February 2013 sustainNU Newsletter

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NU Leading on Energy and the Environment

Northwestern University is fully committed to leadership in addressing the global challenges around energy and climate change. As a part of this commitment, Northwestern has launched one of the most ambitious University energy efficiency programs to date. Working closely with Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability, University leadership created the Northwestern Energy Retrofit Initiative, committing almost $32 million to energy conservation projects, which will have significant environmental and economic benefits over the next three years.

In the first phase of this exciting initiative, Northwestern worked closely with leading engineering and energy firms including Siemens and Noresco, a division of United Technologies, to identify and prioritize energy related projects. These projects are now being implemented across the Evanston and Chicago campuses and the University is already tracking the savings and environmental impact. Examples of projects include updating lighting, updating the central utility plant, and renovating the campus-wide central heating and cooling system. One innovative and impactful upgrade is the installation of an automated “demand-controlled ventilation system” that decreases energy usage and increases safety by constantly monitoring air quality and optimizing ventilation in the Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center. The savings for this project alone is a cool $550 thousand a year! Similar projects are happening all over campus, from the Main Library to Tech, and when they’re done we’ll have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions AND saved money doing it.

Another exciting project in the works is an analysis of the prospect for on-site generation of energy through cogeneration, geothermal heating and cooling, and other alternative and renewable technologies on the Evanston Campus. These efforts affirm Northwestern as a leader in energy and sustainability.

For more information about Northwestern’s energy efficiency program and other sustainability related initiatives, contact the Office of Sustainability.

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Green Cup in Full Swing

The annual Green Cup competition is heating up, and students across campus are making efforts to turn off and engage in sustainable living. We're halfway through the competition and have seen great reductions in electricity and water usage. Since the start of the Green Cup competition, students in residence halls and Greek houses have reduced electricity usage by 32,670 kilowatt hours (kWh) and water usage by 27,155 gallons.

Hobart House is dominating in the water category with a 47% reduction in week two! Kappa Delta is not far behind with a 44% reduction in water usage. Sigma Chi tops the charts in energy savings with a 20% reduction in each of the first two rounds. Foster-Walker, the largest residence hall on campus, is also showing impressive reductions in energy use with a 19% reduction in week two. To get the weekly ratings and learn about Green Cup events, check out the NU Green Cup Facebook Page.

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Eco-Reps Create Earth Hour Event at NU

During this year’s Green Cup, Eco-Reps are putting on their first campus-wide program, NU Earth Hour. Modeled off of the international Earth Hour event, Eco-Reps are asking students living on-campus to turn off all of their lights and electronics and meet in Elder or Allison Dining Hall for free snacks, prizes, and music. The grand prize for the event, a $300 Dance Marathon contribution will go to the Dance Marathon team that brings the most students. 

Eco-Reps serve to inform, educate, and engage on-campus residents on sustainable opportunities. By collaborating with peers and leading programs within residence colleges, residence halls, and Greek Houses, Eco-Reps enhance Northwestern’s efforts as a leader in sustainability.

As the international Earth Hour coincides with NU’s spring break, this event will help promote the goals of Green Cup and allow the campus community to participate.  NU Earth Hour will take place Thursday, February 21 from 9:00 am-10:00 pm.

If you have any questions, please contact Eco-Reps President, Brenna Ledvora.

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Pledge to Divest in Fossil Fuels

More than 1,200 individuals have signed the petition urging the Univeristy to divest from coal investments.  Northwestern University Responsible Endowment Coalition, in conjunction with the Associated Student Government (ASG) released the petition to establish support for a complete divestment from the coal industry. Furthermore, the petition asks that the University continue its commitment to sustainability by channeling future investments toward renewable energy and clean technologies.

The bill also commends the university’s prior divestment from select fossil fuel companies in 2005 and encourages complete divestment from fossil fuel companies as a future goal. The petition, released on February 5th, proposes more environmentally conscious endowment investments and will align with the principles of the Northwestern Strategic Plan.

Sustainability Vice President Mark Silberg, a co-author of the legislation, believes now is the time for Northwestern to take leadership in sustainability, “As a world renowned research institution with an explicit commitment to energy and sustainability, Northwestern is ready to put action behind our words. The immense support we have received from faculty, staff, students, and alumni is not only inspiring, but is also testament to our vision of Northwestern as a global citizen. We look forward to working with our administration and Trustees to implement these measures with little risk to our endowment.”

