken several measures in order to be less wasteful and conserve resources. The majority of professors have minimized their paper handouts, allowing students to submit most of their work electronically through the wonders of Canvas. Recycling bins have become an increasingly more prominent feature all throughout campus, offering and even encouraging students and faculty to make that tiny extra effort it takes to separate there waste, with consequential effects.

According to Joel Herd, director of the student center, between July 2013 and June 2014 UVU recycled 201,280 pounds of paper, 1,093 pounds of cans, and 54,544 pounds of cardboard. That’s 256,916 pounds or nearly 129 tons of resources that were conserved and thrown into a landfill.

Furthermore, the top-dispensing water fountains throughout campus allow students to refill their plastic bottles more easily, while also seeing a physical reminder of the difference they’re making in the form of a digital display counting the number of bottles that have been saved so far. Several more of these have been placed in the new Student Life and Wellness building, and by their own count, these drinking fountains have already saved tens of thousands of plastic bottles.

When it comes to heating and cooling, UVU is largely self-sufficient, making use of geothermal energy. Currently the school is using two geothermal wells for power, but according to Denny Rucker, UVU’s director of engineering and special products, we will have two more by the end of the year. These geothermal wells use the Earth’s natural warmth to heat water, creating a consistent level of power throughout the year. During the winter, when a considerable amount of power goes to heating the building, the wells replace over 200 million cubic feet of natural gas that would otherwise have to be burned.

Rucker also explained that UVU has a unique system for heating and cooling. Rucker said that 90 to 95 percent of the campus air conditioning system is controlled by a computer system that regulates air throughout campus.

“When one room has too much heat,” Rucker explained, “it takes that heat and moves it to another part of campus. If one room needs cooling we take the cooling from one side of campus to the other, or wherever we need it. We don’t have to eject it out into the environment like a lot campuses. We direct the (British Thermal Units) where they need to go before we eject them.”

So next time somebody tries to give you a hard time for not biking to work, or for not eating local, cage-free, virgin food, just tell them you go here. That should shut them up.

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