The recycling efforts and other noticeable “green” initiatives at the University
of Memphis didn’t just appear out of thin air: several projects around campus meant
to make the U of M more sustainable are the result of the Sustainable Campus (Green)
The Green Fee has allowed the
U of M to dramatically increase
its recycling efforts.
Approximately $360,000 is generated annually by the fee, which was initiated, approved
and ultimately funded by U of M students. After approval by the Tennessee Board of
Regents, the fee went into effect in the fall of 2007, at $10 per student.
Projects funded by the Green Fee include:
- HVAC Energy Savings Projects in Jones Hall and Brister Testing Area. The Physical
Plant project in Jones Hall will utilize the heat produced in the building’s computer
room to heat the Jones Hall dining area in the fall and particularly in the winter.
The Brister Hall Testing Area project will replace the existing HVAC in an area that
operates on many Saturdays and holidays when the University is closed with a state-of-the-art
variable refrigerant system that will be independent of the building system.
- Increased recycling on campus. Provides for salary and benefits for two new Physical
Plant employees (Sustainability Programs Coordinator and an additional employee to
pick up recycled material), student labor, communication and education expenses. Includes
the purchase of a specialized recycling vehicle, additional collection containers
and other needed equipment. This will expand recycling on campus as well as provide
a new staff member to provide leadership and support for sustainability programs at
- Motion sensors. Install approximately 500 motion sensors in offices, classrooms and
other spaces on campus in an effort to reduce power consumption from unused lighting.
- Tiger Initiative for Gardening in Urban Settings. Provides labor and supplies to support
use of open or underdeveloped areas of the campus to produce edible plant products.
This effort involves faculty, staff and students from several University departments.
- Carbon Sequestration Pilot Project. This pilot project, conducted as a research partnership
involving mechanical engineering, biology and Physical Plant, will involve placing
indoor plants in one or more campus buildings in an effort to reduce energy usage
and improve indoor air quality. Potential energy and cost savings could result from
utilizing the plants to clean the air and thereby reduce the amount of outside air
needed in the summer and winter months.
- Attic Insulation at Graduate and Family Housing. This project will install blown cellulose
attic insulation over existing batt insulation to move from the current R value of
19 to an R value of 38, which could result in student residents saving approximately
20 percent on utility bills.
- Seed Oil Extraction for Biofuel. This project by mechanical engineering involves the
purchase of a seed oil press that will enable the production of additional biodiesel
fuel that can be substituted for petroleum diesel in campus vehicles. The press will
also be a training tool for both undergraduate and graduate students and further enhance
the department’s ability to participate in research projects involving biofuels.
- Fuel Ethanol Production System. This project, also by the mechanical engineering department,
involves the purchase of equipment and supplies to further enhance production of ethanol
that can be blended with gasoline for use in campus vehicles. The system will also
be a valuable tool for both undergraduate and graduate teaching and will also enhance
the department’s ability to participate in projects involving biofuels.
- Institutionalizing Recycling Behavior at the U of M. This project by the biology department
is subtitled “Bringing the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – to the Incoming Freshman
Class.” It involves various programs to raise the awareness of students to actively
participate in recycling on campus.
- Sustainable Technologies Awareness Day. Funding provided for the annual Sustainable
Technologies Awareness Day, which is a campus-wide event to encourage environmental
awareness, inquiry and activism among students, faculty and staff. This year’s event
is scheduled for Oct. 5 on the Student Plaza by the fountain and will include dozens
of booths and exhibits by faculty, staff and community members.