The University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design is showing (and telling) students and the local community about sustainable practices including deriving energy from renewable sources. The college recently added 72 photovoltaic (PV) solar panels to its roof as a new source of clean, sustainable power.
According to the college’s website, the mission of UGA’s Office of Sustainability is to coordinate, communicate and advance sustainability initiatives at UGA in the areas of teaching, research, service & outreach, student engagement and campus operations. UGA offers over 60 sustainability-related degree programs in seven different colleges and 10 interdisciplinary Certificate programs to provide the academic credentials required for leadership toward a sustainable future.
Kevin Kirsche, the director of sustainability in the Office of Sustainability, said the solar panels have been doing great since they have been added to the new building.
“The solar panels are an excellent demonstration of how we can use technology to harvest energy from the sun,” Kirsche said. “It generates energy in ways that are cost effective and doesn’t have to cause harm to the environment and us since we are living in this environment,” Kirsche added.
The solar panels added to the College of Environment and Design’s roof generate approximately 30,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity over the course of the year. “That’s equivalent to 189 laptops operating all day every day” Kirsche said.
The solar powered building is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Visitor parking is available in the North Parking Deck.
Those environmentally passionate individuals looking to get involved can check Sustainable UGA’s Get Involved website for information on internships, sustainability grants, and various sustainability programs and certificates.
One goal outlined in the 2020 UGA Strategic Plan includes increasing the University’s energy generation from renewable sources by 10 percent.
Solar technology on display at UGA is not limited to just the College of Environment and Design. Across campus in the engineering building, a group of five environmental engineering students have been planning a project to build a solar powered recharge station for UGArden’s new electric vehicle that is used to deliver food grown in a campus garden to local families in Athens. The team’s goal is to supplement the electricity that the vehicle currently runs off of with solar energy.
Solar Parking Lot Lighting
Solar powered parking lot lighting has been installed at the UGA Club Sports Complex.
Solar Thermal Hot Water Heating
A demonstration solar thermal hot water system was installed at the UGA Bioconversion Center with a grant acquired by faculty in the College of Engineering.
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