Students lead HSU into green future

By Celeste Bountour
Flapjack Chronicle

As a student living on campus there is only so much that can be done to save energy within the living corridors. Chris Presley, a 23-year-old HSU student, lived in the Redwood Dorms when he first went to HSU. Aware of energy usage, Presley made sure to turn off the lights in his dorm before he left. However, he did not always turn off the heater. During the cold winter days Presley would leave the heater on days at a time. Presley acknowledged that the dorm bathroom and hall lights were rarely ever turned off, even though there is a student accessible switch to monitor light usage.

“There is definitely a mass amount of energy being wasted in the dorms,” Presley said.

According to HSU Green Scene website, to prevent the use of unneeded energy on campus, Housing and Dining and the Power Save Green Campus Program provides on- campus residents with free Compact Florescent Lamps and power strips. Other things HSU is doing to save energy is converting all light bulbs to fluorescent lights and providing vending machines with misers to reduce phantom loads. Phantom loads are an excess of energy flow when the machine is turned on. The misers will reduce the amount of energy when the machine isn’t in use.

An on campus program determined to reducing the community’s carbon footprint by conserving energy, waste, and water is called the Humboldt Energy Independent Fund (HEIF). HEIF is a big contributor to HSU’s green projects. It is a student-run program, and paid for by all HSU students. A $12 fee is added to students tuition to help pay for upcoming projects.

An economically friendly move being worked on by HEIF consists of using HSU’s old solar panels and implementing them on top of the Natural History Museum on G Street in Arcata. HEIF is brainstorming ideas on how to teach the use of solar technology in an interactive way at the history museum. HEIF believes this would be a more effective way rather then a descriptive sign explaining the importance and use of these solar panels.

Jocelyn Gwynn, a HEIF student manager of projects, said she loves this project because it will expand to the community and incorporate locals to teach them efficient ways to produce energy.

“HEIF judges projects based on the amount of energy saved, but also weigh it heavily on the amount of people and students it reaches, along with uniqueness,” Gwynn said.

A project that HEIF recently concluded was the lighting around the football field. With the help of a Plant Ops investment and funds from HEIF, HEIF was able to successfully lower the amount of energy used to light up the football field. This project consisted of removing about half the light bulbs and adding a reflecting shield above the original fixture. Before the reflecting shield was implemented, light was spewing in every direction. This shield allows all the light from the light bulbs to be focused on the field, reducing light pollution and saving energy.

Another project HSU is working on to sustain energy is build an award- winning heating and ventilation system in the Science Building, saving the school $11,000 and 27,000-kilowatt- hours per year. This proposition was finally passed last semester, after the second time, with the financial help of an outside resource. The framework for this project is planned out, however HEIF needs to overlook the structure of the building first to ensure the plans will fit accordingly.

According to HSU’s Green Scene website, the green actions HSU has taken to improve the community has saved Arcata 204,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and 104,485 lbs. greenhouse gases. 

For all HSU students interested in “going green,” author of Rivers and Tides, Andy Goldsworthy, will be visiting in the art quad of HSU. This event known as Hart Day, will take place on Earth Day, Tuesday April 22nd from 10am to 4pm. He will be doing a demonstration on how to create products from recyclable resources. This method can help reduce energy used to recycle these products. 

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