UVM Rated A Top Green University by Princeton Review

From the Editors

The University of Vermont is one of only 24 universities nationwide to make the Princeton Review’s “Green Rating Honor Roll” in recognition of sustainability-related practices, policies and academic offerings. From the University’s press release:

“The schools on our Green Rating Honor Roll demonstrated a truly exceptional commitment to sustainability across critical areas we looked at — from course offerings and recycling programs to plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Robert Franek, the Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief. “We salute their administrators, faculty and students for their collective efforts to protect and preserve our environment.”

Franek noted the increasing interest among students in attending “green” colleges. Among nearly 10,500 college applicants the Princeton Review surveyed in 2017 for its College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64 percent said having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would impact their decision to apply to or attend a school.

“UVM’s Green Rating scores show the results of our individual and collective decisions to live more sustainably,” Gioia Thompson, UVM’s director of the office of sustainability, said. “The interviews of students show how strongly students identify UVM as a place where people act in support of sustainability locally and globally.”

“UVM’s status as a green school is a core part of our identity and definitely contributes to our appeal for prospective students,” said Stacey Kostell, vice president for enrollment management. “The Princeton Review Honor Roll designation is a confirmation of what those of us who are part of the university see every day.”

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Businesses can make up for inaction on climate by government by investing in energy and fuel efficiency.

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But one thing is clear: Even if all the remaining participating nations do their part, governments alone can’t substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic climate change.

We’ve studied the role of the private sector in addressing climate change, and we’re convinced that the next stage is going to require more than just political agreement. What is needed is a concerted effort to mobilize private action — not just corporations but also religious and civic organizations, colleges and universities, investors and households — to help narrow the gap that remains after the Paris Agreement.

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When the US president, Donald Trump, announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, one might have anticipated a hearty cheer from industry around the world relieved that business as usual could continue.

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Lou Leonard, the senior vice president of climate change and energy at WWF, says companies are coming to understand the impact of climate change on their businesses.

“If you’re a company that either grows food in the heartland of the United States or ships it down the Mississippi and out to other countries, or you’re a company that builds the components of wind turbines and solar panels, or you’re a company that has a big retail footprint all over the world, climate change has come to you already,” he says. “I think that the understanding of those impacts has led those companies to again take action to begin to green their own footprint, and their supply chains.”

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From the Web: Take A 3D Tour Of A Vertical Farm Packed Inside A Shipping Container

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Inside one 40-foot container, trays of butter lettuce glow brightly under LED lights. Another container grows baby greens. The startup, Local Roots Farms, began as a producer, selling produce to local restaurants like Tender Greens. But when others saw how the company’s custom-designed systems outperformed other shipping container farms—growing as much as five times more produce—they started getting requests to build farms as well. The empty space in the warehouse serves as a staging ground to retrofit other containers before they are shipped around the country.

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From the Web: 6 million people in China went a week without fossil fuels

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Qinghai, a Tibetan plateau province in the country’s northwest, derived all of its power from wind, solar, and hydro-electricity from June 17 to June 23. The experiment was part of a trial run by the government to see if the electricity grid could cope without the kind of constant, reliable energy normally provided by fossil fuels. The Chinese government claims that Qinghai’s week without fossil fuels sets a new global benchmark. In May last year, Portugal (population 10 million) ran its electricity for four consecutive days without fossil fuels.

But Qinghai had some advantages. It’s sparsely populated, compared to other Chinese provinces. As the source of China’s three mighty rivers — the Yellow, Yangtze, and Mekong — it has an unusually large number of hydroelectric facilities. Nearly 80 percent of the energy used during the test week came from hydro. But the plateau is also bathed in sun, making Qinghai a prime site for the expansion of the Chinese solar industry. China completed the world’s biggest solar farm there earlier this year.

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From the Web: In Haiti, A Startup Is Building 100% Renewable Grids For Towns With No Power

A year ago, no one living in Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti, had electricity. By the spring of 2016, the town had a brand new grid, and it will soon run completely on solar and wind energy.

“In six months, we built from scratch the entire electrical grid of a town of 5,000 people,” says Andy Bindea, founder and president of Sigora International.

By the end of 2017, the company plans to get electricity to 300,000 people in throughout Haiti. By the end of 2018, they hope to reach a million people. It’s a massive task: As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, roughly 75% of Haiti’s population is off the grid now. For those who do have power, it often only works two to six hours a day.

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For advocates of renewable energy, one of those moments came two years ago when executives from a few major corporations met with officials from a half-dozen utilities. It was the first meeting organized by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

REBA — a collaboration between the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, Business for Social Responsibility’s Future of Internet Power intiative, the World Resources Institute’s Charge Initiative and WWF’s Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, which is also supported by WRI — had already made it easier for corporations to buy renewable power through creating a methodology for power purchase agreements with energy producers.

Now, it’s making it easier for companies to deal directly with utilities to get that power. As a result, 13 utilities operating in 10 states now offer green tariffs for procuring renewable power.

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From the Web: Kite Power Systems Secures £2 Million Investment From Scottish Investment Bank

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Kite Power Systems is a Scotland-based British company developing kite power technology that uses kites deployed in deep water locations to generate electricity.

The company consolidated its work in Scotland earlier this year, moving from a previous home-base in Essex, England. The move was made in part following the announcement that the company would establish a research and test facility on a Military of Defence range near Stranraer, and a £5 million investment round from E.ON, Schlumberger, and Shell Technology Ventures (STV) in December of last year.

The new round of financing announced this week — a £2 million equity investment from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise — will help the company further work on its kite power system, which is made up of two kites which fly up to an altitude of 1500 feet, and which generate electricity through a winch system.

Learn more (via Clean Technica) >>