OWU Studies Sustainability

Announcements on energy audit expected in late fall

The Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center is Ohio Wesleyan University’s first “green” building. (Photo by Natalie Fisher ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan University’s new Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center is a milestone on campus as its first “green” structure—featuring a geothermal energy system that heats and cools the building and a heat-recovery system that heats the pool. The environmentally friendly building also features a reflective clay-tile roof as well as recycled, regional, and low-VOC (volatile organic chemical) building materials.

Various other developments under way on campus will have important consequences as the University seeks to adopt more sustainability-related practices and more energy-efficient campus construction.

Preliminary results are in from a campus-wide energy audit, with the final report expected in December.

OWU Director of Buildings and Grounds Chris Setzer says the University is evaluating the audit to determine the most effective strategy to cut energy usage and costs. A priority will be to secure funding to retrofit mechanical, electrical, and control systems in most campus buildings. Setzer hopes to complete planning for a more comprehensive strategy by the end of this academic year.

A search has begun for an energy conservation and sustainability coordinator, a new grant-funded position. The coordinator will develop and initiate an energy conservation and sustainability action plan and serve as a liaison with campus groups and community members. The search committee hopes to select a candidate by the end of this semester.

This year, the community group Sustainable Delaware will receive volunteer assistance from Ohio Wesleyan students in an outreach effort currently organized by Laurie Anderson, associate professor of botany-microbiology and coordinator for the President’s Task Force on Sustainability.

Various OWU student groups continue to plan programs and activities to educate the campus community about sustainability-related issues.

The President’s Task Force on Sustainability is inviting the campus community to an open meeting to discuss sustainability issues and concerns on campus. The meeting will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, November 11, in Room 176 of the Schimmel/Conrades Science Center.

Members of the task force include faculty and staff members Laurie Anderson, Gene Castelli, Karen Crosman, Amy Downing, Jann Ichida, John Krygier, Andy Meyer, Linda O’Horo, Chris Setzer, Shari Stone-Mediatore, Barb Wiehe, and Thomas Wolber.

Student task force members are Sylvie Hundley, Matthew Jordan, Veronica Malencia, Heather Werling, and Guanyi Yang.

Ohio Wesleyan University trustee John Gordon, OWU Class of 1976, is also a member of the task force. In 2007, Gordon and his son, Spencer, founded the Atlanta-based Perfect Circle Renewable Energy, LLC, which converts waste vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel.

The task force currently is planning strategy on how its working committees can assist in sustainability-related efforts and communication to the University and outside communities.

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