New photovoltaic panels on the roof of Gleeson Library/Geschke Center registered
60 kilowatts of power on a recent sunny day, about enough energy to power 600 computers.
Solar energy, aggressive recycling, and a commitment to reusing old materials
are just a few of the practices fueling a campus-wide movement toward conservation
and alternative energy use.
The biggest move is an investment in
solar powered energy. In an effort to beat rising energy costs, USF installed
roughly 12,000 square feet of photovoltaic fuel cells late last year on the
roof of Gleeson Library/Geschke Center, providing enough solar energy on
a sunny summer day to power half the building, said Glenn Loomis, assistant vice
president of facilities management. The university has plans to add photovoltaic
panels on four more roofs over the next several years. Photovoltaic cells
are treated surfaces made of silicon that create an electrical field when
struck by sunlight. The created current can then be fed into the campus's
"Five (total) rooftops could provide 25 percent of the campus's electricity,"
Loomis said. "That kind of power could dramatically reduce energy costs."
He added that the university also uses solar heated rooftop water pipes to
heat 50 percent of the water used in the residence halls.
In addition, campus construction is providing an unprecedented opportunity
to build "green." The Kalmanovitz Hall rebuilding, for example, will emphasize
recycling materials from the old Campion into the building's new interior
whenever possible, such as the reuse of concrete and steel pieces or old
light fixtures. The new interior will be designed to conserve energy and
will be powered by USF's 17-year-old co-generation plant, which uses natural
gas for power and reuses the heat created as a byproduct to warm the Koret
Health and Recreation Center pool and the residence halls. Plans also call
for the proposed new wing of the Harney Science Center to use only sustainable
sources of heating and cooling, Loomis said.
Meanwhile, the university's recycling program has expanded to the point
that half of the campus's waste is recycled, said Joe Murphy, environmental
safety manager. The university also composts landscaping waste, recycles
used motor oil and fluorescent light tubes (which contain mercury), and is
looking to dispose of compostible waste from the university's kitchens in
Another effort is being made in the residence halls, where Kristy Vivas
Clemmons, assistant director for facilities and operations, has coordinated
efforts to recycle and reuse residence hall materials whenever possible.
Bins in the residence halls' laundry rooms, for example, encourage students
to donate their old clothing or contribute food or even old art supplies
to nonprofit distribution centers in the city. Since August, Vivas Clemmons
said she has collected 100 bags of clothes and shoes, 15 bags of food, and
120 pounds of art supplies. Together with Susan Davison, associate director
of facilities management, Vivas Clemmons has also coordinated delivery of
old campus furniture to new homes in the city, including donating old residence
hall mattresses to a nonprofit refurbishment center. Vivas Clemmons also
researched and bought recyclable carpet from a Georgia mill, which she toured
to guarantee the carpet was made of sustainable materials.
"We have a lot of people in the office who have started thinking in terms
of sustainability," she said. Part of that campaign includes having the residence
hall directors and senior staff sign a statement committing to sustainability.
"It requires them to dispose of materials in a responsible manner," Vivas
Clemmons said. "We have expectations of them to continue with this philosophy
and mindset throughout their job. We try to relate it to USF's mission of