Sustainability plan adds more green to Ohio university

Sustainability plan adds more green to Ohio university

Vegetables are grown on the roof of the Oaks Dining Facility. Photo courtesy of Sentinel-Journal

Bowling Green State University's campus sustainability department is one of the many university organizations consistently working on making an effective change.
With the intent to achieve institutional carbon-neutrality by 2040, the Ohio university has established specific goals through its Climate Action Plan, reports the Sentinel-Tribune. The goals include reduction of emissions, waste reduction and resource conservation and education awareness and outreach.
As a result of the department's work toward reduction of emissions, the green roof at the Oaks Dining Facility has been implemented and active for the past eight years. The facility is considered to be a LEED building, which was previously awarded for various environmental features.

The facility is also two of three buildings of its kind on campus.

Nick Hennessey, sustainabilitymanager, said the ranking is a success.

"It's pretty far up there on the rankings of green buildings," he said.

Hennessey credits the green roof as one of the things to help the building get the status.

"From the very beginning, it was planned to be very sustainable in terms of its appearance, its construction and its operation," he said.

Similar to many projects within the department, the green roof was substantially funded by the Student Initiatives Green Fund. The fund is made possible by an opt-out $5 per semester fee that is accessible to current undergraduate and graduate students.

Hennessey said the result of the funds and student involvement with the green roof project was "a project that has a number of sustainable features that we use for education and outreach through the partnership with the university's dining."

Hennessey also said the purpose of the green roof is not only to sustain but to inform students, faculty and the community of the possibilities that are within the campus.
The green roof has other features, such as using recycled products, being landscaped with non-edible plants and a rainwater reclamation system.

Campus sustainability is also challenging the way faculty and students reduce the energy usage by collectively coming together to turn off lights in academic buildings. Friday Night Lights is a service project created in 2010 after a student came to Hennessey's office with an observation that could alter the university's energy savings.

Each Friday, students gather in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union to divide into smaller groups, then they travel throughout campus and turn off lights in academic buildings.
From the academic school years of 2010-15, the project saved the university a total of $77,500. Due to the installment of motion detectors through the majority of the academic buildings as they are remodeled, students are finding that their manual work is becoming less.

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