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Red and white goes green

WSSU sustains efficiency

By Jordan Howse
On March 22, 2011

The carbon footprint of Winston-Salem State is on its way to becoming neutralized. The 17 campuses of UNC are required by law to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Each year, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by institutions, events and individuals is measured. This measurement is called the carbon footprint. When the measurement is zero, the footprint has reached carbon neutrality.

Most "green" or sustainability efforts pay for themselves including one the University has commissioned with Siemens Corporation.

They will conduct an energy audit of 10 buildings on campus. The project has the potential to save WSSU more than $650,000 in utility costs per year.

"It [Siemens project] is self-financed," said Dick Kabis, director of sustainability. "What we save is how Siemens gets paid."

Three new construction projects -- the Student Activities Center, the new science building and the Center for Design Innovation -- must meet the requirements of Session Law 2007 546 which mandates 30 percent greater energy efficiency than 2004 standards.

Kabis said that although the budget for new buildings has been available for awhile, General Assembly took some money, but not because of recent budget cuts. Construction costs for the state have gone down; therefore, the renovations and new buildings won't cost as much.

A $350,000 grant from the State Energy Office will fund three projects: repairing the faulty steam traps; installing energy efficient lighting in seven buildings; and installing motion lighting controls in the corridors of Brown and Wilson halls.

"The state has passed a new law that schools can keep the money they save on sustainability projects and invest up to 60 percent of savings into other efficiency projects," Kabis said.

More recycle bins are noticeable on campus, but Kabis said recycling on campus needs improvement.

"I don't think everyone knows what is recyclable and what isn't," Kabis said. "A lot of trash ends up in recycling and has to be sorted."

It costs the University money to sort recycling and the more trash the WSSU community throws into recycle bins, the more money the University has to spend to sort it.

The sustainability committee has a waste reduction sub-committee that helps educate the WSSU community about what is recyclable.

Chelii Broussard, marketing and promotions coordinator, is in charge of "Go Green Week" April 11-15, followed by the Piedmont Environmental Alliance's "Earth Day Fair" at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds April 16.

In 2009, there were several educational and informative activities for "Go Green Week" that Broussard said overloaded the students.

"There was a lot of information and not enough time to take it all in," Broussard said. "So last year we began using themes and colors to better connect students to the cause."

After the week's activities, a small group of students will go to Whole Foods on Miller Street and display what WSSU did to contribute to the going green cause.

"[Last year] a lot of people from the community that know little about WSSU were very amazed that we were taking the initiative to take better care of our community and our planet."

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