North Texas Daily

Sustainability initiative on campus

Sustainability initiative on campus

October 28
00:20 2014

Steven James / Staff Writer

UNT Sustainability is teaming with UNT Facilities in implementing the “5 for 5” initiative, a sustainable development project that changes the infrastructure of specific buildings on campus, making them more energy efficient and eco-friendly.

Infrastructure changes began earlier this year in five buildings across campus – Willis Library; Sage Hall; the Business Leadership Building; Crumley Hall; and the Environmental Education, Science and Technology building. Sustainability outreach coordinator Victoria Knaupp said those specific buildings were chosen because they each represent the different types of people who use resources on campus.

She said Willis was targeted because it has a student population that constantly changes, while Crumley was chosen because it is a residence hall. The EESAT building was chosen because many students there conduct research with faculty members.

The BLB is used by students from different majors and Sage is the home of several different offices, including the Honors College, Student Veterans Services and the Internet Technology Office.

“With that variation, it’s very evident there is a very different sort of audience that we’re targeting in each building,” Knaupp said. “Some are going to be more receptive than others. Some are going to be easier to impact than others.”

The five “5 for 5” initiatives are recycling, paper reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency and “Bring Your Own Bottle.” The building changes, which have been installed by Facilities, include the new hand dryers in Sage and the EESAT, spigots on water fountains for people’s water bottles and the replacement of the old lighting in Sage with LED lights, which operations coordiantor Brandon Zitar said can save UNT $15,000 a year for each building that receives the new lighting.

“5 for 5” funding comes from the We Mean Green Fund, a $5-per-student fee that helps fund sustainability projects each long semester, according to Sustainability’s website.

Zitar, who is in charge of the project, said Sustainability has been hosting tabling events to help engage students by talking to them about the five initiatives. Signs have been posted around campus to help advertise the project.

He also said students can help to lower the number of materials that have to be recycled, including plastic and aluminum, by bringing their own water bottles to campus.

“We can provide recycling bins, which is a first step, but then actually marketing how to use the recycle bins and how much to actually recycle is kind of the next step,” Zitar said. “We’ve grown a lot, we’ve been able to do a lot, but it’s been difficult to always gauge the success of project in terms of who we’re able to speak to and how well our information is disseminated.”

One of the professors helping with “5 for 5” is associate geography professor Lisa Nagaoka, who helped Sustainability decide where to place recycle bins, including the new solar-powered recycling bins that were placed around campus this summer.

She said two years ago she led her students in a research project that would only take a few days for each student to complete.

Her students studied the foot traffic patterns of people around campus, observing where people would walk, which buildings were most used and even which doors of buildings people most often opened.

She said she gave the data to Sustainability, which then continued the research and decided which parts of campus to put the recycling bins. She said this initiative was especially important, because people around campus would place landfill garbage into the recycling bins and recyclable materials into the regular tras cans.

“If you have three trash cans you get to first, you’re more likely to get your bottle in the trash can,” Nagaoka said. “We made it as easy for things to go the other way around.”

Associate vice president of facilities David Reynolds said Facilities is also helping Sustainability collect data on what initiatives could help improve the current state of sustainable buildings on campus.

“A lot of talk in the industry is the quality of lighting to not use as much energy,” Reynolds said. “Due to growth in student population, some buildings are heavily trafficked and need infrastructure changes for both the students and the campus as a whole.”

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