Ohio University is open; several power outages are scheduled for the Athens Campus.

The timing of the outages taking place Dec. 29-31 has been altered. More Information
 

21

Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Overcast, 31 °F

compassLogo
Solar Panels

Resting atop Lausche Heating Plant's coal storage shed, in the shadow of the University's now-dormant coal stack, lie 2,014 square feet of solar paneling, which began feeding the grid this summer.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

Composter construction

In September 2010, the University was granted $1,088,571 to double its current compost initiative through the purchase of a new composting unit.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

Featured Stories

Vision in Action

Ready for action: New solar arrays and compost facility braced for fall launch

ARRA grants enable waste diversion and energy savings at OHIO


Ohio University recently put the finishing touches on its latest energy efficiency projects, funded by two separate American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) totaling nearly $1.5 million.

With both projects set to go live this fall, OHIO expects to double its current composting initiative and generate 174,313 kWh in electricity annually. The projects will also assist the University's efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, saving approximately 550 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually.

According to Harry Wyatt, associate vice president for facilities at Ohio University, the projects directly contribute to the University's long-term commitments to sustainability as outlined in the University's Sustainability Plan.

"Both projects will allow us to utilize renewable energy technology as an educational tool for Ohio University students, faculty and staff," Wyatt said.

Compost expansion enables 100 percent organics recycling

OHIO's current in-vessel composting unit is the largest in-vessel composting system at any college or university in the nation, but that didn't stop the University from pursuing an expansion.
 
In September 2010, the University was granted $1,088,571 to double its current compost initiative through the purchase of a new composting unit, a 1.4 gallon solar thermal, a 31.1 kilowatt solar electric system and a waste-oil heater.

The new unit is twice the size of OHIO's original composter, capable of accepting four tons of waste per day. It is anticipated that the facility will generate 100 percent of its energy needs through on-site solar arrays, according to Sustainability Director Annie Laurie Cadmus, who oversaw the grant management.  

"I think it's really unique that Ohio University was already the largest in-vessel composting system in the nation and, yet, still had the energy, the initiative and the leadership to say that we don't do this for the recognition. We're doing this because we care about the environment; we care about educating students. We're committed to being strong leaders in sustainability, and so they pursued to expand the system," Cadmus said.

Currently, the University captures approximately 40 percent of its organic waste from the dining halls. When the new composter comes online this fall, the University will be able to capture 100 percent of its organic waste.

"Not only will the compost expansion help us reduce the waste the institution sends to the landfill, but it was built in a manner that will allow for program growth in the years to come," Wyatt said.

To ease the learning curve, the Office of Sustainability plans to host regular tours of the compost facility as well as composting education at the University dining halls in the fall.

Solar arrays bring environmental perspective to an ironic location


The location of OHIO's newest solar installment is a paradox in and of itself.
 
Resting atop Lausche Heating Plant's coal storage shed, in the shadow of the University's now-dormant coal stack, lie 2,014 square feet of solar paneling, which began feeding the grid this summer.

"The location of this array lends itself to a unique image. You see all these transitions of an institution that's trying to reduce its footprint and choose the more economically and socially responsible energy form. It's interesting to see so much change in one location," Cadmus said.

Fueled by $281,000 in ARRA grant funds, the 61.1 kilowatt solar electric system is six times the size of Ohio University's next largest array. Cadmus said the array's ironic location was chosen for its giant dimensions and favorable direction.

According to the most recent projections, the array will generate 107,050 kWh annually. This is in addition to the electricity projections of 67,263 kWh at the compost site.

Information on campus energy usage will soon be available through OHIO's online energy dashboard. The interactive tool will broadcast energy information for each building on campus, including the energy savings generated by the coal storage solar array and compost facility.

ARRA's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant enables energy impacts at OHIO

OHIO was among 14 in-state recipients, including 13 institutions of higher education, to receive $10.7 million in grant awards funded through the ARRA's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant: Local Governments and State Energy Program.

Projects were selected through a competitive review process based on several criteria to fulfill program objectives: project readiness to ensure completion by July 20; reduction in energy usage and fossil fuel emissions; and direct economic impact in Ohio to create and retain jobs.

These awards are part of the total $25 million allocated to the State of Ohio through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which has $8.2 million for institutions of higher education and state government. Another $2.5 million is provided through Ohio's State Energy Program in support of these projects.

For more information about the project details, click here.

Tours available by request

Faculty, staff and student groups may request a tour of the compost facility by emailing sustainability@ohio.edu.