Welcome to the November 2016 Newsletter

Davis Solar Grand Opening

On November 11th at 3:30 p.m., the public is invited to join Weber State University, government officials and Solarcity to celebrate the completion of WSU’s solar array at the Davis Campus. This 1.8 megawatt system will offset all the electrical consumption of the Davis campus. This major accomplishment, the largest publicly owned solar array in the state, represents a large step in both cost savings and carbon emissions reductions for WSU. Weber is committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.

  • Friday November 11th, at 3:30 p.m.
    WSU, Davis Campus,

Drive Electric Northern Utah Is Well Under Way!

Have you thought about switching to an electric vehicle (EV)?

Weber State’s Sustainable Practices and Research Center (SPARC) and the Energy and Sustainability Office, in collaboration with Utah Clean Energy and Utah State University, launched the Drive Electric Northern Utah (DENU), which runs through Saturday, December 3rd.  

DENU is reducing the cost of purchasing or leasing plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) through a pre-negotiated price purchase program. So far, over 70 people have signed up for a DENU discount code and dealers are reporting more interest in these cars than they’ve seen all year.  Signing up doesn’t commit anyone to purchasing a vehicle but ensures s/he will receive the pre-negotiated discount.

The EV options available through the program include the 2016 Nissan LEAF S, SV, SL, and the 2017 BMW i3. For those with a longer commute, the plug-in hybrid options available are the Chevrolet 2017 Volt LT and Premier, the BMW 2017 X5 and 330e, and the Audi 2017 e-tron. 

EV drivers reap the benefits of reduced fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.  Electricity is much less expensive and cleaner than gas, especially when produced from a rooftop solar energy system. On average, it costs about half as much to power an EV as it does to fuel a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle. In addition, EVs have no internal combustion engine, so drivers can say good-bye to oil changes and other costly maintenance requirements.

A study by MIT was turned into an interactive graph that shows that driving electric can save drivers money while reducing emissions to levels that meet climate target levels. This study takes into account the current national fuel mix for generating electricity as well as looks to the future energy mix scenarios. Driving electric ensures cleaner air and a healthier climate, and in many cases will cost drivers less.  

Donate, Reuse and Find Treasures at the Holiday Free Swap

This November the Environmental Ambassadors are hosting WSU’s first annual Holiday Free Swap.  The event is like a swap meet except everything will be free and powered by donations from students, faculty, and staff.  Donations should be wearable and usable items that would otherwise be taking space and gathering dust in the home.  The swap is an effort to reduce what goes into landfills, increase awareness of the environmental benefits of reusing items, and allow the WSU community to embrace the giving spirit.  To accomplish awareness, posters will display informative facts on the impacts of waste.  For example, one poster illustrates that reusing saves natural resources: it can take 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, so buying used t-shirts avoids this environmental expense.

Donations will be organized and displayed to the whole WSU community, inviting people to take what they need for free!  The timing is significant because with the holidays approaching, we hope to stifle the massive consumerist trend.  All items that do not find a home will go toward a Savers FunDrive to generate funds for the Weber Cares food pantry.

This event will also be a food drive to replenish the Weber Cares food pantry on campus, so unexpired non-perishable food will be accepted and appreciated. 

Please join the Environmental Ambassadors with this effort at the Holiday Free Swap! 

Donations accepted Nov. 14th-15th, 12-5 p.m. at Ballroom C in the Shepherd Union building.  Or drive to the docking area drop-off where volunteers will help bring items in. 

Holiday Free Swap opens Nov. 16th 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Ballroom C in the Shepherd Union building

Sustainability Faculty Highlight

Want to know the real story about climate change?  Then pick up a copy of Climate Change: Examining the Facts, a new book by Dr. Dan Bedford (geography) and co-author John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.  John created the website Skeptical Science.com, which refutes climate misinformation.

This book addresses common misconceptions and myths about climate change head on, offering clear and accessible explanations about the science of climate change.   As Dan has remarked, it is “written with the intention of being readable rather than impenetrable.”  An excerpt from the publisher (ABC-CLIO) explains:

The authors of this work examine 35 specific claims that have been made about global climate change by believers and skeptics. These assertions—some true, some false—will guide readers to a much deeper understanding of the extent of climate change; whether any climate change that is taking place is human-caused; whether climate change is likely to be a serious problem in the future; whether scientists agree on the fundamentals of climate change; and whether climate change impacts can be mitigated. 

Examples of specific issues that are scrutinized and explained in the book include: trends in the extent and condition of Arctic and Antarctic Sea ice packs, the accuracy of climate forecasting models, whether extreme weather events are increasing as a result of climate change, and the benefits and drawbacks of various schemes to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

 Dr. Dan Bedford, along with Dr. Sara Dant, will be presenting on Friday, November 18th, at a meet the authors’ talk and discussion in the Fireplace Lounge in the Shepherd Union, from 12:30-1:30 p.m.  Light refreshments will be provided.

SPARC Hires Two Outstanding Interns

This fall SPARC hired two new student sustainability interns, Tyler Hole and Andrew Hacket. Their talent, vision and dedication are building critical capacity for SPARC and advancing sustainability on and off campus.

Tyler is working closely with the Intermountain Sustainability Summit Planning Committee to engage new partners and make this year’s annual event the best yet. Tyler is a senior at WSU studying geography with an environmental emphasis. Very involved with the geography department in multiple capacities, Tyler helped plan and run a field course to Death Valley In X-YEAR-X and now tutors for the department. He plans to continue his education by working towards a Ph.D. in geography and climate change issues while studying in beautiful Norway. Tyler loves to spend time outdoors while hiking, kayaking, backpacking, and exploring. He has a fascination with the world around him and looks forward to helping make a more sustainable future for everyone.  

Andrew is promoting the Drive Electric Northern Utah program, creating a hub of sustainability resources for the new WSU sustainability website (coming soon), and assisting with ISS. He is pursuing a B.S. in geography with an environmental emphasis. A recent participant in the 2016 iUTAH “iFellows” undergraduate research program, Andrew spent the summer focusing on hydro-sustainability in Utah and plans to continue to address sustainability issues in the American West after graduation. Andrew’s background is in the arts; he enjoys painting and drawing the beautiful regional landscapes while hiking and camping. Equal parts homebody and outdoor enthusiast, Andrew sees a sustainable future as deeply rooted in cultural norms and wants to encourage sustainable practices within society.

The Energy and Sustainability Office Hires New Assistant Sustainability Coordinator

Kyia Hill is the newest addition to the Energy and Sustainability Office’s team. She is excited to serve as the assistant sustainability coordinator and to help the Environmental Ambassadors in coordinating student events to bring environmental awareness and practices to our campus. 

Kyia is an upcoming junior at WSU working towards a degree in geography and environmental studies. She has been involved on campus as the First Generation Club president and as a mentor and tutor for low-income high school students. Kyia plans to continue her education to become a geography professor but would first like to travel the world, helping people in many countries become engaged in environmental projects and reach sustainability goals. 

Kyia enjoys the outdoors through snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, and playing tennis. Halloween is her favorite holiday! Kyia brings passion and hard work to everything she does and hopes to use her love for the environment, her work ethic, and her leadership skills to empower others to find their love for the environment.