The public petition is available at bit.ly/NUSustainableEndowment and will circulate until the end of February. For more information about these projects and others, please visit the ASG webpage.

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Discussing the Evolving Energy Landscape

Kellogg School of Management’s Student-run Energy Club hosted their inaugural Energy Conference last Wednesday. The conference focused on challenges for industries due to the changing landscape of energy. Over 230 students, alumni, and conference sponsors attended. As a crossroad between many industries, energy is increasingly at the forefront of political and business dialogue. The conference featured keynotes from John Bryson, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and former CEO of Edison International and Dr. Sue Tierney, Managing principal at Analysis Group and former Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sue Tierney opened the day's speeches with her Keynote address, “The evolving energy landscape,” focusing on energy production and distribution in the U.S., and around the globe. “If we take a lackluster approach, we’ll never reach our reduction goals,” said Sue Tierney. Her Keynote address was followed by a panel discussion, “The impact of energy on corporate strategy decisions.” The panelists talked about steps that corporations are taking to drive energy reduction, even without government intervention. Panel members included business leaders from five different companies, including McKinsey, McDonald's, and United Airlines.

Bryson closed the conference with the keynote address, during which he spoke about evolving energy demands and the need to act on climate change. “As a global economy, we need to think about climate change because it is exclusively a global issue," Bryson said. "We have to find ways that will reach around the world to address this issue." Bryson sought for global participation, “I wish to focus on the U.S. as a global economy, China as a global economy, and India as a global economy. We must come together and work together to address the issues of energy and climate change.” 

Resounding Bryson’s thoughts, Tierney said,  “Nation is as selfish as we allow it to be, the responsibility is on us, citizens and companies, to demand better policies from our leaders.” during a Q&A session following Bryson’s speech. Kellogg Professor Meghan Busse closed the conference by encouraging students to make a difference by promoting new policies and leading brave initiatives. She stated, “We at Kellogg believe that businesses can be bravely led and world changing. We need our students to be these business leaders in energy industry.”

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Jobs and Internships

Move In Move Out (MIMO) Internship

Move In Move Out (MIMO) began last September by a group of Kellogg MBA and Northwestern classmates with the goal of reducing waste during off-campus move-out at the end of the academic year. MIMO is looking for passionate unpaid interns that can commit 4-6 hours per week from spring to fall quarter (April to October), including summer. Northwestern students have an opportunity to serve on the marketing, IT, operations, and pricing and sales team and will gain experience from graduate students that have worked for top corporations throughout the world. The internship offers individual coaching and mentoring opportunities to develop leadership and personal skills.

To apply, email Steven To by March 1, 2013 with an application essay (300 words) detailing why you want to join MIMO, the team(s) you are interested in working with, and your potential contribution.

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Clean Air Cool Planet Climate Fellowships

Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Climate Fellowships pair outstanding students with important projects that will propel the U.S. toward a low-carbon future. Fellows spend 10 weeks during the summer working on meaningful, challenging projects and in return, Fellows receive a stipend, as well as supervision, mentorship, and unique networking opportunities. 2013 Fellows will also join a growing group of nearly 50 Clean Air-Cool Planet Climate Fellowship alumni, the vast majority of whom have remained in the environmental/energy fields. All Fellowship applications must be received by March 1 in order to be considered.

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Wildcat Green Tips

  1. Beware of Vampires. Unplug lights, chargers, and all other electronics when not in use- many devices use significant electricity when plugged in. 
  2. Be a Power Saver. Update your laptop’s power management settings to reduce energy usage and prolong battery life. 
  3. Save by Sharing.  Share appliances with roommates or workmates like refrigerators, TVs, and printers.
  4. Harvest the Sun. Utilize natural sunlight whenever possible and turn off the lights when you leave the room.

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Events

Green Cup Events

 sustainNU Working Action Group (SWAG) Meeting
Fri. Feb. 22
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM
RSVP

Sustain Evanston: Implementation Update Meeting
Sat. Feb. 23
9:00 PM – 11:30 PM
RSVP

Energy: the Next 50 Years
Tues. Feb. 26
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
RSVP

2013 Good Food Festival & Conference
March 14-16

Northwestern University Summit on Sustainability (NUSOS): Save the Date
Fri. April 5

UIC Summer Institute on Sustainable Energy
Aug. 5-16
Apply Now

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